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.

This invisibility, combined with the fact that the Snow Mountain gorals lived on almost inaccessible cliffs thickly covered with scrub spruce forest, made “still hunting” impossible.  In fact, Baron Haendel-Mazzetti, who had explored this part of the Snow Mountains fairly thoroughly in his search for plants, had never seen a goral, and did not know that such an animal existed there.

Heller hunted for two days in succession and, although he saw several gorals, he was not successful in getting one until we had been in camp almost a week.  His was a young male not more than a year old with horns about an inch long.  It was a valuable addition to our collection for I was anxious to obtain specimens of various ages to be mounted as a “habitat group” in the Museum and we lacked only a female.

The preparation of the group required the greatest care and study.  First, we selected a proper spot to reproduce in the Museum, and Yvette took a series of natural color photographs to guide the artist in painting the background.  Next she made detail photographs of the surroundings.  Then we collected portions of the rocks and typical bits of vegetation such as moss and leaves, to be either dried or preserved in formalin.  In a large group, perhaps several thousand leaves will be required, but the field naturalist need select typical specimens of only five or six different sizes from each of which a plaster mold can be made at the Museum and the leaves reproduced in wax.

After two days of rain during which I had a hard and unsuccessful hunt for serows we decided to return to the temple at the foot of the mountain which was nearer to the forests inhabited by these animals.  We had already been in our camp on the meadow for nine days and, besides the gorals, had gathered a large and valuable collection of small mammals.  The shrews were especially varied in species and, besides a splendid series of meadow voles, Asiatic mice and rats, we obtained a new weasel and a single specimen of a tiny rock-cony or little chief hare, an Asiatic genus (Ochotona) which is also found in the western part of North America on the high slopes of the Rocky Mountains.  Although we set dozens of traps among the rocks we did not get another on the entire expedition nor did we see indications of their presence in other localities.

The almost complete absence of carnivores at this camp was a great surprise.  Except for weasels we saw no others and the hunters said that foxes or civets did not occur on this side of the mountain even though food was abundant.

On the day before we went to the temple I had a magnificent hunt.  We left camp at daylight in a heavy fog and almost at once the dogs took up a serow trail.  We heard them coming toward us as we stood at the upper edge of a little meadow and expected the animal to break cover any moment, but it turned down the mountain and the hounds lost the trail in the thick spruce woods.

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