The equator crosses the summit of the Nevado de Cayambe and the valley of Quito, in the village of San Antonio de Lulumbamba. Nowhere in the Cordillera of the Andes are there more colossal mountains heaped together than on the east and west of this vast basin of the province of Quito, one degree and a half south, and a quarter of a degree north of the equator.

Snow often falls on them, but it remains only a few hours; for we must not confound, as geographers often do, the words paramo and puna with that of nevado, in Peruvian ritticapa, a mountain which enters into the limits of perpetual snow.

This depression, or absence of snow, extends in the same interval, over all the lateral chains; while, on the south of the Nevado de Huaylillas, it always happens that when one chain is very low, the summits of the other exceed the height of 2460 toises.

The interior table-land of Mexico is covered with the same species of coniferous plants; at least the specimens brought by M. Bonpland and myself from Acaguisotla, Nevado de Toluca and Cofre de Perote do not appear to differ specifically from the Pinus occidentalis of the West India Islands described by Schwartz.

Afterwards they passed through the land of Guamachucho, Adalmach, Guaiglia, Puerto Nevado, and Capo Tombo, and they hear that in Tarma many Indian warriors are waiting to attack them, on account of which they take Calichuchima prisoner, and then proceed intrepidly on their journey to Cachamarca, where they find much gold.

His first discovery was of a land of which the fertile and verdant aspect seems to have charmed him. This was Canada. He saw there a great river bearing ice along with it on its course the St. Lawrence which some of his companions mistook for an arm of the sea, and to which he gave the name of Rio Nevado.

These notions are highly interesting to geology and the geography of plants; because, in countries where no height has been measured, we may form an exact idea of the lowest height to which the Cordilleras rise, on looking into the map for the words paramo and nevado.

He took off his broad-brimmed hat and hung it on a nail, tied a red cotton handkerchief round his head, rolled himself up in his serape, lay down on the flags in the courtyard outside our door, and was asleep in an instant. We retired to our planks inside and followed his example. Our road passed near the Nevado de Toluca, an extinct snow-covered volcano, nearly 15,000 feet above the sea.

Having left this village, he came in three days to the Puerto de Nevado, and a morning's march brought him within a day's journey of Guaiglia; and the governor commanded a captain of his, who was the Marshal D. Diego de Almagro, to go with troops and take a bridge two leagues from Guaiglia, which bridge was built in a manner that will soon be related.

In the enumeration of the different systems of mountains, I place this group before the littoral chain of Venezuela, though the latter, being a northern prolongation of the Cordillera of Cundinamarca, is immediately linked with the chain of the Andes. The Sierra Nevado of Santa Marta is encompassed within two divergent branches of the Andes, that of Bogota, and that of the isthmus of Panama.