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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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attempts, we were able to light small torches, and we walked with our Indians along with some local ones, who illuminated the dangerous way along the cliffs. We needed to get back to the river, above the fall. The more we wandered, the more we were trapped in the darkness of the closed bush, and the more dangerous the way was. What if we fell into a rift in the rocks, hit our heads on a protruding edge, stumbled in the root of a tree or got entangled in the thorny windings of the Salsaparilla.

Salsaparilla

This nocturnal walk, in a constant rain, risking our stepping on a snake or another animal, was among the most painful we have done. On impulse, our guides stopped, and we saw the edge of a wall of rock, lost away from the river. After all, we had spotted their campfire from afar, from where the watchman heard our call and sent us helpers. Late, after midnight, we arrived at the camp, whose campfire was already fading.



We were now separated by a natural frontier from the lower Japura basin, and thus from the Amazon basin. I imagined myself now in the territory of the primitive indigenous tribes of America, still not touched by the breath of European civilization. This idea had a certain charm for me; And, surrounded by savage nature and primitive men in all their wildness, even the dangers, which were ahead of us and behind us, gave my position a particular pleasure. The men, who we encountered here, deserved this name only because they displayed a conscience even though they were wholly lacking any civilization, which is the measure of progress adorning the unchanging core of humanity. The change of our environment was also noticed, among others, in the vegetation itself, which became more different in its forms, the more we traveled west. As a result, the shape of the landscape was also modified: the trees seemed lower, with less extensive branches, and therefore narrower crowns; cipos were rarer; particularly a palm tree,

the Bariguda paxiuba, whose tall trunk of 40 or so feet thickens in the middle, like a barrel, so that this part is usually dug out by the Indians for their canoes. In the forest itself, we found small palisades, and here and there, sprouting on the rocks, sebaceous bushes of the arum creeper, and particularly the cymbidium

Carludovica

(Carludovica), a plant genus that first became known in Peru. In addition, it looked like this forest was now quite uninhabited by animals; only monkeys of many species were seen,

Marmoset monkey

mutuns fled, sneaking into the bushes, and some large blue macaws squawked at the top of the palm trees, where they nestled.

Mutun

Blue Macaw

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