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By Helen Schreider, Frank Schreider

Because the day of the conquistadors, the Amazon has lured explorers and adventurers. Many have left documents in their studies, yet few money owed are so packed with the exceitement of discovery as Exploring The Amazon, a stirring tribute to the braveness of its authors. one other nationwide Geographic treasure.

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Mr. Stephan's truck carried us one other six hundred ft upward alongside a corkscrew mining path. Then, with foreman Jorge Palomino Andia as consultant and a burly Indian mine employee to assist hold cameras, tripod, and lunch, we began up the brown, shale-littered valley. Paja brava— actually "wild, difficult grass," its skinny blades sharp as cactus —snatched on the tricky textile of our ski pants. As we climbed, even the hardy paja brava succumbed to the altitude, giving solution to patches of mossy lichens and dime-size yellow blossoms draping the shaded part of the bare rock like brightly stippled eco-friendly throw rugs. A condor wheeled overhead; a viscacha, like a marmot, whistled a caution to his mate and disappeared; in simple terms the wind coursing down the valley from the salt-white snow ridges to both sides folks disturbed the quiet. And so we climbed, attempting to fit the lengthy strides of our escorts, and, failing this, pausing each one 20 steps or in an effort to seize our breath because the altimeter needle crept towards the 17,000-foot mark. within the color now, we a valley the place the sunlight probed just a couple of hours an afternoon, a couple of months of the yr; Blind musician available to buy of Ay a -cucho, Peru, plucks the intestine strings of his altiplano harp, an device brought through Spanish settlers. At Sunday markets in Chincheros {below), villagers barter handicrafts and the meager surplus in their fields. Their constrained money they reserve for synthetic items, medicinal herbs —and for coca, resource of cocaine. Many Indians, just like the guy at left, chunk coca leaves combined with quicklime to bland starvation and fatigue; lime and saliva act to unencumber the numbing narcotic. HELEN AND FRANK SCHREIDER - 7 ,. -•'""" b melted snow dripping from above made icicle-fanged caves of overhanging cliffs. attaining the snow line, we scrambled up a ridge and throughout to the sunlit facet of the twin-peaked mass referred to as Mount Huagra — which means "horns" in Quechua. From it matters the spring that seven name-changes and a few 4,000 miles later enters the Atlantic Ocean because the Amazon. sometime might be, as with the Nile, a monument will mark the resource of the Amazon, and a street will result in it. yet this day the world's mightiest river spawns its first drops amid silent, solitary beauty. Helen and that i bent over the five-inch-wide spring seeping throughout the spongy, tundralike sod. We parted the fairway threads of moss that filtered its circulation, and a small pool shaped — transparent and glistening within the solar. Above us the horns of Mount Huagra appeared shut adequate to the touch. I checked the altimeter; the needle hung a line's width under 17,000 toes. We drank from the resource and joked approximately decreasing the water point of the Amazon. Helen and that i had shared many adventures spanning greater than part 100 international locations, and we'd percentage many extra prior to we reached the Atlantic. yet this used to be the top we had ever been open air an plane, actually the excessive element of our careers. whereas the faces of our partners cracked large with grins, I bussed my spouse firmly at the lips. The Indians name this primary trickle of the Amazon the Huaraco.

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