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172 Trip to the Sydagou River Forest Understory. The Tiger. On Top of the Ridge. The Barrens. Lichens and Mosses. Thirst. The Search for Water. Ice Underground. The Source of the Sandagou River. Sika Deer. On the 26th the sky darkened as a gusty wind blew the clouds into a thick fog. This was a bad sign. The rain and wind began that night and did not let up for three days. On the 28th there was a strong storm with torrentialrains.Waterflowedfromthemountainsinswiftstreams,rivers overflowedtheirbanks,andallcommunicationbetweenSaintOlgaPost and neighboring settlements was severed. While waiting for the steamship to bring our supplies, I decided to surveytheSandagouRiverandplannedthefollowingroute:I’dcrossthe watershed divide near Tazovskaya Mountain, descend along the Sandagou River, and come out again at the Vay-Fudzin River. I expected this trip to take six days. I spent July 1st preparing. I left the horses at Saint Olga Post to rest and took only Zagursky and Turtygin along with me. We carried all we needed on our backs. It was still drizzling the morning after the storm, then around middaythewindtoreaholeinthemistyveilandthesuncameout .Suddenly, everything was full of life and God’s world was beautiful. The rocks, trees, grasses, and even the trail looked festive, birds sang in the bushes, and insects flew past in the air. Even the sounds of water cascading from the mountains sounded elated and happy. 19 Trip to the Sydagou River 173 We crossed the Vay-Fudzin on horseback, then joined the post road connectingSaintOlgawithVladimiro-AleksandrovskoyeontheSuchan River.1 The Sydagou River is 57 kilometers long. The upper half flows parallel to the Vay-Fudzin, then it turns east and merges with it opposite the village of Permskoye. We came out right at the spot where the Sydagou bends. This is a very rocky river with many rapids. The residents of Permskoye tried to use this river to float timber, but the wood got so knockedaboutontherocksthattheyabandonedtheidea.Thelowerpart of the river valley, where the post road goes, is open country and good foragriculture.Themiddlepartsofthevalleyareforested,andtheupper sections are bare and rocky. TheforestgrowingalongtheSydagouRiverwasvirginandmajestic. A naturalist or botanist would notice that, in addition to pine, spruce, Dahurian birch, and Manchurian walnut, there was also Siberian larch, oak, and painted maple. The word “Mono,” found in the latter’s scientific name,iswhattheOrochicallthistree.2TheacademicMaksimovichconsidered it a distinct maple species.3 In addition to meadowsweet, bush clover, hazel, and Sargent’s cranberry, Chinese hawthorn grew there as well,whichhadgraybarkandwidelyspacedthornsanddeeplycutleaves. There was also Maksimovich cherry, which bent low to the ground and tangled with the eleuthero. Tree trunks served as supports for creeping plants, which moved ever upward toward the sun, and gripped trees so tightly that they could deeply scar the bark. There are two such climbing vines here; the kolomikta vine, which I already described, and Chinese magnolia vine, which smells and tastes quite like a lemon. In damp places there were cinnamon ferns, so named 1. Vladimiro-Aleksandrovskoye was founded in 1864, partially by ex-convicts released from a katorga (the predecessor to the gulag) on Sakhalin Island (Kasnitsky 2011). It was situated along the post road connecting Shkotovo with Saint Olga Post, some 73 kilometers southeast of the former and 200 southwest of the latter. 2. In the second half of the nineteenth century, it was common for any native in the Ussuri Kray to be called an “Orochi,” although this distinct indigenous group (closely related to the Udege) was not found south of the Botchi River (in present-day southern Khabarovsky Kray; Humphreys and Mits 2008). 3. As it is today recognized as a separate species. 174 The 1906 Expedition for the red fuzz found on their stems, giving the plant a very spectacular look, and whole thickets of Tatewaki’s coltsfoot, with large, deeply forkedleavesthatarepalegreenaboveandwhitishunderneath.Inspring these are a particular delicacy for bears. We came upon a path as soon as we entered the forest. After the recentrainsitwasquitedampinthewoods ,andweencounterednumerous tracks of wild boar, sika deer, red deer, roe deer, musk deer, wolverine, lynx, and tiger in the mud and sand near the river. We flushed a few animals from their day beds, but it’s not a good idea to take shots through dense thicket. A wild boar ran past me quite close on one occasion, but it was so unexpected that by the time I slipped my rifle from my shoulder and cocked the trigger it was already gone. At noon the trail led us to a Chinese hunting fanza, and the multitude of skins stacked in the ambar indicated that its inhabitants...


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