SEVERE WEATHER; SNOW-STORM.
But no sooner had we crossed the Kara-narin-ula mountains than excessive cold weather set in; and on the 15th November we experienced a storm which reminded us of the climate of Siberia a month later. With a violent gale from the NW. and a temperature of −9·0° Cent. (17° Fahr.), the sleet continued the whole day; the snow flakes, driven by the force of the wind into the finest particles, were mingled with clouds of sand which completely enveloped us. Large objects, ten paces off, were invisible; and we could neither open our eyes nor breathe freely when facing the wind. It was useless attempting to pursue our journey under these circumstances, and we remained in our tent, occasionally issuing forth to clear away the snow and sand-drifts which blocked up the entrance to our humble abode. Towards evening the violence of the snow-storm increased so much that we were obliged to leave our camels out all night, only securing them the following day.
The snow lay on the ground several inches deep, forming great drifts in places, and hard frosts continued every day. This unfavourable weather added greatly to the difficulties of our journey, and aggravated the sufferings of my sick companion. The beasts also suffered a good deal from want of food. Two of our camels and one horse soon refused to move, and had to be abandoned, their places being taken by the spare camels which Ave had got in Ala-shan.
In this way we advanced for 100 miles along