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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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We had to toil through swamps, dry stony ground, pointy blocks of rock, and dense thickets. After a few hours of marching, we entered the most beautiful steep rising pastures. From this region onwards, there were rocks and more rocks crammed together, and long stretches covered with fallen stones. Apart from the whisper of a small stream, there was no sound at all; neither birds nor insects appeared in these beautiful high fields; only here and there were traces noted,

proving that tapirs ventured to this height. In a cave we can see traces of fire and camping, probable indications of the stay there of runaway blacks and prospectors. Very painfully we climbed the abrupt wall of rock which we had reached by the top of the mountain; but soon we were disillusioned, for there was still a higher top to climb. Happily, we climbed the last colossus as well, and with the magnificent panorama, from the top of the plateau the mountainous

expanse of Serro Frio unfolded. High rise to the southeast the peaks of the Serra

Serra do Gaviao

do Gaviao, and the next gigantic undulations, through which runs the Jequitinhonha, in curves; to the south in the direction of Vila Rica jungles and

Serra da Lapa

high pastures shone; To the west, follow the Serra da Lapa to the side of the Sao Francisco River. Quiet rests on the south-southwest side of Vila do Principe, and, in the southeast, the village called Itambe da Vila; Finally, to the northwest is the beautiful Tejuco.

The Itambe plateau forms a plane of about three hundred paces in length and

Itambe

half in width, interrupted by some rock walls, adorned with some species of cherry, Eriocauleas, Barbacenia overtaking the Cactus, Melocactus and Bromelias (Ties). These last plants, with water conserved between their leaves, replaced the faint sources that we found here, to quench our thirst. The cold was very sharp at this altitude. The thermometer indicated, at one and a half hours, 11 degrees R.; the barometer, 22 inches and 10 lines; the electrometer, a 4-5 degree divergence, with shocks in the incipient west wind. It is reported that snow has already been observed on these peaks, which however did not last more than one night or half a day. The environment around us was extremely pure and exciting, and we felt, besides the cold discomfort, no difficulty in breathing or the discomfort that, in Peru, under the name mareo de la puna, usually bothers us in the great heights.

We were still engrossed in our remarks as we began to rise to a thousand feet from the depth below us when very long, thin clouds that were being touched very quickly by the west wind covered part of the neighborhood. The fear of being enveloped in dense fog, as often happens in the Alps, hastened

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Eriocaulon ensifolia

Ericaulon gibbosus

Barbacenia purpurea

Cactus phyllanthus

Melocactus violaceus

Bromela pinguin