Journeys to Keng Tung

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March 5th

March 5th. —A short march of 12 miles from one camp in the hills to another. Exactly the same as usual, following a stream to near its watershed, and descending in the same way down a spur till a stream is met, and then down or up that, as the case may be. This is the stereotyped hill road of the country. We continued up the same stream as yesterday, and crossing its watershed in a north-west direction (aneroid 28.3 1/2″), dropped down into another narrow valley; and meeting the Me Hai, a rapid torrent, full of boulders, 60 feet wide and 2 1/2 feet deep, flowing south-east, we are now heading up its course. The constant crossing and re-crossing a strong current, with slippery boulders, and the constant little steep bits up and down in cutting off bends of the river, has been most severe on the mules. An easy gradient road might be made without much difficulty, and the nearer the crest of the hills the better. The forest, which is very dense below, thins higher up, and there are many patche of open dry grass. The route, as it is at present, would be quite impassable fo anything but elephants for six months in the year, viz. from May to Novembe or even December.

The Yunnans calculate 15 days for the journey from Moulmein to Zimme via Paon, Hlaingbue, Yembain, and Muang Haut; 17 days from Zimme to Kiang Tung (we shall do it in 16), and 5 on to Kiang Hung. This is very good going, and I calculate troops would take quite twice as long by the same route and an extra ten days by either the Paphun-Maingloungye or the Yembain- Maingloungye routes. From the glimpses I got to-day, there are many ranges of low hills east and west of our route, running mostly north-west to south- east, but nothing high or conspicuous. No villages were passed, but there were two side paths, running up probably to foresters’ huts.

At 6 miles, i.e. the summit of the watershed, we crossed a path which ran east to Poungchak. Thermometer 53° at 5 a.m. and 83° at midday. Next Entry