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The fique plant, Fourcroya macrophylla, is cultivated in the higher Andes for its fiber, which is used for making cordage, sandals, coarse sacking, packsaddles, and other articles of everyday use. In the background may be seen the densely wooded slopes of the rain-forest zone above Fusagasugá.

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In this small hostelry, high up among the clouds, the author spent an uncomfortable night while searching for the giant blackberry. Marcos and Hernando stand beneath the thatched eaves. The rocky trail to Fusagasugá passes in the foreground.

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The species of passion vine (Passiflora quadrangularis) which trails over the wall is known as tumbo and badea in the northern Andes. Its fruits, sometimes as large as muskmelons, contain a subacid juice of pleasant flavor.

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The author took a brief respite from the arduous labors of plant-collecting to participate in a día de campo, or picnic, at Cajicá (see text, page 146). The Colombian picnic is much like the North American and is numbered among the favorite diversions of the Bogotanos.

plantation on the slopes of the Andes, at an altitude of 4,000 feet-an elevation which means, in this latitude, that the air is always soft and balmy, devoid of that harsh chill which characterizes the climate of Bogotá.

With the arrival of the railway, a commodious hotel was erected at this spot, and all trains stop here for breakfast, the Latin American equivalent of our luncheon.

Occasionally a timid spirit, when ascending from the hot Magdalena Valley to the plateau of Bogotá, stops here for a day or two, in order to make less abrupt the transition from one climate to another. A young Chilean who came up with me from the coast had orders to don heavy underwear upon reaching this point, to stop two days, and to cover his mouth with a muffler after dark, on penalty of exposing himself to imminent danger of pneumonia if he failed to take these precautions.

It was always hard for me to pass Esperanza, even though I did not have the Chilean's instructions as an excuse for

stopping there. It is an idyllic spot; to one side there are broad vistas down onto the vast valley of the Magdalena; to the other the high Andes rear their rugged heads into the clouds. And there is a swimming pool into which tumbles a small stream of crystal-clear water, while the food which is served at the hotel would whet even the most jaded appetite.

But we were not stopping this time. We pushed ahead to Girardot, which we reached that evening, and on the morrow we boarded one of the comfortable little steamers which ply the upper Magdalena. Having the current behind us, we made the journey to Beltrán in a day. Here we changed to the train, which brought us to Honda in a few hours' time.


We established ourselves in the small but comfortable hotel, and set about purchasing a burro-one which was not too expensive, but which would at the same time carry our bedding and supplies over the long trail which was before us.

Burros there were in abundance, but

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That the Spanish conquerors built well is evidenced by many of their residences which are still in use. This is the type of home built in the highlands of Colombia during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The coat of arms above the door indicates that it originally belonged to a nobleman.

few of them were for sale. We tramped through the streets, approaching the driver of every animal and the owner of each one we saw tethered in a dooryard. Finally an old fellow, enticed by the lure of immediate profit, yielded to our spot cash offer of 25 pesos. We started toward his home, where he was to take off the packsaddle which our future companion was then carrying and turn him over to us.

Thompson counted out the money, while I undertook to ascertain something of the burro's habits and requirements.

"What shall we feed him?" I asked. "Just let him pick up what he can find round about; only see that he gets plenty of water. The important part is the water, lots of water,' was the reply.

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Thinking he might fare badly on the trail if we adhered strictly to this regimen, I ventured to inquire if it would do any actual harm for the burro to eat corn.

"Oh, he doesn't like corn," answered the old fellow; "in fact, he won't touch it."

With Thompson in the lead, we set forth upon our journey. The trail was dry and rocky, the surrounding country likewise; and it was decidedly warm. Nevertheless, we stuck to it persistently, stopping every quarter of an hour to readjust the pack, which we had not yet learned to rope in place with that degree of efficiency which characterizes the Andean mule-driver.

Darkness had already overtaken us when we reached the little tavern of Tocuy. Gabriel, the burro, was turned. loose in the corral, while we prepared for ourselves a supper of bacon and eggs. Then, with gracious permission, we swung our hammocks under the broad eaves of the building and turned in to sleep.


From the peaceful depths of slumber I was aroused by the sweet notes of a guitar and the plaintive tones of a voice singing a tale of unrequited love. I opened my eyes. The whole valley was flooded with moonlight and the stars shone brightly overhead. The air was still, with that heavy stillness known only to the tropic night. I listened.

Once more the plaintive notes broke the silence. It was a wandering troubadour desiring a night's lodging and singing to

be admitted to the tavern. It was late and the occupants were not to be aroused by ordinary means.

Finally I heard the heavy bolt shoot back and the lumbering door creak open on its hinges. The troubadour passed in and I was left to reflect upon the romance of this simple touch-a bit of medieval Spain which has persisted in this remote corner of the Andes and which I could not but hope might yet last for other centuries.


At daybreak we were up and upon the trail. The ascent grew steep and our throats dry, as we kept on and on without finding a spring or small stream from which we could drink. At last we reached Las Cruces, a tavern on the mountain side. Here we stopped to enjoy the luxury of Bogotá beer and a bowl of sancocho. As we were finishing our meal we were approached by a tall youth in ragged garments, who, drawing himself up in stately dignity, bowed as he addressed us:

"Sirs, I have need of your attention for a moment. You will, I know, pardon my boldness in thus addressing you, but I am going to Bogotá to have an operation on my leg and I am in need of funds. Far be it from me to ask for alms; but I have here some poetry-second-class poetry, it is true-which I am selling to defray the expenses of my journey. However, I am not going to ask you to buy it. I am going to make you a present of these verses, and you can tender me whatever the generosity of your nature suggests."

What beggar in the United States could have commanded the elegant phraseology of this ragged native of the Andes? And as I thus reflected I read the verses and saw that we had been grossly defrauded of our ten cents; for they were not second class, as he had stated, nor even third, nor yet fourth. They were execrable-a thoroughly bad investment!


It was during this same day that we began to appreciate the handicap under which we were traveling. It had never occurred to us when we set out that we would be social outcasts because we were

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