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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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CHAPTER I

Travel to Valley of Parana, on the border of Goias and return to Malhada, on the Sao Francisco

The mountainous banks of the Sao Francisco River, made up of the Serra do Salgado, are formed, as well as the Sao Filipe plateau, from a bluish limestone,

Banks of the Sao Francisco river

in which there is no trace of petrification, which is why it should be well considered the intermediate terrain of limestone formation. During our stay in Salgado, we had ascended the Itabiracaba, which, with Itacarambi, to the north, at the highest point of this mountain, may be 800 feet above the river. The hard stone of its summit is eaten, singularly, with holes and ravines; multiform points erect on all sides, and from afar they look like grand gothic ruin, or petrified raging sea. At risk, we climbed the crest, from there seeing the sight of a desert ravaged by fire, for no leaf thrived around it, and the catinga forest seemed terrified by the breath of death, as did the ash-colored boulders of the mountain. This aspect, combined with the stories told by the sertanejos, about the

Valley of the Parana river

loneliness of the Chapada de Santa Maria and the diseases of the valley of the Parana, were not to cheer us up for this trip.

Chapada de Santa Maria

However, they gave us the comforting assurance that nowhere would we lack water, an element whose deprivation until now we had not suffered, and even, on the contrary, we had been disadvantaged in its abundance. What is surprising is, moreover, that in the mountains on the left side of the Sao Francisco River flow more numerous and more impetuous streams, - thus in Itabiracaba, the Cana Brava River, and in Itacarambi, the Jacare River, - than on right side, though exposed to more constant rainfall; the fact was partly explained by remembering the existing cavities in the latter, as the waters must flow to them underground in the river valley. If, however, as we continue our journey, we do not have to fear a lack of water, according to the information gathered so far, we may have to benefit from the salty drinking water, according to what experience has taught us. For this, the solicitude of our friends of Salgado served us, because one of the mules carried only fruits, confectionery and

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