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Mines of Morococha- A Yankee's house-Mountain of Puy-puy-Splendid view
Pacha-chacha-Lava stream-Chain bridge at Oroya-Descent into the valley of Tarma-Tarma-American physician-Customs-Dress-Religious observances-Muleteers and mules-General Otero-Farming in the Sierra, Road to Chanchamayo—Perils of travel-Gold mines of Matichacra—View of the Montaña-Fort San Ramon-Indians of Chanchamayo-Cultivation.
We arrived at Morococha at 5 p. m. This is a copper mining hacienda, belonging to some German brothers named PAucker, of Lima who own, also, several silver mines of the neighborhood. The copper and silver of these mountains are intimately mixed; they are both got out by smelting, though this operation, as far as regarded the silver, had been abandoned, and they were now beginning the process of extracting the silver, by the mode of grinding and washing—such as I have described at Párac-after having tried the via humida (or method of washing in barrels, used in Saxony) and failed.
The copper ore is calcined in the open air, in piles consisting of alternate layers of ore and coal, which burn for a month. The ore thus calcined is taken to ovens, built of brick imported from the United States, and sufficient heat is employed to melt the copper, which runs off into moulds below; the scoria being continually drawn off with long iron hoes. The copper in this state is called exe ; it has about fifty per cent. of pure copper, the residue being silver, iron, &c., &c. It is worth fifteen cents the pound in England, where it is refined. There is a mine of fine coal eighteen miles from the hacienda, which yields an abundant supply. It is bituminous, but hard, and of great brilliancy. The hacienda employs about one hundred hands; more are desired, but they cannot be had at this time, because it is harvest, and the Indians are gathering the corn, barley, and beans of the valleys below. A man will get out about one thousand pounds of copper ore in a day. I do not think the mines were at work during our stay; at least, I saw or heard nothing of them. I could not either get statistics concerning the yield of these mines or the cost of working them, and I thought that I noticed some reserve upon this subject. The director told me that the silver ore of this region was very rich, and spoke of specimens that yielded one thousand, and even fifteen hundred, marks to the caxon.
The mining business of the hacienda is conducted by a director, an intelligent and gentlemanly young German, named Richard Von Durfeldt; and its fiscal affairs and general business, by an administrator, a fine-looking young Spaniard, Don Jose Fco. de Lizarralde, whose kindly courtesy we shall long remember. The engineer, or machinist, is my friend and schoolmate Shepherd, who seemed to be a "Jack of all trades”-blacksmith, carpenter, watch-maker, and doctor. His room was quite a curiosity, and bespoke plainly enough the Ameri
I never saw so many different things gathered together in so small a place : shelves of fine standard books; a dispensary for physic; all manner of tools, from the sledge-hammer and the whip-saw to the delicate instruments of the watch-maker; parts of watches lying under bell-glasses ; engravings hanging around the walls, with a great chart, setting forth directions for the treatment of all manner of diseases and accidents; horse furniture, saddle-bags, boots, shoes, and every variety of garment, from the heavy woollen poncho of the man to the more delicate cotton petticoat of the woman; for my friend has a pretty young Sierra wife, who took great pleasure in talking to me about the home and relations of my “paisano.” Shepherd's warm room and bed, with plenty of covering, was a princely luxury in that cold climate. These things are comparative, and I had got slept under a roof but twice since I left Lima. An old Englishman from the Isle of Guernsey, named Grant, who seemed to be a sort of factotum, and knew and did everything, and who was unwearied in his kindness and attention to us, made up the sum of our pleasant acquaintances at Morococha. We had beef and mutton for dinner, with good butter and cheese; vegetables scarce; Gibbon not well; Richards very sick, and under treatment from Shepherd.
June 3.—We all went to see the Mountain of Puy-puy, said to be higher than Chimborazo. The place of view is about three miles from Morococha. We passed the openings of a copper and silver mine, and rode along a boggy country, where turf is cut for fuel. We saw many snipes, ducks, and other aquatic birds. This upset all my preconceived notions; I had no idea that I should see, at fifteen thousand feet above the level of the sea, anything that would remind me of duck-shooting in the marshes oi' the Rappahannock. To see the mountain, it was necessary to cross a range of hills, about seven or eight hundred feet in height. The road went up diagonally, but the ascent was the most toilsome operation I had ever undertaken. We were obliged to dismount, when about three-fourths of the way up, and lead the mules ; the path was muddy and slippery, and we had to stop to blow at every
half-dozen steps. Gibbon declared that this was the only occasion in which he had ever found the big spurs of the country of any service;
; for when he slipped and fell, as we all frequently did, he said that he should inevitably have gone to the bottom had he not dug his spurs into the soil, and so held on. I think that I suffered more than
of the party. On arriving at the top, I was fairly exhausted ; I thought my heart would break from my breast with its violent agitation, and I felt, for the first time, how painful it was
“To breathe The difficult air of the iced mountain's top." I soon recovered, however, and was amply repaid by the splendor of the view. The lofty cone-shaped mountain, clad in its brilliant mantle from the top even to the cylindrical base upon which it rested, rose in solitary majesty from the plain beneath us; and when the sunlight, bursting from the clouds, rested upon its summit, it was beautiful, indeed. Gibbon almost froze taking a sketch of it; and the rest of us tired ourselves nearly to death endeavoring to get a shot at a herd of shy vicuñas that were seen feeding among the distant rocks. We had a fatiguing ride, and enjoyed a late dinner and a good night's rest.
June 4.-We took leave of our hospitable friends, (whom I could no longer intrude our large party upon,) and started at meridian, leaving Richards too sick to travel. We rode down the “ Valley of the Lakes " in about an E. N. E. direction, visiting the silver mining hacienda of Tuctu as we passed, which belongs to the establishment of Morococha. We travelled over a heavy rolling country; the southern sides of the hills clothed with verdure, and affording tolerable pasture; the northern sides bare and rocky-no trees or bushes. About nine miles from Morococha, we crossed a range of hills to the right, and entered the village of Pachachaca.
This is situated in a valley that comes down from Yauli. The stream of the Valley of the Lakes at this place joins with the larger and very serpentine stream of the Yauli valley. This valley has a flat and apparently level floor of half a mile in width, affording a carriage-road of two or three miles in length. There is a hacienda for smelting silver here; but having no letters, and but little time, (for the arriero begins very justly to complain that we are delaying him an unreasonable time upon the road,) I did not visit it.
Pachachaca is a small village of two hundred inhabitants. The people seem more industrious than those of the villages on the other side. There are fine crops of barley here, and we saw cabbages, onions, peaches, and eggs, in the shops. We were greater objects of curiosity
in this place than we had been before. The people, I believe, took us for peddlers, and the woman from whom we got our supper and breakfast seemed offended because we would not sell her some candles, and importuned Gibbon for the sale of his straw hat. The men wore short woollen trousers, buttoned at the knee, together with, generally, two pair of long woollen stockings. The woollen articles of clothing are woven in this neighborhood, except the ponchos, which come from Tarma. Printed cottons from Lima sell for eighteen and three-quarter cents the vara, (33 inches;) a cup and saucer of the commonest ware are held at thirty-seven and a half cents, but purchasers are few; sewingcotton, a dollar the pound. Shoes come from Jauxa; also candles and potatoes. Fuel is the “taquia,” or dried cattle manure. Gibbon and I had occasion afterwards to laugh at our fastidiousness in objecting to a mutton-chop broiled upon a coal of cow-dung.
June 5.—We travelled down the valley about east. At about one and a half mile we passed a very curious-looking place, where a small stream came out of a valley to the northward and westward, and spread itself over a flat table-rock, soft and calcareous. It poured over this rock in a sort of horse-shoe cataract, and then spread over an apparently convex surface of this same soft rock, about two hundred and fifty yards wide, crossing the valley down which we were travelling. This rock sounded hollow under the feet of the mules, and I feared we should break through at every instant. I am confident it was but a thin crust; and, indeed, after crossing it, we observed a clear stream of water issuing from beneath it, and flowing into the road on the farther side. We saw another such place a little lower down, only the stream tumbled, in a variety of colored streaks, principally white, like salt, over the metallic-looking rock, into the rivulet below. I presume there must have been some volcano near here, and that this rock is lava, for it had all the appearance of having once been liquid.
The valley about two miles from Pachachaca is cut across by rocky hills. Here we turned to the northward and eastward. The country at first offered some pasturage, but became more barren as we advanced, only showing, now and then, some patches of barley. We travelled till noon on the left bank of the Yauli stream, when we crossed it by a natural bridge, at a little village of a few huts, called Saco. At halfpast two, after a ride over a stony and dusty plain, bordered on each side by rocky mountains, we arrived at the bridge of Oroya. This is a chain suspension bridge, of about fifty yards in length, and two and a half in breadth, flung over the river of Jauxa, which is a tributary of the Ucayali. The Yauli stream, into which emptied the stream from
the lakes at Morococha, joins this river here, and this is the connexion that I spoke of between those lakes, near the very summit of the Andes and the Atlantic ocean.
The bridge consisted of four chains, of about a quarter of an inch diameter, stretched horizontally across the river from strong stone-work on each side. These are interlaced with thongs of hide; sticks of about one and a half inch in diameter are laid across them and lashed down, forming a floor. Two other chains are stretched across about four feet above these, and connected with them by thongs of hide; these serve for balustrades, and would prevent a mule from jumping off. The bridge was about fifty feet above the water when we passed. It seems very light, and rocks and sways under the motion of the mules in crossing it. The heavy cargoes are taken off and carried over on the shoulders of the bridge-keeper and his assistants. The toll is twelve and a half cents the mule; and the same, the
The bridge-ward seemed astonished and somewhat annoyed when I told him that one of the cargoes which he left on the mule was the heaviest I had, being a box filled with bags of shot, balls, and powder, together with the specimens of ore and rocks we had collected.
The river at this place turns from its southern course and runs to the eastward, by the village of Oroya, where we camped. This village contains about one hundred inhabitants, though we saw only five or six men; most of the male inhabitants being away to the harvest on the plains above. The women seemed nearly all to be employed in spinning wool; holding the bundle of wool in the left hand and spinning it out by a hanging broach. Very few of them spoke Spanish, but a currupt Quichua, or language of the Incas. We bought barley straw for the mules, and got a beef chupe, with eggs and roasted potatoes, for ourselves. We saw some small trees within the deserted enclosures where houses had been, bearing a very fragrant flower, something resembling the heliotrope, but much larger, and tinged with a reddish color. We also saw flocks of sheep, but got no mutton for dinner.
June 6.—Got under way at 9 a. m., steering N. N. E., and making a considerable ascent for about two miles. We then rode over a plain, with rolling hills on each side, covered with a short grass, giving pasturage to large flocks of sheep and some cows. The road then rose again, taking our column of mercury in the barometer out of sight, till half.past eleven, when we stood at the head of a ravine leading down to the valley of Tarma. The height of this spot above the level of the sea was eleven thousand two hundred and seventy feet. We rode down this ravine, north, for three-quarters of an hour, and at an angle to the