Theodore Roosevelt (18581919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.
and of the far northland woods in June, fragrant with the breath of pine and balsam-fir, where sweetheart sparrows sing from wet spruce thickets and rapid brooks rush under the drenched and swaying alder-boughs.
From Tapirapoan our course lay northward up to and across the Plan Alto, the highland wilderness of Brazil. From the edges of this highland country, which is geologically very ancient, the affluents of the Amazon to the north, and of the Plate to the south, flow, with immense and devious loops and windings.
Two days before we ourselves started with our muletrain, a train of pack-oxen left, loaded with provisions, tools, and other things, which we would not need until, after a month or six weeks, we began our descent into the valley of the Amazon. There were about seventy oxen. Most of them were well broken, but there were about a score which were either not broken at all or else very badly broken. These were loaded with much difficulty, and bucked like wild broncos. Again and again they scattered their loads over the corral and over the first part of the road. The pack-men, howevercoppercolored, black, and dusky-whitewere not only masters of their art, but possessed tempers that could not be ruffled; when they showed severity it was because severity was needed, and not because they were angry. They finally got all their longhorned beasts loaded and started on the trail with them.
On January 21 we ourselves started, with the muletrain. Of course, as always in such a journey, there was some confusion before the men and the animals of the train settled down to the routine performance of duty.