8th December 1834

A party with Capt FitzRoy tried to reach the summit of San Pedro, the highest part of the islands. — The woods here have a different aspect from those in the North, there is a much larger proportion of trees with deciduous leaves. — the rock also being primitive Micaceous slate, there is no beach, but the steep sides of the hills dip directly down into the sea; the whole appearance is in consequence much more that of T. del Fuego than of Chiloe. In vain we tried to gain the summit; the wood is so intricate that a person who has never seen it will not be able to imagine such a confused mass of dead & dying trunks. I am sure oftentimes for quarter of an hour our feet never touched the ground, being generally from 10 to 20 feet above it; at other times, like foxes, one after the other we crept on our hands & knees under the rotten trunks. In the lower parts of the hills, noble trees of Winters bark, & the Laurus sassafras (?) with fragrant leaves, & others the names of which I do not know, were matted together by Bamboos or Canes. Here our party were more like fish struggling in a net than any other animal. On the higher parts brushwood took the place of larger trees, with here & there a red Cypress or an Alerce. I was also much interested by finding our old friend the T. del F. Beech, Fagus antarcticus; they were poor stunted little trees, & at an elevation of little less than a thousand feet. This must be, I should apprehend from their appearance, nearly their Northern limit. We ultimately gave up the ascent in despair.

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