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days, in a deserted place, where not the slightest trace of man was noticed, and whose particular impression on our spirit was further accentuated by the idyllic beauty of the region. After we landed the first night, in the open air, in the spring of Juqueri, a small stream that flows into Carinhanha, on a plain lined with palm

Rio Formoso today


trees, we reached the Formoso River the next day. This river, “beautiful”, well deserves such an epithet, for its surroundings look like a huge garden, in which nature has gathered all that a poet's imagination would choose for nymphs or faeries.

Etching 53 Palm tree groves between Goias and Cuiaba

Clusters of palm trees and flowering thickets are scattered in the woody meadow, through which the river flows, making many turns, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, on white sands, and, to the east, closer to the Sao Francisco River, its waters flow greenish white on limestone. Always in the vicinity of this river and often even along its banks, we made four days of march. We stayed overnight on the high plateau where, among palm trees and twisted branches of anas trees, we hung our hammocks. The mules and horses were released after a night in the field with their paws tied, and thus, like us, protected from the attack of beasts by the large number of fires with which we surrounded our camp.

During the sentinel period, which we used to alternate with our crew, we had occasion to enjoy the splendor of the tropical starry nights, and to rejoice in the advantage that the richness of the region in varied plants offered us during those lonely hours that pained us with homesickness. On the fifth day, we moved away from the river to the plain, which gradually rises to the limestone rock of the Sao Francisco River. Here we found the limestone formation that predominates in the prized river, and, consequently, also soon another vegetation taking the place of meadows, dry shrubs, autumnal, or clear, spaced groves. A bunch of hunters we met invited us to take part in the deer hunt;

Etching 54

we crossed with them a shallow place of the Carinhanha, and at noon we returned to the river, on whose northern bank we had to proceed to its mouth on Sao Francisco.

This Carinhanha river, which here forms the border between Minas and Pernambuco, flows through mountains, whose western branches, following the course of Sao Francisco, are in this latitude is flowing further away from its banks. Mountains of rock, isolated, quadrangular, sloping to the east, sometimes covered with vegetation, sometimes bare, are cut with deep furrows and depressions of strange shapes.

Examining these limestone mountains where pyrite deposits lie, I came across an animal of the species from the burrow.


Iron pyrite