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284 Return to the Sea Raccoon Dogs. The Inzalazagou Valley. The Mouth of the Tyutikhe River. Duck Hunting. The Philosophy of Dersu. A Banya. Tyutikhe Bay. Birds along the Coast. The Thunderstorm. The Tsimukhe and Vandagou Rivers. After crossing the pass and following the flow of water east, we reached the Inzalazagou (or the “valley of the silver cliffs”), by three-thirty in the afternoon. Of all the Tyutikhe’s tributaries, this was the largest and closest to the coast. The upper reaches of the Inzalazagou are comprised of two small rivers, the Sitsa and the Tuntsa, and each of these is made up of several small creeks. We made it as far as the confluence of the Sitsa and Tuntsa that day and set camp in the dense forest there. There were a lot of Dolly Varden in the river, so many in fact that we could catch them with our bare hands. This fish served as breakfast each morning and as dinner each evening. It is interesting to note that this fish species is well distributed throughout the Ussuri Kray. The natives say that lenok, a species entirely absent from the coastal areas, is the predominant species west of the Sikhote-Alin.1 1. Although the natives said lenok were found only west of the Sikhote-Alin divide, the belief generally held by Russians at the time was that this was untrue. In fact, it was believed that lenok came in two forms: one found east of the Sikhote-Alin and the other to the west. In the 1960s, this species was officially divided into two species, the longsnouted lenok (Brachymystax lenok) and the short-snouted lenok (B. tumensis), based on 28 Return to the Sea 285 I took my rifle and headed into the mountains to look around while the riflemen went fishing. I walked until dusk and did not come across anything, and decided to return to camp by following the river bank. I suddenly heard a splashing sound at one of the river holes. I approached the bank carefully, looked down, and saw two raccoon dogs. They were so focused on fishing that they did not notice me at all. Their forelegs were in the water, and they lunged at the fish that darted by, trying to grab them with their jaws. I watched for a long time. Every once in a while they would turn their heads sharply, rush after a shrew, or swiftly digattheground.Oneoftheanimalseventuallylifteditshead,lookedin mydirection,andemittedasoundlikeabark.Bothraccoondogsquickly disappeared into the grass and did not reemerge. Ireturnedtocampandfoundeverythingsetupandready;everyone occupied themselves for an hour or so after dinner, then we drank tea and went to bed on our own schedules. The next day we continued our trip down the Inzalazagou River. In itsmiddlereachesthevalleynarrows,thenwidensagain.Themountains onitsrightsidearesteepandrocky.Someoneoncefoundsomesilverore in these cliffs, which is how the valley got its present name. The Inzalazagou valley is largely devoid of forest, and since the soil is so rocky it is completely unsuitable for agriculture. This is why immigrants ignored the valley and settled near the river mouth instead. Throughout its entire course there are only two small mountain streams that flow into the river’s right side: the Tamchasegou and the Panchasegou. There is a trail where these waterways join, cut by Tazy hunters and Chinese sable trappers. As we walked I noticed that the ground had been trampled and turned up in places. I thought it was wild boar, but Dersu pointed at a warped tree that was devoid of bark or leaves. behavioral and physical differences. Long-snouted lenok, the species the natives refer to in the text, are sedentary in waterways in the Amur River basin, whereas short-snouted lenok are migratory and found in rivers draining into the Sea of Japan. Where these two species do overlap (such as in the Ussuri River), they select different locations for spawning and do not hybridize (A. Semenchenko pers. comm.). Recent DNA analysis confirmed that these two are genetically distinct species (Shedko 2003); something that the natives of the Ussuri Kray apparently understood a hundred years earlier. 286 The 1906 Expedition “He soon start to yell!” he said. I understood what he meant. As soon as the fresh antlers (i.e., antlers in velvet) of a red deer strengthen, the animal attempts to scrape off the skin, and needs a tree to do so. Another male who happens upon that spot understands its significance, becomes enraged, and paws at the ground and batters the tree with...


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