During the month that has elapsed since writing the last sentence, we have had strong gales and long, tedious calms. On one of these occasions the captain lowered a boat, and a lot of us scrambled over the ship's side and got in, taking it in turns to row. The first thing that surprised us was the very much warmer temperature of the sea-level than that on deck. The change was astonishing.
And, as each ascent from the sea-level is reached, less and less land attains to it, and when the snow-line is approached only a very small proportion indeed of the land aspires so high. So among writers, those who climb to the snow-line are a slender band compared to all the inhabitants of the lower slopes and plains.
The Kirghizes walked on foot and urged the animals up towards the giddy heights. It took us the whole day to reach a point 20,700 feet above sea-level. At this point we halted for the night, intending to push on higher in the morning, but two of the Kirghizes were so overcome with weariness and headaches that they asked to be allowed to go down again.
While camp was being made. I strolled along the shore to examine the rocks and the fossil timber that abounds here. All the rocks are freshly glaciated, even below the sea-level, nor have the waves as yet worn off the surface polish, much less the heavy scratches and grooves and lines of glacial contour.
This segment of the Unakas forms the boundary between North Carolina and Tennessee from the Big Pigeon River to the McDaniel Bald. Although some parts of the Smokies are very rugged, with sharp changes of elevation, yet the range as a whole has no one dominating peak. Many miles of the divide rise 6,000 feet above sea-level, with only small undulations like ocean swells.
For the next hour the ship's altitude above the sea-level was maintained unaltered; but at noon, the ocean proving clear of ships as far as the eye could reach, a descent was made to within one thousand feet of the sea, at which height a favourable breeze and a clear atmosphere was again met with.
For a fuller justification of this thesis as regards Switzerland, see the writer's "International Exhibitions," in International Monthly, October, 1900. For final illustration, let us descend to the sea-level. There again, taking the fisher, each regional type must be traced in his contribution to his town. So it must increasingly be for this youngest of societies.
Already I feel the benefit of this wonderful upland air. The farm of the Allertons lies fourteen hundred and twenty feet above sea-level, so it may well be a bracing climate. Beyond the usual morning cough I have very little discomfort, and, what with the fresh milk and the home-grown mutton, I have every chance of putting on weight. I think Saunderson will be pleased.
In Washington it is found growing down to the sea-level, but in the Sierra Nevada the requisite moisture for its growth is not found much below an elevation of four thousand feet. As we go upward the pines become fewer and the firs and "Big Trees" take their places.
The map in particular which had been issued to me was drawn upon a scale so large that even comparatively insignificant distances could be closely measured upon it, and it was so full of detail that apparently every building, however unimportant, was marked upon it; also it was "contoured" that is to say, it was covered all over with wavy lines, each of which represented a definite height above sea-level.