I have seen many beautiful places in the world but there are many more such places I have not seen nor will I ever see in my lifetime. No one would, even by the stretch of the imagination, think of me as a world traveler. However of all the places I have been, The Badlands of North Dakota are my favorite landscape. The reason for this, I believe, is that as young farm girl the Badlands were my first experience of natures beautiful landscapes beyond our family farm on the flat prairie. While visiting there I had first become aware of the great man who started as a cowboy in the Badlands and went on, in my opinion, to become the greatest president our country has had up to this point.
Theodore Roosevelt was an absolutely a one of a kind human being. He did more living in his life then another nine guys put together. Of all his amazing adventures when asked if he could relive one of them what would he do, his response was that he would relive his cowboy days in North Dakota. That surprises me because his ranching investment was a failure. The great snow of 1864 wiped him out. He lost his entire investment of $25,000.00 which was worth $846,831.33 by today’s value, when most of his cattle froze to death or starved during that one hard winter.
Roosevelt had so many adventures I won’t attempt to name them here. However, recently I have been enthralled again with his exploration of The River of Doubt, a previously untraveled and uncharted river in Brazil, an adventure that nearly cost him his life. A number of years ago I read, “The River of Doubt,” by Candice Millard. l love that book and for some reason longed to read it again now, which I did, throwing me into research mode. After his humiliating election defeat in 1912, Roosevelt set his sights on the first descent of an unmapped, rapids-choked tributary of the Amazon. Together with his son Kermit and Brazil’s most famous explorer, Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon, Roosevelt accomplished a feat where by they changed the map of the western hemisphere forever.
Other than the endless rapids the insects drove the men and animals crazy. Theodore wore netting and gloves when he wrote in his travel journal. Venomous snakes were a problem as was a shortage of food causing near starvation to the expedition members.
Interesting books I have read these past three weeks and a DVD:
The Library of Congress also has a number of original videos of actual footage of this amazing adventure available. Some of which can be viewed on youtube.