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

Page 310

disease and starvation. Wholesale disasters to South American exploring parties have been frequent. The first recent effort to descend one of the unknown rivers to the Amazon from the Brazilian highlands resulted in such a disaster. It was undertaken in 1889 by a party about as large as ours under a Brazilian engineer officer, Colonel Telles Peres. In descending some rapids they lost everything—canoes, food, medicine, implements—everything. Fever smote them, and then starvation. All of them died except one officer and two men, who were rescued months later. Recently, in Guiana, a wilderness veteran, André, lost twothirds of his party by starvation. Genuine wilderness exploration is as dangerous as warfare. The conquest of wild nature demands the utmost vigor, hardihood, and daring, and takes from the conquerors a heavy toll of life and health.
  Lyra, Kermit, and Cherrie, with four of the men, worked the canoes half-way down the canyon. Again and again it was touch and go whether they could get by a given point. At one spot the channel of the furious torrent was only fifteen yards across. One canoe was lost, so that of the seven with which we had started only two were left. Cherrie labored with the other men at times, and also stood as guard over them, for, while actually working, of course no one could carry a rifle. Kermit’s experience in bridge building was invaluable in enabling him to do the rope work by which alone it was possible to get the canoes down the canyon. He and Lyra had now been in the water for days. Their clothes were never dry. Their shoes were rotten. The bruises on their feet and legs had become sores. On their bodies