Werner Herzog really did pull a boat over a mountain, for his film Fitzcarraldo. He and his crew, including native Amazonia Indians, hauled a 320 ton vintage steamship up and over a steep hill between two tributaries of the Amazon, an absolutely insane endeavor. Herzog has said he was inspired in part by the transport and erection of standing stones, single menhirs and in henges, by ancient peoples from the Mesolithic to the Bronze Age.
Here is the last paragraph of Conquest of the Useless, the transcription of the journal he kept while making Fitzcarraldo:
I did not even feel my bleeding foot. The ship meant nothing to me–it held no more value than some old broken beer bottle in the mud, than any steel cable whipping around itself on the ground. There was no pain, no joy, no excitement, no relief, no happiness, no sound, not even a deep breath. All I grasped was a profound uselessness, or, to be more precise, I had merely penetrated deeper into its mysterious realm. I saw the ship, returned to its element, right itself with a weary sigh. Today, on Wednesday, the 14th November 1981, shortly after twelve noon, we got the ship from the Rio Camisea over a mountain into the Rio Urubamba. All that is to be recorded is this: I took part.