goiás interiors IV 4

Water fun – including underneathSeveral hours north of Brasília is one of Brazil’s best run national parks, where I spent an otherworldly long weekend. 

“I have a a theory that many of Brazil’s best kept secrets – such as Worm Farm Inn – are at the end of a long dirt road…. So it was a good omen that São Jorge, in northern Goiás, is over thirty kilometers of washboard dirt roads from Alto Paraíso, tucked under the southern boundary of the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park.”  [To Belém & Back, p.64]

“At the park entrance, between [our guide] Mari’s explanations and a few fading wall exhibits, we learned that the then-named National Park of Tocantins was founded in 1961 with an optimistic six hundred thousand hectares (by none other than President Kubitschek, on a roll after Brasília), which soon fell to a tenth of that size due to encroachments by farmers and ranchers. Such is the usual path in Brazil, where the rule of law – and plenty of attractive, finely-tuned laws there are – makes way for the reality on the ground.” [p.65]

“After the park’s official boundaries steadily reduced in the 1960’s, the remaining stump was renamed Chapada dos Veadeiros, in honor of the deer hunters who roamed freely throughout. Several of the older guides whose paths we crossed were former deer hunters, or veadeiros, themselves: an example of the Brazilian talent for co-opting either the dispossessed or former adversaries in the fullness of time.”  [p.66]  [please hover over images for captions]

“Veadeiros has recently quadrupled in size, back to nearly half of the original proportions laid down by that dreamer, President Kubitschek, eight years before Woodstock. I was encouraged to see an Ibama jeep along the bumpy road back to High Paradise, scanning the park boundaries for brush fires, for it showed they might actually have the resources to patrol and protect a much larger area.”  [p.75]

About Ben

Ben Batchelder has traveled some of the world's most remote roads. Nothing in his background, from a degree in Visual & Environmental Studies at Harvard to an MBA from Wharton, adequately prepared him for the experiences. Yet he persists, for through such journeys life unfolds. Having published four books that map the inner and exterior geographies of meaningful travel, he is a mountain man in Minas Gerais, Brazil who comes down to the sea at Miami Beach, Florida. His second travel yarn, To Belém & Back, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. For more, visit www.benbatchelder.com.

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4 thoughts on “goiás interiors IV

  • Molly Batchelder

    I loved these photos. Your travels and photographs take me comfortably outside of my ‘white cubby hole home.” They truly are beautiful, Ben.

    • Ben

      Thanks so much, Molly, that is darling of you! Particularly in the vast interior of Brazil, taking decent photos is so easy, the people and landscapes so compelling. Several of these shots made it into the small photo essay which accompanies the eBook and accompanied several book launches, both in Brazil and Miami Beach.

    • Ben

      Much appreciated, Tim! Delighted you’re on board, as conversations are always enlivened. I am relieved, though, to see that earthworm cuisine is still a southern Venezuelan specialty, and has not yet jumped the border into Brazil as far as I know…