Friday, November 30, 2007

The way it used to be

I don't remember the year this picture was taken, but I assure you that it was long before the word "blog" appeared on the scene. It was also long before mechanized agriculture made its debut in this region. Subsistence farmers raised their families on what they could plant and sell via the use of an ax, machete and sweat of the brow. The road into Bosque Santa Lucia wasn't much more than a trail, as you can see in the image. Today the road has been widened to accommodate logging trucks, transportation of soybeans and other traffic. But some things never change, for example the quality of road maintenance. It's still easy to get get stuck in the mud, as it was back then. Remember all those images of dust I've been showing over the last few days? Well, today it rained and all that stuff turned into the slickest mud ever invented. I got to the Bosque without a lot of problems. The old bus bringing in two natural history groups from the Spirit of Adventure cruise ship got in with some slipping and sliding on the road, but it got the passengers in for their tour. The light rain continued and the mud got thicker ... and there are some low grade ascents on the way back to Br-163, alias Santarem-Cuiaba Highway. Jasper, the owner and driver of the bus, has years of experience driving the Santarem/Belterra route and he did his magic of getting the bus out. I came behind about 30 minutes later and there was no way to find traction between the tires and the muddy clay road. Try as I might, there was no way out. Finally I "tucked my tail between my legs" and managed to get back to the Bosque reception center, where I left the car. Cleper, one of the woodsmen for today's tour, and I walked back to the highway, where I took a bus back to Santarem. Early tomorrow morning, I'll go back to see if the mud might be more compacted for getting the car back to town for a bath.

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