- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - XVII. The Amúr district and the Amúr railway

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We went at a rattling pace over the rough, frozsn
road, and could not complain of our progress, as in the
first forty minutes we covered sixteen miles, in spite of
two stops on the way.
We were now on the eastern slope of the mountain
or hill-country which is to be regarded as a northern
continuation of the Little Khingån range of Manchuria.
Through this country the railway runs westward for
a distance of 90 to 120 miles, until it approaches the
great plain again on the other side. It consists, roughly
speaking, of two low mountain ridges, an eastern and a
western, with a more level plain between them. There
was fine forest scenery in the eastern part : purple hills
and mountains, one behind another, ridge upon ridge,
with dark wooded valleys between. It was very like
Norway. Conifers were everywhere, but in many places
the forest consisted of cedar instead of spruce. It was
strange, by the way, here, as everywhere in Siberia,
how seldom one saw really big trees ; the forest seemed
often to consist of nothing but young trees ; this is not
because they are felled, but rather because they are
wantonly burnt ; and there is no end to these fires, one
sees signs of them everywhere. Another thing is that,
here again, the forest takes a long time to grow, as the
winter is so severe and snowless. Now and then there
were great marshy flats, on some of which larches were
scattered singly, on others white birches—the immense
wastes of bog extend far to the north towards blue hills,
and the birch-stems form a sort of veil of white mist over
the marsh below the purple distance.
There was a slow ascent along the river Birå, up
towards the water-parting between it and the little
river Khingån, which flows into the Amiir. A tunnel,
1400 yards long, has been made through the highest
crest here. Before reaching it we stopped to lunch at

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