Teddy Roosevelt was not afraid to tempt death. He hiked the Matterhorn during his honeymoon. He arrested outlaws on the Dakota Frontier. He hunted rhinos in Africa.
But his most dangerous journey came after his failure in 1912 to retake the presidency as a third-party candidate on the Bull Moose ticket. He choose to shake off the blues in an extremely dangerous journey to South America. Roosevelt did not merely want a repeat of his African safari: a well-provisioned hunt to a foreign land that was little more than an exotic form of sight seeing. Roosevelt wanted to join the ranks of explorers who were pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge: the arctic explorers discovering the Northwest passage or the African trekkers locating the source of the Nile River. His guide, the Brazilian explorer Col. Candido Rondon, suggested they survey the River of Doubt, an uncharted capillary of the Amazon that ran through treacherous terrain of the rainforest.
Many told him the journey would end in his death. Ignoring the warnings of field naturalists with experience in the Amazon, Roosevelt said, “If it is necessary for me to leave my bones in South America, I am quite ready to do so.”
Learn in this episode how he almost did.
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