25 The Li-Fudzin
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257 The Li-Fudzin The Forest. The Contents of Dersu’s Backpack. Adaptation to Forest Life. The Syayenlaza Glades. The Graves of Natives. Buried Alive. Sleeping late was out of the question as our camp was inundated by mosquitoesatfirstlight.Everyonegotupatthesametime.TheCossacks hastily loaded the horses and set off without making tea. The fog dissipated once the sun came up, and there were patches of blue sky. The Li-Fudzin River turns toward the northwest after the confluence with the Kvandagou River and has a meandering main channel, withsteepbanksandrockyshoalsalternatingfromonesidetotheother. The Li-Fudzin River valley contains a magnificent mixed forest incorporating all possible elements of Manchurian flora. In addition to pine, larch, fir, spruce, willow, oak, aspen, walnut, and cork, there was also yellow birch (which has yellowish-green foliage and fluffy yellow bark that is quite different than Japanese white birch bark), red-twig Korean maple (a sprawling tree with smooth dark-gray bark and yellowish branchshootsanddeeplydissectedleaves).Therewasalsomountainelm (a tall, slender tree with a broad crown and pointed, coarse leaves), and hornbeam (which differs from other trees by its dark bark and flowers that hang from it like paint brushes). We also saw Maksimovich cherry (which has branches that bend low to the ground to form impenetrable thickets), and the large-winged spindle (which is a small, thin-trunked treewithwhitish,longitudinalspotsonthebark,andelongated,alternat25 258 The 1906 Expedition ingleaves).Alongtheriverandinothermoistplaceswesawthefollowing tree species: goat willow (a half-shrub/half-tree); Manchurian currant (which has three-bladed, pointed, and toothed leaves); silky tavalozhka (a multi-branched shrub that is easily identified by its narrow leaves and preference for rocky soils). There was also mock orange (a shade-loving plant with beautiful, pointed, heart-shaped leaves and white flowers), and Chinese magnolia vine (a species that clings to bushes and climbs trees, and has large, dark leaves and red berries). Riparianforestprobablypromotesriverbankdegradation,insteadof keeping it in check.1 This is because when a large tree is brought down by flooding, it takes with it a considerable mass of soil and all the other trees growing nearby. This mess floats downriver until getting snagged somewhere—then the river begins to fill it in with sand and pebbles. It is not uncommon to find waterfalls that form after the giant trunk of a poplarorpinebecamelodgedintheriverchannel.2Ifthefloatingmassis luckyenoughtomakeitpasttherapids,thenonlythebaretrunkactually makes it to the sea, battered and with all its bark and branches scraped clean along the way. The middle reaches of the Li-Fudzin River flow past the base of what is known as the Chyorniye Skaly [“black cliffs”]. The river splits into several channels there, which have thick, muddy bottoms and slick banks. The main channel is blocked by logjams, and so in times of high water the river water does not remain confined to its channels; rather it flows freely through the floodplain. The trail is unusable when this happens . Inauspicious travelers who pass through here during such times are forced to climb up and over the cliffs, slowing their pace to no more than 3 or 4 kilometers a day. We stopped at noon for a long break, and we brewed some tea. Captain 2nd Rank S. Z. Balk had given me a bottle of rum when we left Saint Olga Post. I considered this rum medication and gave it to the 1. This statement is untrue. There is a large body of literature that shows erosion is far less in old-growth riparian forest (e.g., Benda et al. 2002; Naiman et al. 2005). 2. Research suggests that the river channel complexity created by large woody debris such as this is beneficial to salmon populations as it creates a diversity of habitats for salmon of different age classes (Slaght et al. 2013). The Li-Fudzin 259 soldiers to mix in with their tea on rainy days. By this point there were only a few drops left, and so as not to carry any unnecessary weight, I drank it down and tossed the bottle into the grass. Dersu rushed after it. “How can you throw away? Where in taiga find another bottle?” he said, untying his backpack. It was true; as a city person, an empty bottle was worthless to me. But it was of great value to someone living in the forest. Ashestartedtoremovehispossessionsfromhisbackpack,Ibecame more and more surprised: what didn’t he have it there? He had an empty flour sack, two old shirts, a roll of thin belts, a ball of rope, unty, rifle sleeves, a powder flask, some lead, a small box of percussion...



Subject Headings

  • Ussuri River Valley (Russia and China) -- Description and travel.
  • Natural history -- Ussuri River Valley (Russia and China).
  • Dersu Uzala.
  • Arsenʹev, V. K. (Vladimir Klavdievich), 1872-1930 -- Travel -- Ussuri River Valley (Russia and China).
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