Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/307

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TRADE ROUTES. COUNTRY IMPROVES.

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is mostly on camels. Since the reinforcement of the Chinese garrison at Uliassutai after its destruction by the Dungans in 1870, the trade has considerably increased; supplies for the troops are sent this way, and Chinese merchants travel with millet and merchandise to barter with the Mongols for wool, leather, and cattle.[1]

Another route, a hundred miles further north, is maintained for the conveyance of mails and officials, between the two above-mentioned towns. Soon after leaving Kuku-khoto this track joins the Kalgan-Urga post road, from which it again diverges at Sair-ussu[2] in the direction of Uliassutai.

Northwards the character of the Gobi again changes, and this time for the better. The sterile desert becomes a steppe, more and more fruitful as луе advance to the north. The shingle and gravel are in turn succeeded by sand mixed in small quantities with clay. The country becomes extremely undulating. The gradual slopes of low hills[3] intersect one another in every possible direction, and earn for this region the Mongol name, 'Kangai,' i.e. hilly. This continues for upwards of a hundred miles to the north of the Uliassutai post road, when the waterless steppe touches the margin of the basin of Lake Baikal; here finally, at Hangin-daban, you find yourself among groups and ridges of rocky

  1. Chinese petty traders ply a barter trade all through the summer in all parts of Mongolia, especially in the east and centre.
  2. Sair-ussu is 220 miles south-east of Urga.
  3. In this part of the Gobi the low hills are almost without rocks.