21st November 1833

Montevideo to the River Uruguay
Started at sun rise, & rode slowly during the whole day. The geological nature of the country is here different from the rest of the province, & closely resembles that of the Pampas. From this cause we here have immense beds of the thistle, as well as the cardoon: the whole country indeed may be called one great bed. The two sorts grow separate, each plant in company with its own kind. The cardoon is as high as a horses back, but the Pampas thistle often higher than the crown of the head of the rider. To leave the road for a yard is out of the question, & the road itself is partly, & in some cases entirely, closed. Pasture of course there is none; if cattle or horses once enter the bed they are for the time, completely lost. For this reason, it is very hazardous to attempt to drive cattle at this season of the year, for when jaded enough to face the prickles, they rush amongst the thistles & are seen no more. From the same cause there are but few Estancias, & these near damp vallies where the thistle will not grow. As night came on before we could arrive at the house of an Englishman for whom I had a letter of introduction we slept at a Rancho.

Syms Covington’s Journal:
I had many excursions in the camp. Here I collected many birds etc. AS there is no wood WE WERE OBLIGED TO burn dried thistles. THESE THISTLES grow high, even to the height of a man on horse back.

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