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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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No rock appeared anywhere; and a thick layer of heavy mist covered the ground. After a quarter of an hour's walk, we found ourselves on the summit, where, after an lengthy trek through intricate woods, we set out through a clearer plain, covered with low trees and shrubs.

On this excursion, we could see the waterfall from above, for the walk passed by the formidable abyss where the river descends foaming.

The parquet of granite on the falls’ southern frontier, at a height of a few hundred feet, broke as sharply, as if the stone were not gradually being spent, but as if it broke in a sudden catastrophe to release the water. Granite rocks covered with trees and ferns overshadow the precipice, where the river flows in a whirlwind; the thicket of the bush, leaning down into the precipice, subtracts from the view of the deep abyss, from which we could still hear the sound of the fall brought by the strong wind. The spectacle of this grandiose scene of nature will always be in my memory. There followed a pleasant impression as I entered the clear plain.

The usual fragrance of the flowers of the field hung in the air. The low trees seemed to flow, strewn in multiple branches, similar to those of Minas, and above me the pale sky, whose sight I had missed for months, was curving, pale and cloudless.

Serra das Araras

I estimated that, on this plateau of Arara-Coara (Serra das Araras), I found myself only 500 feet (or a little more) taller than the mouth of the Japura in Solimoes; however, the whole, both in the impression of the landscape and in some particularities, was quite different from the vegetation of the Solimoes. In particular, three species of quina

Cinchona Lambertian, the Quinine bush

appeared to me prevalent, indicating to me that I was on the border of two large and distinct botanic river basins of Brazil and Peru. I gathered these species of quina as much as my men could find; when I returned to Belem do Para,

Count of Vila Flor, La Condamine

I showed them to the Governor, Count of Vila Flor, and I had the pleasure of assuring this excellent man that Brazil had no reason to envy its western neighbor as to production of this medicinal plant. From this altitude we could see how the river rushes down the gorge, on the northwest side; it offers here the same grandiose panorama as that of the exit. As far as the gaze could see above the fall, it was coming from the north-northwest direction. The reflecting mirror of the river and a continuation of the mountain on which I stood, on the other side, on the southern bank, was only what one saw mirrored in the dark green of the vegetation; the canopy was stretching far out of sight, like a sea of foliage, to north-northeast, and a few columns of blue smoke, which rose from there, were not enough to give an idea of?who had lit the campfires. So I had come to the end of my pilgrimage, standing at the frontier of one plant kingdom, with the other in view.

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