Two of the most celebrated men from their respective nations, President Theodore Roosevelt and legendary Brazilian explorer Cândido Rondon set out with twenty other adventurers in 1914 for over eight weeks in one of the most remote places on earth. The ill-equipped expedition navigated deadly rapids and mountainous terrain with crude dugout canoes, and fought with hunger and exhaustion. What was anticipated to be a relatively tranquil journey turned out to be a brutal test of courage and character. Before it was over, one member of the expedition had drowned and another had committed murder. Roosevelt would badly injure his leg and beg to be left behind to die. More than a dramatic adventure story, Into the Amazon by American Experience shines a light on two of the western hemisphere’s most formidable men, and the culture and politics of their two formidable nations.
Here in Boston, we have our own iconic river – The Charles. And while most of us know it as a nice place to take a Sunday stroll, it wasn’t always that way. While it’s history and discovery might not have been as dramatic as Roosevelt’s tour of the Amazon, it was not without it’s own peril. With the help of the Charles River Watershed Association, we took a trip downriver to learn just how this river came to be the center of our city.
And what’s more, we have our own small population of modern-day explorers. While that word – explorer – sounds like an archaic word in our digital age, we soon learned it’s anything but. As we met and talked with the four members of the New England Chapter of the Explorer’s Club – Tim Ahern, Lucia deLeiris, Greg Deyermenjian and Lawrence Millman - we soon found our preconceptions of exploration going out the window. Here’s a little something of what we learned:
The Mentality of Exploring
What’s Left to Explore
The Beauty of Exploration
American Experience’s Into the Amazon premiered January 9th! Watch now for a limited time on WGBH.org.