Theodore Roosevelt (18581919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.
whom Mr. Savage Landor stands in unpleasant prominence.
From the Sepotuba rapids our course at the outset lay westward. The first days march away from the river lay through dense tropical forest. Away from the broad, beaten route every step of a mans progress represented slashing a trail with the machete through the tangle of bushes, low trees, thorny scrub, and interlaced creepers. There were palms of new kinds, very tall, slender, straight, and graceful, with rather short and few fronds. The wild plantains, or pacovas, thronged the spaces among the trunks of the tall trees; their boles were short, and their broad, erect leaves gigantic; they bore brilliant red-and-orange flowers. There were trees whose trunks bellied into huge swellings. There were towering trees with buttressed trunks, whose leaves made a fretwork against the sky far overhead. Gorgeous red-and-green trogons, with long tails, perched motionless on the lower branches and uttered a loud, thrice-repeated whistle. We heard the calling of the false bell-bird, which is gray instead of white like the true bell-birds; it keeps among the very topmost branches. Heavy rain fell shortly after we reached our camping-place.
Next morning at sunrise we climbed a steep slope to the edge of the Parecis plateau, at a level of about two thousand feet above the sea. We were on the Plan Alto, the high central plain of Brazil, the healthy land of dry air, of cool nights, of clear, running brooks. The sun was directly behind us when we topped the rise. Reining in, we looked back over the vast Paraguayan marshes, shimmering in the long morning lights. Then,