[Illustration: TOWARD NIGHT; A TIRED DOG-TEAM From a painting by George A. Frost]
The art of driving a dog-team is one of the most deceptive in the world. The traveller at first sight imagines that driving a dog-sledge is just as easy as driving a street-car, and at the very first favourable opportunity he tries it. After being run away with within the first ten minutes, capsized into a snow-drift, and his sledge dragged bottom upward a quarter of a mile from the road, the rash experimenter begins to suspect that the task is not quite so easy as he had supposed, and in less than one day he is generally convinced by hard experience that a dog-driver, like a poet, is born, not made.
The dress of the Kamchadals in winter and summer is made for the most part of skins. Their winter costume consists of sealskin boots or torbasses worn over heavy reindeerskin stockings and coming to the knee; fur trousers with the hair inside; a foxskin hood with a face border of wolverine skin; and a heavy kukhlanka (kookh-lan’-kah), or double fur overshirt, covering the body to the knees. This is made of the thickest and softest reindeerskin, ornamented around the bottom with silk embroidery, trimmed at the sleeves and neck with glossy beaver, and furnished with a square flap under the chin, to be held up over the nose, and a hood behind the neck, to be drawn over the head in bad weather. In such a costume as this the Kamchadals defy for weeks at a time the severest cold, and sleep out on the snow safely and comfortably in temperatures of twenty, thirty, and even forty degrees below zero, Fahr.
Most of our time during our long detention at Lesnoi was occupied in the preparation of such costumes for our own use, in making covered dog-sledges to protect ourselves from winter storms, sewing bearskins into capacious sleeping-bags, and getting ready generally for a hard winter’s campaign.
[Illustration: Root Digger]
A FRESH START—CROSSING THE SAMANKA MOUNTAINS—DESCENT ON A KORAK ENCAMPMENT—NOMADS AND THEIR TENTS—DOOR-HOLES AND DOGS—POLOGS—KORAK BREAD