Alexis de Tocqueville traveled through civilized America; I visited its forests.Am I wrong to detect a hint of competitiveness there?
It may be as well that Chateaubriand did not live to see Tocqueville's "A Fortnight in the Wilds" published. (Nor did Tocqueville: Beaumont published it in 1860.) Early on, Tocqueville remarks on how ill Chateaubriand's (and Cooper's) depiction of the Indians fit those he met. To be fair to Chateaubriand, those that Tocqueville met had suffered another four decades of pressure from the settlers. Still, I can believe that Chateaubriand was as imaginative in his account of persons as in his account of the distances he covered.
In any case, Tocqueville and Beaumont undertook some difficult journeys through sparsely settled country. In "A Fortnight in the Wilds", he tells of a long day of about forty miles from the Flint River to Saginaw, the latter described by his host in Pontiac as "the last inhabited point until you come to the Pacific Ocean." Getting to the Flint River required forest travel as well, and brought them to a house with a bear chained up outside.
"A Fortnight in the Wilds" is printed in Journey to America. The bulk of the book reminds one that Tocqueville did come to American to visit its civilization, not its forest. But there were plenty of forests remaining between the centers of civilization. Unfortunately, Yale University Press has let it go out of print.