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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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the absolute lack of fodder did not force us to go on. Even the village priest himself can not get us corn, and thus, we had nothing left to do, but climb the dawn of the next day, the Serra de Sincora.

Serra de Sincora
  
The quartzite layers here are oriented north-south at hours 22, 23 and 24, at a thickness of one to eight feet, and are sloping sharply to the east. At a great cost we reached the gorge of the mountain; not the least of the evils that plagued us, our housed mules had eaten a poisonous herb in the night; they trembled, panted, and lay down at the steepest points of the road, forcing us to haul the loads to the other side of the slope, which they shifted with less effort, because this kind of poisoning makes it especially difficult to climb. Feeling disappointed because we can not observe the passage of this interesting region, we climbed the eastern slope restlessly, which was terraced and decorated with wonderful alpine flowers. We regretted that we were not given the opportunity to collect these mountain plants, which constitute a very particular flora.
  
A vast panorama came before our eyes, as we came to a region of hills, covered with catingas then without leaves, until we descended to a low plateau, where we found the Fazenda dos Carrapatos. This Serra de Sincora should be considered the last northeastern irradiation of the great mass of Serra da Mantiqueira; it forms the dividing wall between the plateaus and the provinces of Bahia; west of her the most unstable, drier climate in the east predominates. As it turns out, we were brilliant to have followed its eastern slope.

Here we had reached the threshold of that stretch of catingas, whose crossing must be very dangerous and terrible, as the countrymen had told us. Because until Maracas, 20 leagues from our rest stop, we could not count on water or fodder. In fact, the situation was desperate, and the risk was that we had our precious luggage in this sad solitude, and we could die of starvation. Our consternation was even greater, when, after the night of anxiety, we missed the foreman, our guide, hired in the village of Rio das Contas; and after heavy searching we believed that he, fearing that he could not lead us through the desert, was gone. Because of him, the mules, for the most part, were agitated, and refused to go on the march; two of them had already been killed on the road. Our supply of corn was almost finished, and we could not replenish ourselves on the farms of the poor inhabitants there; the only drinking water was far away at a distance of 20 leagues, and only in three or four places there were areas with fetid and salty water, as we had been told.

Etching 23 Trip through the desert

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