Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/196

This page needs to be proofread.

174

BURKHAN BUDDHA RANGE.

CHAPTER VI.

NORTHERN TIBET.

The Burkhan Buddha mountains; the effects of a rarefied atmosphere — M. Huc's 'vapours of carbonic acid gas' — The Nomokhun stream — The Shuga mountain range and river — Tibetan frontier — The Urundushi mountains — Sources of the Hoang-ho, and pilgrimage thereto — The Baian-kara-ula range — Character of the desert plateaux of Tibet — Extraordinary exhaustion produced by exertion at high altitudes — Caravans to Lhassa — Time occupied on the journey — Dangers and hardships of the road — Abundance of animal life — Mammals — The wild yak; its habits; its physical defects and low intelligence; disease to which it is subject — Wild yaks hooting — The animal hard to kill — Grandeur of the sport — Mode of stalking — They rarely charge — Examples of yak-shooting — The yak-meat — The white-breasted Argali — The Orongo (Antilope Hodgsoni) — Large herds of these antelope — Their unwary habits — Held sacred by Mongols — Unicorns — The ata-dzeren, or little antelope — Its amazing swiftness — The Tibetan wolf (Lupus Chanco) — The fox (Canis Corsac) — Birds of Northern Tibet — Progress of journey — Travelling yurta — Intense cold — Tattered garments — Rarefied atmosphere— The halt — Preparing dinner — Long nights — Sport on the plateau — Climate — Dust-storms — Chutun-dzamba — Arrival at the Murui-ussu — Limit of the expedition — Necessity for return.

The Burkhan Buddha range forms the southern boundary of the marshy plains of Tsaidam, and at the same time the northernmost Hmit of the lofty plateau of Northern Tibet. Its length (according to what we were told by the inhabitants) is about 130 miles from east to west, and while its eastern extremity is near the Yegrai-ula[1] mountains and Lake

  1. The Yegrai-ula range is not far from the sources of the Yellow River; according to the Mongols it is not covered with perpetual snow,