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Trip from Malhada, through the interior of the province of Bahia, to its capital, Bahia de Todos os Santos


The traveler who, during the dry months, carries numerous troops along the road we took in the backlands of Bahia, will not be sure to reach the place of his destination with only one pack animal. As for personal safety and the indispensable food, the troop does not need to be distressed, since daily it will reach one or several farms; however, water and fodder for the mules are often scarce and, in prolonged droughts, sometimes lacking at all; Hence the fact that this animal dies often, and he is helpless with his baggage and dependent on the kindness of the backcountry people. The new foreman considered it a duty of conscience inform us in the early days of the march of several similar cases, and when we affirmed their stories in the region where we rode, we felt subjected to similar discouraging circumstances. As we bordered the Sao Francisco River, we were forced to guide the mule troops through the tangled thorns of the wetland; but, further to the east, away from that flow, we entered parched catingas, where the only green plants were stems of fleshy Cereus, some Alcapaneiras and Janipos armed with caustic thorns (Cnidoscolus, Pohl.).

Cereus hexagonus

Alcapaneiras family, Capparis Spinosa, the caper bush


The soil there is made of limestone, which burns almost always turn into cretaceous white crusts. On the third day of travel, this formation changed to the orogenic between the Farms Curralinho and Pe da Serra, where we noticed granite, and on this, here and there, deposits of ferruginous and porous grain, partially disaggregated in ferruginous hollow.


In the streams, usually quite dry, we sometimes found a cloudy, bitter, cloying, viscous water preserved in mudflats and rock cavities. We improved the taste by adding sugar and marmalade, but the cargo animals could not be quenched in the same way, and sometimes they would reject such a very dubious drink, and we would always force them to drink in a hurry if possible. New difficulty opposed us, due