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“ To Him, ye vocal gales,
In speaking of the natural productions which furnish food for man, the Araucaria Imbricata, a species of pine which affords to the Indians of the Patagonian Andes the greater part of their sustenance, is too important to be passed
The following account of a visit to the place of its growth, is derived from the interesting travels of Dr. Poeppig in South America.
“ An alpine atmosphere, a severer climate than in the lower tracts of country, and, above all, a stoney soil, seem indispensable to the growth of these truly regal trees. In the immediate
neighbourhood of Antuco not a single tree is to be seen, and it requires a fatiguing excursion to gratify the Naturalist's desire to behold a wood of Araucaria. “ Between Antuco and the Fort of Trun Leuviu
a narrow valley, which being short, and full of thick underwood, suddenly ascends, and is connected with the defile through which the river Rucuë flows, a narrow arch arising in its middle. Accompanied by a jolly countryman, who had known better times (for the Antucanos used to possess large herds), and who could give me accurate information about the mountains, I travelled this road, which is now nearly forgotten, and has been untrodden for many years.
“The thick vegetation prevented us from penetrating into this valley on horseback, and we therefore resolved, being each of us furnished with a woollen coverlet and some provisions, to proceed on foot. Such are the hindrances which everywhere impede the progress of those strangers, who, impelled by scientific motives or from mere curiosity, quit the few roads which connect the rare inhabited spots in the Andes.
“ All around the small villages, or the solitary hut in which the traveller may have taken up his abode, stretches a wilderness destitute of inhabitants, through which nothing but an accurate knowledge of the localities can enable him to find his way. The native, whose occupation seldom induces him to quit the immediate vicinity of his residence, and who feels no curiosity to visit the uninhabited forests and defiles of the mountains, is mostly unacquainted with them, and cannot even aid the traveller by his descriptions. Thus the difficulty and delay consequent on procuring a guide often compel him to go alone. But if he be expert, accustomed to hardships, and well enough acquainted with the country to venture on the expedition, the sense of independence, and of increased self-confidence arising from success, will soon make him forget all the disagreeable feelings that first assailed him on the solitary journey. That he might suffer a lingering death from starvation, in places where none could seek him, is a thought which must not dwell on his mind, and which indeed seldom comes across the traveller, when, after great danger, he has attained the top of a lofty and hitherto unvisited rock, or finds his exertions