- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
81

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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OVER THE CAUCASUS
81
F
Here, too, amidst this mighty landscape men have
worshipped the life-force and fruitfulness.
The road led along the foaming Terek, which
bears with it a whitish mud, probably holding lime
or clay. From here there is another glimpse up
the Devorak valley towards the glacier that takes
its rise from the snowfields of Kasbek. This was
the glacier which last century brought such heavy
disaster, for it spread far down and held up a
stream, until the dammed up waters broke through
the ice and brought destruction down the whole of
the Terek valley.
Wc drove over a bridge to the left side of the
valley. The valley narrowed; the rocky walls rose
sheer on both sides for 1,000-1,500 metres straight
up from the stream, which whirled along far below
us. The Terek now cuts its deep gorge towards the
north, right through the high ridge in front. There
was hardly room for the road, and often it was
cut into the perpendicular or even overhanging
wall, with a hundred metres sheer fall into the
whirling stream. The mountains hereabouts were
high, and mostly too steep for any trees to grow;
and few patches of grass were to be seen on the
ledges. The rocks were of a soft kind, and there
were many fresh marks oflandslides and avalanches.
The road wound down the mountain-side through
the wild ravines, while the telegraph and telephone
wires stretched from pole to pole, or hung on the
mountain wall and spanned the clefts. Unceasingly
these thin wires carry silent messages through this
isolated mountain world from one community to

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