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

Page 216

  Our march continued through the same type of high, nearly level upland, covered with scanty, scrubby forest. It is the kind of country known to the Brazilians as chapadão—pronounced almost as if it were a French word and spelled shapadón. Our camp on the fourth night was in a beautiful spot, an open grassy space, beside a clear, cool, rushing little river. We ourselves reached this, and waded our beasts across the deep, narrow stream in the late afternoon; and we then enjoyed a bath and swim. The loose bullocks arrived at sunset, and with shrill cries the mounted herdsmen urged them into and across the swift water. The mule-train arrived long after nightful, and it was not deemed wise to try to cross the laden animals. Accordingly the loads were taken off and brought over on the heads of the men; it was fine to see the sinewy, naked figures bearing their burdens through the broken moonlit water to the hither bank. The night was cool and pleasant. We kindled a fire and sat beside the blaze. then, healthily hungry, we gathered around the ox-hides to a delicious dinner of soup, beef, beans, rice, and coffee.
  Next day we made a short march, crossed a brook, and camped by another clear, deep, rapid little river, swollen by the rains. All these rivers that we were crossing run actually into the Juruena, and therefore form part of the headwaters of the Tapajos; for the Tapajos is a mighty river, and the basin which holds its headwaters covers an immense extent of country. This country and the adjacent regions, forming the high interior of western Brazil, will surely some day support a large industrial population; of which the advent would be hastened, although