Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/255

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RETURN TO KAN-SU.

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districts, we preferred again facing the difficulties of the mountains.

During our month's stay on the Pouhain-gol we finally equipped our caravan for the march. We exchanged our felt tent for camel-saddles, of which we stood greatly in need. On returning to Tsaidam half the camels were unfit for work, and although we succeeded in obtaining others in their stead the money we had to pay in addition completely exhausted our finances, leaving us only five lans with which to supply the place of those that had perished in Tibet. We were at length driven to the last extremity of selling revolvers to the Tangutans and Mongol officials, and bartered away three out of our remaining twelve for three good camels, besides selling two for sixty-five lans (18l.), which enabled us to remain three spring months in Koko-nor and Kan-su.

The first step we took in Kan-su everything suddenly changed. Instead of a dry atmosphere, we had a fall of snow every day, whilst the ground was saturated with moisture like a sponge. Vegetation had not begun to develope itself under the influence of spring; the watercourses were still covered with ice, and the night frosts were still sharp. There weге fewer migratory birds even than at Koko-nor, and summer visitants had not arrived in large numbers; a few solitary specimens only having made their appearance. In fact the Kan-su mountains looked just as we had left them in the end of October of the previous autumn.