742 EXPLORATIONS IN THE KURUK-TAGH [Chap. XX
Record of Another day's halt at the spring was necessary in order to let Afrâz-gul's camels recover
Afraz l's a little from their week's fasting and hard travel, and to allow of the dressing, by the experienced observa-
tions. hands of Hassan Akhûn, of the manifold cuts and sores from which they, as well as our own camels,
were suffering. Nor would the violent Buran which broke upon us at night from the north-east, and caused us much discomfort by its icy blasts all through the day, have allowed us to move. Afraz-gul's first verbal account had already assured me that, in the face of very serious hardships and of risks by no means negligible, he had succeeded in carrying out completely the programme I had laid down for him at Turfân. Now an inspection of his plane-table sheets, kept as always with scrupulous attention to details, and of his equally full ` route report ', showed me how intelligently he had grasped the purposes for which he had had to undergo fatigues and privations. I had sketched out his routes for him with special regard to a number of geographical and antiquarian points of interest, upon which additional surveys along the ancient sea-bed and across the Lop Desert farther west were likely to throw useful light. The care with which he had recorded whatever observations might bear on such points has invested his survey with a value to which the mere reproduction of his route traverses on the map would not do full justice. I therefore consider it desirable to furnish here extracts from Afrâz-gul's route report in condensed translation. I have added to them remarks, where needed, as to the bearing which particular observations may have on questions of archaeological or geographical interest discussed in previous chapters.
Surveyor's The surveyor after leaving our base camp at Kara-khôja reached the town of Lukchun on
march .to February 6th via Toyuk. Next day he proceeded to the small oasis of Deghar, marking the extreme Deghar
limit of cultivation in the south-eastern corner of the Turfân depression (Map No. 28. D. 3). Where
the wide river-bed coming from Lamjin was crossed, about 31 miles south of Lukchun, he measured a volume of c. 17 cubic feet of water per second. From there to Deghar cultivation was met with only in detached Kârez-irrigated patches.
Ascent from Vegetation completely ceased beyond the fields of Sai-kâréz, an outlying farm of Deghar.
Deghar. The bed passed a mile beyond, which represents the easternmost drainage channel reaching the
Turfân basin from the side of the ` Chöl-tagh ', had evidently received no water for a long time. The route towards Altmish-bulak which Afraz-gul's small party followed under the guidance of Abdulmalik, a younger brother of Abdurrahim, led over absolutely bare gravel Sai to the debouchure of a wide Nullah coming from the south. For two and a half marches from Deghar the route ascended this open valley bordered on either side by low detached hills which gravel or detritus covered for the most part. No vegetation of any sort, live or dead, was met with in the valley, except at a small patch of stunted tamarisks known as Ghuja-yulghun (Map No. 28. D. 4). Nor was there water to be found anywhere.
Across A uniformly gentle slope led the travellers on the third day from Deghar to the Kök-dawan
northern- (2,260 ft.), crossing an almost flat watershed. It evidently marks the eastern extension of that most range
of Kuruk- northernmost range of the Kuruk-tagh which the other surveyed routes from the Turfân basin
tagh. farther to the west cross by the higher saddles of At-ölgan-dawan and Igar-dawan (Map No. 28.
B, c. 4). To the south of the Kök-dawân the route passed through the terminal basin of a separate drainageless area, containing stretches of salt-encrusted clay. Near the northern and southern limits of this basin there were found respectively the salt springs of Katar-yulghun and Shaldrangbulak, and around them numerous small tamarisk-cones and a limited amount of scrub.
Springs of Beyond Shaldrang-bulak the route took a turn to SSW. and led across a succession of utterly
Iltarguch- barren plateaus, separated by dry drainage channels and rising at the Iltarguch-dawan to a height bulak.
of close on 3,400 feet. No vegetation of any sort was met until after two marches the salt springs known as Iltarguch-bulak were reached, by the side of reed-beds and tamarisk-cones. The wide