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Singé up to the 18th, at which time some coolies still remained behind This village, which is 6330 feet above the sea, is of moderate size containing about twelve houses; in the best of these we were lodged and it really was a good house, and the best by far we were accommodated with while in Bootan.
On the night of the 17th snow fell all around, though not within 1000 feet of Singe. The comparative mildness of the climate here was otherwise indicated by the abundance of rice cultivation about and below it. It stands on the border of the wooded and grassy tracts so well marked in the interior of Bootan, at least in this direction, and about midway on the left side of a very deep ravine, drained by the river Koosee. On both sides of this, villages were plentiful; on the opposite or western side alone I counted about twenty; about all there is much cultivation of rice and wheat ; the surface of the earth where untilled, being covered with grassy vegetation and low shrubs.
Feb. 18th. We commenced a steep descent, and continued it until we came in sight of the river Koosee, which is not visible from Singé. We then turned to the north, following the course of the river upwards, the path running about 800 feet above its bed. Thence, after descending another ravine, drained by a tributary to the Koosee, we again ascended slightly, to re-descend to the Koosee, up the bed of which we then kept until we came to the Khoomar, a considerable torrent, which we crossed about 100 yards from its mouth by a wooden bridge ; within a quarter of a mile of this we crossed the Koosee itself by a similar bridge, and then ascended gradually along its right bank until we reached Singlang, which place became visible after passing the Khoomar.
After arriving at the Koosee the country became barren, resembling much that about Tassgong; and the only cultivation we passed in this portion of the march was some rice along the bed of that river.
The usual delays took place at Singlang, and as it was the residence of a Soobah, we' suffered the usual inconveniences. We were miserably lodged in a small open summer house, up a small ravine, and at a short distance from the castle, which is a large and rather irregular building.
The village itself is a poor one, most of the inhabitants being quar. tered in the castle. We had an interview with the Soobah in an open place close to the village : it was conducted with much less state than that at Tassgong. We found the Soobah to be very young, in fact almost a boy ; he behaved civilly, and without any pretension. None of his armed men were present, and the whole number of Bootcas collected to see the show could not have exceeded 100. We
features of the country were precisely the same. At the elevation of 7300 feet the woods became finer, consisting of oaks and rhododendrons, rendered more picturesque from being covered with mosses, and a grey pendulous lichen, a sure indication of considerable elevation. Various temples and monumental walls were passed, and several average sized villages seen in various directions. A fine field of peas in full blossom was noticed at 5500 feet, but otherwise little cultivation occurred. Oonjar is a small village at an elevation of 6370 feet.
Feb. 25th. Leaving this place, we continued winding along nearly at the same altitude until we descended to the river Oonjar, which drains the ravine, on the right flank of which the village is situated. This river, which is of moderate size, is crossed twice within 200 yards. From the second bridge one of the greatest ascents we had yet en). countered commenced; it was excessively steep at first, but subsequently became more gradual. It only terminated with our arrival at the halting place, which we denominated “ St. Gothard,” but which is known by the name Peemee. Its elevation is about 9700 feet, and we had ascended from the bridge as much as 4350 feet. Snow commenced at 7500 feet, and became heavy at 8500 feet; Peemee was half buried in it, and ornamented with large icicles : it consists of one miserable hut. This hut would not have withstood the attacks of another such party as ours, for the men made use of its bamboos for firewood, and the horses and mules cat very large portions of it. Our people were put considerably out from not considering it proper to use snow water, the only fluid to be procured, as there is no spring near.
Feb. 26th. We continued the ascent through heavy snow. For the first 1000 feet it was easy enough, but after that increased much in dif. ficulty. Great part of the path was built up faces of sheer precipices
. About noon we passed through the pass of Rodoola, which consists of
between two rocks, barely wide enough to admit a loaded pony One of the rocks bore the usual slab with the mystic sentence mainee pamee oom.” There is nothing striking in the place, which besides is not the highest part of the mountain traversed. The eleva tion was found to be 12,300 feet.
The remainder of the ascent was very gradual, but continued for about 11 miles; and I consider the actual pass from which we commenced descending to be at least 12,600 feet. The descent was at first very rapid, passing down the bold face of the mountain, which was covered entirely with stout shrubby rhododendrons. We then descended gradually through a fine wood of the black fir. On recommen. cing the steep descent we passed over swardy patches surrounded
by fir woods, and we continued through similar tracts until within 1000 feet of our halting place, to which we descended over bare skard.
The march, which was one of thirteen miles, lasted nine hours ; the greatest ascent was nearly 4000 feet, the greatest descent nearly 5000 feet
. It was with great difficulty that many of our followers succeeded in effecting it: with the usual apathy of natives, they wanted to remain in a ruined log hut, at an elevation of 12,500 feet, without food, instead of pushing on. Capt. Pemberton very properly ejected them all
, and when once they had passed the snow, they regained a good deal of their miserable spirit
. The road throughout the ascent was buried in snow, the depth of which alone enabled us to cross one very bad place where the constructed road appeared to have given way, and at which most of our ponies had narrow escapes.
On the descent the snow became scanty at 9500 feet, and at 9000 feet disappeared almost entirely, lingering only in those places which throughout the day remain obscured in shade.
From the summit of Rodoola a brief gleam of sunshine gave us a bird's-eye view of equally. lofty ridges running in every direction, all
covered with heavy snow.
The vegetation of the ascent was very varied, the woods consisting of oaks, rhododendrons, and bamboos, up to nearly 11,000 feet. Beyond this the chief tree was the black fir; junipers, alpine polygopums, a species of rhubarb, and many other alpine forms presented themselves in the shape of the withered remains of the previous season of active vegetation. That on the descent was less varied, the trees being nearly limited to three species of pines, of which the black fir scarcely descended below 11,600 feet, when it was succeeded by a more elegant larchlike species, which I believe is Pinus Smithiana ; this again ceased toward an altitude of 9500 feet, when its place was occupied by Pinus excelsa, now a familiar form.
We found Bhoomlungtung to occupy a portion of rather a fine valley. The village is of moderate size, but of immoderate filth, only exceeded in this respect by its tenants, to whom no other Booteas could come near in this, as it would seem, necessary qualification of an inhabitant of a cold, bleak, mountainous country; it is situated on the left bank of a good sized stream. We were lodged in the chief house, but were annoyed beyond measure by the smoke arising from a contiguous cook room, in which operations were going on day and night. The valley is not broad, but is two or three miles in length: it is surrounded on all sides, but especially to the south and east by lofty mountains. The elevation of Bhoomlungtung is nearly 8700 feet,
and we considered it to be the most desirable spot we had yet met with.
The valley is for the most part occupied by wheat fields, but the prospect of a crop appeared to me very faint. Two or three villages occur close to Bhoomlungtung. The tillage was better than any we had seen, the fields being kept clean, and actually treated with manure, albeit not of the best quality; in a few instances they were surrounded with stone walls, as were the court yards of all the houses, but more commonly the inroads of cattle were considered sufficiently prevented by strewing thorny branches here and there. The houses were of ordinary structure, but unspeakably filthy.
With the exception of a sombre looking oak near Bhoomlungtung, and some weeping willows, the arboreous vegetation consists entirely of firs. The shrubby vegetation is northern, and so is the herbaceous, but the season for this had not yet arrived. It was here that I first met with the plant called after Mr. James Prinsep ; the compliment is not, in Bootan at least, enhanced by any utility possessed by the shrub, which is otherwise a thorny, dangerous looking species. Here too we first saw English looking magpies, larks, and redlegged crows.
March 1st. Proceeded to Byagur or Juggur. We were told that the march was a short one, and that we should continue throughout down the bed of the Tung-Tchien, the river of Bhoomlungtung; we found, however, that we soon had to leave this, and commence ascending. After a second descent to a small nullah, we encountered a most tedious ascent, which continued until we surmounted a ridge overlooking Byagur, to which place we descended very rapidly. The height of this ridge was 9950 feet, yet we did not meet with a vestige of snow. The distance was fourteen miles. We passed two or three small villages, but saw scarcely any vegetation after leaving the valley. The vegetation continued the same, the road traversing either sward or fir woods, consisting entirely of Pinus excelsa.
The valley in which Byagur is situated is still larger than that of Bhoomlungtung: it is drained by a large river which is crossed by a somewhat dilapidated wooden bridge; the elevation is about 8150 feet. The village so called is a moderately sized one; but there are several others in the valley, which is one of the very few decently inhabited places we met with. The inhabitants are much cleaner than those of Bhoomlungtung. The Soobah was absent at Tongsa; his castle, which is a very large, irregular, straggling building, is situated on a hill 500 feet above the plain, some of its defences, or outworks, reaching nearly to the level of the valley. During the hot weather