This expedition has been full of serendipitous moments. Many times, people and landmarks have appeared out of nowhere, just went we needed them, to help guide us further along our path. In Quito, Rodrigo’s guide friend, Adriana, came to our hotel room early one morning, with something to show us – a 100-year-old diary of a G&Q railroad worker from Australia that she’d been given by someone she guided. The diary mentioned Major John Harman, Edward Morely, Dr. Davis and other individuals that were in the employ of the G&Q during the construction years of the early 1900s.
It was awesome to hold H.G. Carpenter’s hand-written diary in our hands and read about his days of dysentery and work assignments, frustrations and social events. He came to Ecuador on December 12, 1901 with an Australian railroad crew, but was sick with dysentery much of the time until he departed in September of 1902.
Friday, 15th – Dr. Crow came up to see me today. He says that he will be able to cure me in a few days, but “I hae mi doots.”
Wednesday 28th – I was very bad last night and Robinson telegraphed for the Doctor. The Chinaman cook gave me some opium this morning, which relieved me a lot, but made me feel as if I was drunk. It is the first time I have ever taken opium.
Unfortunately, Carpenter had arrived just when floods and landslides had destroyed a large part of the route up the Chimbo River, the JP McDonald company was failing, and the Major was rerouting up the Chanchan River towards the Devil’s Nose instead.
Wednesday, 4th – Left Huigra at 9 o’clock this morning on the Passenger Train. I think if is the most wonderful ride I ever had in a train. It was something wonderful to see the train take the 29° curves. Arrived in Victoria about 9:30 a.m. Easton was sick in bed when I arrived. I immediately reported to Mr. Bennett who seemed very pleased to see me. Bowlby came down with me. He is going to leave the company and go in the transportation business… From what I hear, I do not expect to leave the G & Q.
Friday, 6th – I went over to see the Major this morning and asked him if it was the Company’s intention to keep me in their employ. He told me as they were closing down the route that he did not have any place for me. I think that I will go straight to San Francisco.
Carpenter left Ecuador, summing up his experience with a whiskey and soda, and commenting on his dysentery, “I’ve sure had some hell in the past year.”