National Geographic : 1900 Jun
THE ROAD TO BOLIVIA degrees in the temperature of the shade and the sunshine. Water will freeze in the shade, while in the sunshine twenty feet away men may be working in their shirt-sleeves. The natives seem to be entirely inured to cold, and go about bare footed and barelegged over the ice and stones, and have a way of heaping blankets on their heads and wrapping up their faces to keep the pure air out of their throats and nostrils. The women who herd the flocks are often out on the moun tains for weeks at a time without a shelter or anything to eat except parched corn, strips of dried meat, and cocoa leaves, which are the most powerful of nerve stimulants. From Crucero Alto, the highest town in the world, the southern rail road of Peru drops into the Lagu nillas, the lake region of the Cordil lera, where, 14,250 feet above the sea, is a group of large lakes of very cold pure water, without inlet or outlet, that receive the drainage of a large area and conceal it somewhere, but there is no visible means of its escape. A fringe of ice forms around the edges of the lake every night the year round. A curious phenomenon about the lakes is that they keep the same level all the time, regardless of the dry and rainy seasons. No amount of rain will make any difference in THE MOST INFLUENTIAL CITIZEN OF AREQUIPA their depth, which, however, in the center is unknown; and this adds to the awe and mystery with which they are regarded by the Indians. There are no boats upon the lakes except a few small balsas or rafts made of bundles of straw, which keep very close to the shore for fear of being drawn into whirl pools that are said to exist in the center. There is some foundation for this fear, for only two or three years ago a balsa containing five men disappeared in the darkness and was never heard of again.