Camps and Trails in China eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 325 pages of information about Camps and Trails in China.

I have often seen the Chinese and Korean hunters perform similar ceremonies at the death of an animal, and the idea that it is necessary to propitiate the God of the Hunt is universal.  When I was shooting in Korea in 1912, and also in other parts of China, if luck had been against us for a few days the hunters would invariably ask me to buy a chicken, or some animal to sacrifice for “good joss.”

After each dog had had a taste of the goral’s blood we again climbed the cliff at the end of the meadow.  When we were nearly 2,000 feet above camp the clouds shut in and, as the impenetrable gray curtain wrapped itself about us, we could only sit quietly and wait for it to drift away.

After an hour the fog began to thin and the men sent the hounds toward a talus slope at the base of the highest peak.  Almost immediately the big red dog picked up a trail and started across the loose rock with the pack yelping at his heels.  We followed as rapidly as possible over such hard going but before we reached the other side the dogs had rounded a sharp pinnacle and disappeared far below us.  Expecting that the goral would swing about the base of the peak the hunters sent me back across the talus to watch for a shot, but the animal ran down the valley and into a heavily wooded ravine where the dogs lost his trail only a short distance above camp.

I returned to find that Heller had secured a rich haul from the traps.  As we supposed, the runways which Yvette and I had discovered above timber line were made by a meadow vole (Microtus) and in the forest almost every trap had caught a white-footed mouse (Apodemus).  He also had several new shrews and we caught eight different species of these important little animals at this one camp.

Wu, the interpreter, hearing us speak of shrews, came to me one day in great perplexity with his Anglo-Chinese dictionary.  He had looked up the word “shrew” and found that it meant “a cantankerous woman!”

The following day Heller went out with the hunters and saw two gorals but did not get a shot.  In the meantime Yvette and I ran the traps and prepared the small mammals.  While we were far up on the mountain-side, Baron Haendel-Mazzetti appeared armed with ropes and an alpine snow ax.  He was about to attempt to climb the highest peak which had never been ascended but the drifts turned him back several hundred feet from the summit.  He dined at our camp and as all of us carefully refrained from “war talk” we spent a very pleasant evening.  During his three years in Yuen-nan he had explored and mapped many sections of the province which had not been visited previously by foreigners and from him we obtained much valuable information.

On the third morning we were up before daylight and I left with the hunters in the gray dawn.  We climbed steadily for an hour after leaving camp and, when well up on the mountain-side, skirted the base of a huge peak through a dense forest of spruce and low bamboo thickets, emerging upon a steep grassy meadow; this abutted on a sheer rock wall at the upper end, and below ran into a thick evergreen forest.

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Camps and Trails in China from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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