We left the Taku ferry by way of a steep trail through an open pine and spruce forest along the rim of the Yangtze gorge where the view was magnificent. Someone has said that when a tourist sees the Grand Canon for the first time he gasps "Indescribable" and then immediately begins to describe it. Thus it was with us, but no words can picture the grandeur of this titanic chasm. In places the rocks were painted in delicate tints of blue and purple; in others, the sides fell away in sheer drops of hundreds of feet to the green torrent below rushing on to the sea two thousand five hundred miles away.

The caravan wound along the edge of the gorge all day and we were left far behind, for at each turn a view more beautiful than the last opened out before us, and until every color plate and negative in the holders had been exposed we worked steadily with the camera.

We were traveling northwestward through an unmapped region which Baron Haendel-Mazzetti had skirted and reported to be one of vast forests and probably rich in game. After six hours of riding over almost bare mountain-sides we passed through a parklike spruce forest and reached Habala, a long thin village of mud and stone houses scattered up the sides of a narrow valley.

Above and to the left of the village rose ridge after ridge of dense spruce forest overshadowed by a snow-crowned peak and cut by deep ravines, the gloomy depths of which yielded fascinating glimpses of rocky cliffs - a veritable paradise for serow and goral. Our camping place was a grassy lawn as flat and smooth as the putting green of a golf course. Just below the tents a streamlet of ice-cold water murmured comfortably to itself and a huge dead tree was lying crushed and broken for the camp fire.

The boys turned the beautiful spot into "home" in half an hour and, after setting a line of traps, we wandered slowly back through the darkness guided by the brilliant flames of the fires which threw a warm yellow glow over our little table spread for dinner.

We sent men to the village to bring in hunters and after dinner four or five picturesque Mosos appeared. They said that there were many serow, goral, muntjac and some wapiti in the forests above the village, and we could well believe it, for there was never a more "likely looking" spot. Although the men did not claim to be professional hunters, nevertheless they said that they had good dogs and had killed many muntjac and other animals.

They agreed to come at daylight and arrived about two hours late, which was doing fairly well for natives. It was a brilliant day just warm enough for comfort in the sun and we left camp with high hopes. However it did not take many hours to demonstrate that the men knew almost nothing about hunting and that their dogs were useless. Because of the dense cover "still hunting" was out of the question and, after a hard climb, we returned to camp to spend the remainder of the afternoon developing photographs and preparing small mammals.

Our traps had yielded three new shrews and a silver mole as well as a number of mice, rats, and meadow voles of species identical with those taken on the Snow Mountain. It was evident, therefore, that the Yangtze River does not act as an effective barrier to the distribution of even the smallest forms and that the region in which we were now working would not produce a different fauna. This was an important discovery from the standpoint of our distribution records but was also somewhat disappointing.

The photographic work already had yielded excellent results. The Paget color plates were especially beautiful and the fact that everything was developed in the field gave us an opportunity to check the quality of each negative.

For this work the portable dark room was invaluable. It could be quickly erected and suspended from a tree branch or the rafters of a temple and offered an absolutely safe place in which to develop or load plates. The moving-picture film required special treatment because of its size and we usually fastened in the servants' tent the red lining which had been made for this purpose in New York. Even then the space was so cramped that we were dead tired at the end of a few hours' work.

One who sits comfortably in a theater or hall and sees moving-picture film which has been obtained in such remote parts of the world does not realize the difficulties in its preparation. The water for developing almost invariably was dirty and in order to insure even a moderately clear film it always had to be strained. For washing the negative pailful after pailful had to be carried sometimes from a very long distance, and the film exposed for hours to the carelessness or curiosity of the natives. In our cramped quarters perhaps a corner of the tent would be pushed open admitting a stream of light; the electric flash lamp might refuse to work, leaving us in complete darkness to finish the developing "by guess and by gosh," or any number of other accidents occur to ruin the film. At most we could not develop more than three hundred feet in an afternoon and we never breathed freely until it finally was dried and safely stored away in the tin cans.

We left Habala, on November 23, for a village called Phete where the natives had assured us we would find good hunters with dogs. For almost the entire distance the road skirted the rim of the Yangtze gorge and there the view of the great chasm was even more magnificent than that we had left. While its sides are not fantastically sculptured and the colors are softer than those of the Grand Canon of the Colorado, nevertheless its grandeur is hardly less imposing and awe-inspiring. If Yuen-nan is ever made accessible by railroads this gorge should become a Mecca for tourists, for it is without doubt one of the most remarkable natural sights in the world.

About two o'clock in the afternoon we saw three clusters of houses on a tableland which juts into a chasm cut by a tributary of the great river. One of them was Phete and it seemed that we would reach the village in half an hour at least, but the road wound so tortuously around the hillside, down to the stream and up again that it was an hour and a half before we found a camping place on a narrow terrace a short distance from the nearest houses.

Next day we could not go to the village to find hunters until mid-forenoon because the natives of this region are very late risers and often have not yet opened their doors at ten o'clock. This is quite contrary to the custom in many other parts of China where the inhabitants are about their work in the first light of dawn.

The hills above Phete are bare or thinly forested and every available inch of level ground is under cultivation with corn and a few rice paddys near the creek; the latter were a great surprise, for we had not expected to find rice so far north. The village itself was exceedingly picturesque but never have we met people of such utter and hopeless stupidity as its inhabitants. They were pleasant enough and always greeted us with a smile and salutation, but their brains seemed not to have kept pace with their bodies and when asked the simplest question they would only stare stupidly without the slightest glimmering of intelligence.

It required an hour's questioning of a dozen or more people to glean that there were no hunters in the village where they had lived all their lives, but Wu, our interpreter, finally discovered a Chinese who told us of a hunter in the mountains. He asked how far and the answer was "Not very far."

"Well, is it ten li?"

"I don't know how many li."

"Have you ever been there?"

"Yes; it is only a few steps."

"How long will it take to get there?"

"About the time of one meal."

We were not to be deceived, for we had had experience with native ideas of distance, and we ate our tiffin before starting out on the "few steps." A steep trail led up the valley and after three hours of steady riding we reached the hunter's village of three large houses on a flat strip of cleared ground in the midst of a dense forest.

The people looked much like those of Phete but were rather anemic specimens, and five out of eight had enormous goiters. They were exceedingly shy at first, watching us with side glances and through cracks in the wall. Wu learned that we were the first white persons they had ever seen. I imagine that much of their unhealthiness was due to too close intermarriage, for these families had little intercourse with the people in Phete who were only "a few steps" away.

As we were leaving they began to eat their supper in the courtyard. The principal dish consisted of mixed cornmeal and rice, boiled squash and green vegetables. All the women were busy husking corn which was hung to dry on great racks about the house. These racks we had noticed in every village since leaving Li-chiang and they seemed to be in universal use in the north.

The hunter had a flock of sheep and we purchased one for $4.40 (Mexican) but there was considerable difficulty in paying for it since these people had never seen Chinese money even though living in China itself. For currency they used chunks of silver the size of a walnut and worth about one dollar (Mexican). The Chinese guide finally persuaded the people of the genuineness of our money and we purchased a few eggs and a little very delicious wild honey besides the sheep. These people as well as those of Phete spoke the Li-chiang dialect but with such variation that even our mafus could understand them only with the greatest difficulty.

When we returned to camp we found that the coolie who had been engaged to carry the motion-picture camera and tripod had left without the formality of saying "good-by" or asking for the money which was due him. We had had considerable trouble with the camera coolies since leaving Li-chiang. The first one carried the camera to the Taku ferry with many groans, and there engaged a huge Chinaman to take his place, for he thought the load too heavy. It only weighed fifty pounds, and in the Fukien Province where men seldom carry less than eighty pounds and sometimes as much as one hundred and fifty, it would have been considered as only half a burden. In Yuen-nan, however, animals do most of the pack carrying, and coolies protest at even an ordinary load.

We left Phete in the early morning and camped about five hundred feet above the hunter's cabin in a beautiful little meadow. It was surrounded with splendid pine trees, and a clear spring bubbled up from a knoll in the center and spread fan-shaped in a dozen little streams over the edge of a deep ravine where a mountain torrent rushed through a tangled bamboo jungle. The gigantic fallen trees were covered inches deep with green moss, and altogether it was an ideal spot for small mammals. Our traps, however, yielded no new species, although we secured dozens of specimens every night.

There were a few families of Lolos about two miles away and these were engaged as hunters. They told us that serow and muntjac were abundant and that wapiti were sometimes found on the mountains several miles to the northward. Although the men had a large pack of good dogs they were such unsatisfactory hunters that we gave up in disgust after three days. They never would appear until ten or eleven o'clock in the morning when the sun had so dried the leaves that the scent was lost and the dogs could not follow a trail even if one were found. Moreover, the camp was a very uncomfortable one, due to the wind which roared through the trees night and day.

We were rejoined here by Hotenfa, who had left us at the Taku ferry to see if he could get together a pack of dogs. He brought three hounds with him which he praised exuberantly, but we subsequently found that they did not justify our hopes. Nevertheless, we were glad to have Hotenfa back, for he was one of the most intelligent, faithful, and altogether charming natives whom we met in all Yuen-nan. He was an uncouth savage when he first came to us, but in a very short time he had learned our camp ways and was as good a servant as any we had.