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LETTER xvi        THE PLATEAU OF GOKAB                       15

of gypsiferous rock, topped with pure white gypsum,
resting on high, steep elevations of red and fawn coloured
earths, with outcrops of gravel conglomerate.

Yesterday was spent in a very severe expedition of
twenty-four miles from Mowaz to the lofty plateau of
Gorab, mostly through oak forest, crossing great canons
800 feet deep and more, with almost precipitous sides,
descending upon the awful gorge through which the
Bazuft passes before it turns round the base of the Kuh-
i-Gerra, the monarch of this mass of mountains. The
ascents and descents were endless and severe as- we
crossed the mountain spurs. It was a simple scramble
up and down rock ledges, among great boulders, or up or
down smooth slippery surfaces. Even my trusty mule
slipped and fell several times. Often the animals had
to jump up or down ledges nearly as high as their chests,
and through rifts so narrow as only just to admit the
riders. In some places it was absolutely necessary to
walk, and in attempting to get down one bad place
on my own feet I fell and hurt my knee badly—a
serious misfortune just at present.

After twelve miles of a toilsome march th'e guide led
us up among the boulders of a deep ravine to the treeless
plateau of Gorab, an altitude of 8000 feet, where the air
was fresh and cool. The scenery is on a gigantic scale,
and the highly picturesque Bazuft is seen passing through
magnificent canons of nearly perpendicular rock, and mak-
ing sharp turn's round the bases of lofty spurs, till after a
course of singular beauty it joins the Karun at Shalil. It
is glorious scenery, full of magnificence and mystery. This
beautiful Ab-i-Bazuft, which for a long distance runs
parallel with the Karun within fifteen or eighteen miles
of it, is utterly unlike it, for the Karun is the most
tortuous of streams and the Bazuft keeps a geographically
straight course for a hundred miles. Springs bursting