Theodore Roosevelt (18581919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.
rough. Met with for the first time, it would doubtless have taken several days to explore a passage and, with danger and labor, get the boats down. But we were no longer exploring, pioneering, over unknown country. It is easy to go where other men have prepared the way. We had a guide; we took our baggage down by a carry three-quarters of a kilometre long; and the canoes were run through known channels the following morning. At the foot of the rapids was a big house and store; and camped at the head were a number of rubber-workers, waiting for the big boats of the head rubber-men to work their way up from below. They were a reckless set of brown daredevils. These men lead hard lives of labor and peril; they continually face death themselves, and they think little of it in connection with others. It is small wonder that they sometimes have difficulties with the tribes of utterly wild Indians with whom they are brought in contact, although there is a strong Indian strain in their own blood.
The following morning, after the empty canoes had been run down, we started, and made a rather short afternoons journey. We had to take the baggage by one rapids. We camped in an empty house, in the rain. Next day we ran nearly fifty kilometres, the river making a long sweep to the west. We met half a dozen batelãos making their way up-stream, each with a crew of six or eight men; and two of them with women and children in addition. The crew were using very long poles, with crooks, or rather the stubs of cut branches which served as crooks, at the upper end. With these they hooked into the branches and dragged themselves up along the