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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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singular species of beetle (Aesopus thoracicus, nob.), with a bulging chest, of

which there were a number in the half-dried bushes.

Itambe mountain

Another instructive tour was for us climbing Itambe. This mountain, which, to distinguish, is also called Itambe da Vila, rises sovereignly, dominating the entire region, and forms the core of the mountains, which go to the coast of the sea to the east, and to the west is lost in hills. lowlands and flat lands of the Sao Francisco River. In its cliffs, springs the small Capivari River, and very closeby the Jequitinhonha starts, in two arms, as a bearer of gold and diamonds.

Diamontina, Ouro Preto to Bahia

Everyone dissuaded us from this ascent to the mountain, since its summit had never been climbed until that day. So Ferreira da Camara encouraged us to measure the altitude of this wonderful mountain, and offered to accompany us and assist us in whatever the venture needed. On June 5, therefore, we set out with the quartermaster and his son.

We crossed the Jequitinhonha River, in the vicinity of which is a house belonging to the Oliveira family, which, although already in ruins, gave a good idea of the love of luxury and the splendor of former diamond contractors; Later, we reached the gold wash of the Vau and stayed overnight under a kind of cliff, formed by high mountains, a place that stood out from the surrounding regions for its fertility. At our host's house, for the first time in Brazil, we encountered the sad spectacle of madness in both of their children. We mentioned this circumstance because we had the pleasure of finding, throughout our stay in Brazil, very rare cases of mental illness. The next day our host led us down the road through high pastures, which are surrounded by lush clumps of cliffs. Majestic, the mountain rose slowly before our eyes, rising from the jungles with a rounded ridge, split and all resplendent in the sun. By evening we reached the edge of the fields and the slope of the main mount, all surrounded by peculiar vegetation: ferns, bamboos, and low scrubland. He immediately ordered the quartermaster to improvise bamboo huts for the night's camp, and gave us, in that solitude, the surprise of a well-served table. All arrangements were then made for the next day at dawn to ascend to the summit. As the bush seemed impenetrable, there was the quartermaster, already waiting, careful to have a pick to open the way in these jungles.

Before sunrise, we set out, accompanied by some slaves and friends, loaded with our instruments and the necessary supplies. At first, the walk was very difficult.

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