The Martyrs - Northbound from Argentina through Brazil - CycleBlaze

January 24, 2011

The Martyrs

As I lay in my tent tired on Sunday night, I thought perhaps I could remain here in Las Plumas tomorrow. The motive besides the tiredness of limbs, after covering what is normally two average touring days in one across tough terrain which thankfully the wind didn't blow, or it would've been dreadful and I wouldn't have gotten this far, was a tragedy that happen near here, and a reason to go visit a place of historic interest.

I have in my procession along with my reading books and diary a book I bough when I visited Clery Evans in Trevelin back shortly after I came to South America this time. She is the Author, but it is both her and her father Milton, now diciest, which compiled the story, an autobiography of her Grandfather, John Daniel Evans, that arrived as a child with his parents from Wales on the ship, Mimosa.

The story follows the life from childhood in meager poverty during the first years in the colony, to his death in 1942, by then an accomplished elderly gentleman farmer. But the nearby place of interest involves the story of what happened on Saturday the 4th of March 1884, when the tragic event took place and the supposed reason of a stopover day.

To summarize, John Daniel Evans and three compatriots had left the settled lower Chubut valley on an expedition that would be in many months in November of the previous year into the unsettled interior along the river, their goal the Andes. There provisions however were insufficient and finished in January, so they began to return to the Chubut valley, forced to hunt for substance on the way.

During this time, the Argentine army were involved in a vicious campaign to rid Patagonia once and for all of it's nomadic inhabitants. And so the Indians which had hitherto lived in harmony with the Welsh, now saw Evans group as enemy. They were being pursued for days, eventually the Indians caught them up and cornered them in a place on top of a barranco. The only escape was down the steep slope which Evans on his horse, which he called Malacara, somehow did, urging it over the edge it jumped down, miraculously landing on all-fours in the screed below unscathed. Evans continued his journey wearily, arriving at the first house in the settled Chubut valley in the middle of the following week suffering from the heat and hunger where he told of what happened.

A relieve party was organise, which included Evans when he'd recovered, and they returned to the spot where they found the sad remains of the three compatriots terribly mutilated. They buried the bodies then returned and some years later a memorial was erected. The place is now called Las Tumbas, or the tombs, and somewhere nearby is the barranco where the Horse jumped. It was here I was thinking of visiting on a stopover day in Las Plumas. But it's some 15km off the main road on a dusty track and when morning came, the smooth paved road West somehow seemed more attractive. So West I went.

Here rests the remains of my Horse, Malacara. The gravel is in Clery Evans garden in Trevelin.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 105 km (65 miles)
Total: 9,421 km (5,850 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 0
Comment on this entry Comment 0