Theodore Roosevelt (18581919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.
and began to march through thick forest, not very high. There was little feed for the animals on the Chapadão. There was less in the forest. Moreover, the continual heavy rains made the travelling difficult and laborious for them, and they weakened. However, a couple of marches before we reached Tres Burity, where there is a big ranch with hundreds of cattle, we were met by ten fresh pack-oxen, and our serious difficulties were over.
There were piums in plenty day, but neither mosquitoes nor sand-flies by night; and for us the trip was very pleasant, save for moments of anxiety about the mules. The loose bullocks furnished us abundance of fresh beef, although, as was inevitable under the circumstances, of a decidedly tough quality. One of the biggest of the bullocks was attacked one night by a vampire bat, and next morning his withers were literally bathed in blood.
With the chapadão we said good-by to the curious, gregarious, and crepuscular or nocturnal spiders which we found so abundant along the line of the telegraphwire. They have offered one of the small problems with which the commission has had to deal. They are not common in the dry season. They swarm during the rains; and, when their tough webs are wet, those that lead from the wire to the ground sometimes effectually shortcircuit the wire. They have on various occasions caused a good deal of trouble in this manner.
The third night out from Vilhena we emerged for a moment from the endless close-growing forest in which our poor animals got such scanty pickings, and came to