Illustrated Description Of Russia

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Winter-Travelling on the Steppes — Sledges

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Winter-Travelling on the Steppes — Sledges

Winter-Travelling on the Steppes — Sledges
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The winter of the steppe, in intensity of cold, frequently surpasses the severest seasons known on the shores of the Baltic; and the cutting blasts from the north, sweeping huge masses of snow into the Black sea, often cover it with a thick coating of ice for many leagues from the shore. The steppe, accordingly, participates in all the severity of a Russian winter, but enjoys few of the advantages which to the northern Russian go far to redeem the intensity of the cold. In northern Russia, and even in the Ukraine, the snow remains on the ground during the greater part of the winter, and the sledges quickly wear the surface of the road into a smooth mass of ice, over which the heaviest goods may be transported with a speed and facility surpassed only by a railroad. The Russian, therefore, usually prefers the winter months, not only for travelling, but also for the conveyance of heavy goods from one place to another. To the denizen of the steppe this natural railroad is unknown. The storms that prevail th roughout the greater part of the winter keep the snow in a constant state of agitation, and prevent it from "caking" on the ground. The snow, in consequence, never uniformly covers the steppe, but seems to lie unequally scattered over it in drifts, according as the wind may have wafted it about.

see more - The Steppes of Southern Russia

Sears, Robert. An Illustrated Description of the Russian Empire. New York: Robert Sears, 1855