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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.

Page 163

—rising almost from the ground. The fronds were of great length; some could not have been less than fifty feet long. Bushes and tall grass, dew-drenched and glittering with the green of emeralds, grew in the open spaces between. We left at sunrise the following morning. One of the sailors had strayed inland. He got turned round and could not find the river; and we started before discovering his absence. We stopped at once, and with much difficulty he forced his way through the vine-laced and thorn-guarded jungle toward the sound of the launch’s engines and of the bugle which was blown. In this dense jungle, when the sun is behind clouds, a man without a compass who strays a hundred yards from the river may readily become hopelessly lost.
  As we ascended the river the wawasa palms became constantly more numerous. At this point, for many miles, they gave their own character to the forest on the river banks. Everywhere their long, curving fronds rose among the other trees, and in places their lofty trunks made them hold their heads higher than the other trees. But they were never as tall as the giants among the ordinary trees. On one towering palm we noticed a mass of beautiful violet orchids growing from the side of the trunk, half-way to the top. On another big tree, not a palm, which stood in a little opening, there hung well over a hundred troupials’ nests. Besides two or three small ranches we this day passed a large ranch. The various houses and sheds, all palm-thatched, stood by the river in a big space of cleared ground, dotted with wawasa palms. A native house-boat was moored by the bank. Women and children looked from the unglazed windows