In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

385 Plight The Sinantsa River. Starvation. Remnants of a Bear’s Meal. Noodles of Leather. Exhaustion. Li Tan Kuy. Nighttime Intrigue at Syanshikheza. Unrest among the Udege. The Vagunbe Encampment. The Native Insurrection. Songs of a Shaman. WereachedtheKhugadoRiverbynoonthenextday,whichwasNovember 2nd. This river flows along a curve from the west toward the south. We were to follow it up to a pass of a mountain range that was the reason for the Iman’s meander there. This small river was 3.5 kilometers long. Both the ascent and descent were equally steep, about thirty degrees, and the pass itself was 350 meters above the Iman. We were then met with two creeks: one flowing north and the other west.Weprobablyshouldhavefollowedthelatter,butImistakenlychose the northern route. We stopped to camp as soon as we found firewood and a spot that was relatively flat. We ate the last yukola on the morning of November 3rd and started off with light backpacks.1 As our only hope left for food was to shoot something, it was decided that Dersu would walk first. The rest of us would hang back 300 paces or so in order to not spook the game. Our 1. Yukola is dried fish as prepared by natives of eastern Siberia and the Russian Far East. 38 386 The 1906 Expedition path followed a river unfamiliar to us, which as far as we could tell (from what we could see from the pass), flowed to the west. We all hoped that Dersu would kill something, but to no avail. We heard no shots. The valley widened in the afternoon, and we happened upon a small, barely visible trail, which went north across a hummocky bog. Hunger was palatable. We walked in silence; no one wanted to talk. Suddenly I saw Dersu—he was quietly moving from place to place, then he bent over and picked something up. I called out, and he waved in response. “What did you find?” G. I. Granatman asked him. “Beareatfish,”heanswered,“hethrowheadawayandmypickitup.” In fact, there were a number of fish heads scattered around us in the snow; the bear had been here sometime since the last snow. Even bear scraps are fair game in times of hunger, and better a small fish than an empty dish.2 We all got to it, and fifteen minutes later everyone had pockets stuffed with fish heads. We were so focused on what we were doing that we had not noticed that this little valley had brought us to a fairly large river. It was the Sinantsa , which has tributaries the Dayagou, Mayagou, and Piligou. If we were to believe the Udege, we would be back on the Iman by noon the next day. We crossed to the far side of the river and set up camp in a dense coniferous forest. How delicious those fish heads seemed to us! There was still some meat on some of them; those particular heads were happy discoveries. We divided them equally among us, and while delectable, they were not sufficiently filling. The temperature dropped significantly that night, but we slept well as we had plenty of firewood. We woke hungry the morning of November 4th. Our route now followed the Sinantsa downriver. It flows south– north (with a slight inclination toward the east) through a wide, inter2 . The actual phrase used here was a Russian idiom, “na bezrybye i rak ryba,” which literally translated says “when there are no fish, crab will do,” which does not convey the intended meaning in English. Plight 387 folded valley. This is a very winding river and often splits into channels with willow-covered islands. Its width is between 40 and 50 meters and it has a depth of 3.6–4.5 meters. The forests on either side of the river are mixed but with a predominance of conifers. I noticed that there was more snow here than there had been on the Kulumbe River; in some places it was knee deep, which was tough to walk through. We were managing no more than 2 kilometers an hour. Our plan to hunt our food had not paid off, and we had little hope of stumbling upon more fish heads. The Cossack Kozhevnikov once saw a musk deer and took a shot but missed. Based on the time, we should have already reached the Iman. I expected to see the Sinantsa’s mouth after every bend in the river, but we were met each time with more forest...


Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.