Through the Grand Canyon from Wyoming to Mexico
E. L. Kolb

Part 2 out of 5

and on our breakfast foods after that. It gradually dried out, and our
emptied cups would contain a sediment of mud in the bottom.

Such was our morning routine, although it was not often that
everything was taken from the boats, and it only happened in this case
because we made a portage the night before.

Our work was all undone an hour later, when we came to the sharp
descent known as Hell's Half Mile, A section of a cliff had fallen
from above, and was shattered into a hundred fragments, large and
small; gigantic rocks were scattered on both shores and through the
river bed, not an orderly array of rocks such as that found at Ashley
Falls, but a riotous mass, looking as though they had been hurled from
the sky above. The stripped trunk of an eight-foot tree, with roots
extending over the river, had been deposited by a recent flood on top
of the principal barrier. All this was found about fifty yards below
the beginning of the most violent descent in Lodore Canyon. It would
have been difficult enough without this last complication; the barrier
seemed next to insurmountable, tired and handicapped with heavy boats
as we were.

With a weary sigh we dropped our boats to the head of the rapid and
prepared to make the portage. Our previous work was as nothing to
this. Rounded limestone boulders, hard as flint and covered with a
thin slime of mud from the recent rise, caused us to slip and fall
many times. Then we dragged ourselves and loads up the sloping walls.
They were cut with gullies from the recent rains; low scraggy cedars
caught at our loads, or tore our clothes, as we staggered along; the
muddy earth stuck to our shoes, or caused our feet to slip from under
us as we climbed, first two or three hundred feet above the water,
then close to the river's edge. Three-fourths of a mile of such work
brought us a level place below the rapid. It took nine loads to empty
one boat.

Darkness came on before our boats were emptied, so they were securely
tied in quiet water at the head of the rapid, and left for the

The next day found Emery and me at work on the boats, while Jimmy was
stationed on the shore with the motion-picture camera. This wild
scene, with its score of shooting currents, was too good a view to
miss. With life-preservers inflated and adjusted, Emery sat in the
boat at the oars, pulling against the current, lessening the velocity
with which the boat was carried down toward the main barrier, while I
followed on the shore, holding a rope, and dropped him down, a little
at a time, until the water became too rough and the rocks too
numerous. All directions were given with signals; the human voice was
of little avail in the turmoil. We kept the boats in the water as long
as it was safe to do so, for it greatly lessened the hard work of a
portage. With one end of the boat floating on the water, an ordinary
lift would take the other end over a rock with insufficient water
above it to float the boat. Then the boat was balanced on the rock,
the opposite end was lifted, she was shoved forward and dropped in the
water again and another threatening rock was passed. Foot by foot we
fought our way, now on the shore, now waist deep in the water below
some protecting boulder, threatened every moment by the whirling water
that struggled to drag us into the torrent. The sand and water
collecting in our clothes weighted us down; the chill of standing in
the cold water numbed our limbs. Finally the barrier was reached and
the boats were run out close to the end, and tied in a quiet pool,
while we devised some method of getting them past or over this

Directly underneath and beyond the roots of the tree were large
rounded boulders, covered with slippery mud. Past this barrier the
full force of the water raced, to hurl itself and divide its current
against another rock. It was useless to try to take a boat around the
end of the rock. The boat's sides, three-eighths of an inch thick,
would be crushed like a cardboard box. If lifted into the V-shaped
groove, the weight of the boats would wedge them and crush their
sides. Fortunately an upright log was found tightly wedged between
these boulders. A strong limb, with one end resting on a rock
opposite, was nailed to this log; a triangle of stout sticks, with the
point down, was placed opposite this first limb, on the same level,
and was fastened to the upright log with still another piece; and
another difficulty was overcome.

With a short rope fastened to the iron bar or hand-hold on the stern,
this end was lifted on to the cross-piece, the bow sticking into the
water at a sharp angle. The short rope was tied to the stump, so we
would not lose that we had gained. The longer rope from the bow was
thrown over the roots of the tree above, then we both pulled on the
rope, until finally the bow was on a level with the stern. She was
pulled forward, the ropes were loosened and the boat rested on the
cross-pieces. The motion-picture camera was transferred so as to
command a view of the lower side of the barrier, then the boat was
carefully tilted, and slid forward, a little at a time, until she
finally gained headway, nearly jerking the rope from our hands, and
shot into the pool below.

We enjoyed the wildest ride we had experienced up to this time in
running the lower end of this rapid. The balance of the day was spent
in the same camp below the rapid. Our tent was put up in a group of
box elder trees,--the first trees of this species we had seen. Red
cedar trees dotted the rocky slopes, while the larger pines became
scarce at the river's edge, and gathered near the top of the canyon's
walls. The dark red rocks near the bottom were covered with a light
blue-tinted stratum of limestone, similar to the fallen rocks found in
the rapid above. In one land-slide, evidently struck with some rolling
rock, lay the body of a small deer. We saw many mountain sheep tracks,
but failed to see the sheep. Many dead fish, their gills filled with
the slimy mud from the recent rise, floated past us, or lay half
buried in the mud. These things were noticed as we went about our
duties, for we were too weary to do any exploring.

The next morning, Monday, October the 2d saw us making arrangements
for the final run that would take us out of Lodore Canyon. No doubt it
was a beautiful and a wonderful place, but none of us seemed sorry to
leave it behind. For ten days we had not had a single day entirely
free from rain, and instead of having a chance to run rapids, it
seemed as if we had spent an entire week in carrying our loads, or in
lining our boats through the canyon. The canyon walls lost much of
their precipitous character as we neared the end of the canyon.

A short run took us over the few rapids that remained, and at a turn
ahead we saw a 300-foot ridge, brilliantly tinted in many
colours,--light and golden yellows, orange and red, purple and
lavender,--and composed of numberless wafer-like layers of rock,
uptilted, so that the broken ends looked like the spines of a gigantic
fish's back. A sharp turn to the left soon brought us to the end of
this ridge, close to the bottom of a smooth, sheer wall. Across a
wide, level point of sand we could see a large stream, the Yampa
River, flowing from the East to join its waters with those of the
Green. This was the end of Lodore Canyon.



The Yampa, or Bear River, was a welcome sight to us in spite of its
disagreeable whitish yellow, clay colour; quite different from the red
water of the Green River. The new stream meant more water in the
channel, something we needed badly, as our past tribulations showed.
The recent rise on the Green had subsided a little, but we now had a
much higher stage than when we entered Lodore. Quite likely the new
conditions gave us six feet of water above the low water on which we
had been travelling. Would it increase or diminish our dangers? We
were willing, Emery and I, even anxious, to risk our chances on the
higher water.

Directly opposite the Yampa, the right shore of the Green went up
sheer about 700 feet high, indeed it seemed to overhang a trifle. This
had been named Echo Cliffs by Powell's party. The cliffs gave a
remarkable echo, repeating seven words plainly when shouted from the
edge of the Yampa a hundred yards away, and would doubtless repeat
more if shouted from the farther shore of the Yampa. Echo Cliffs, we
found, were in the form of a peninsula and terminated just below this
point where we stood, the river doubling back on the other side of the
cliff. On the left side of the river, the walls fell back, leaving a
flat, level space of about twenty-five acres. Here was a little ranch
of which Mrs. Chew had told us. The Chew ranch lay back from the river
on top of the cliffs. We found no one at home here at this first
ranch, but there was evidence of recent habitation. There were a few
peach trees, and a small garden, while beyond this were two
buildings,--little shacks in a dilapidated condition. The doors were
off their hinges and leaned against the building, a few logs being
placed against the doors. Past the dooryard, coming out of a small
canyon above the ranch, ran a little brook; up this canyon was a
trail, the outlet to the ranch above. We camped near the mouth of the

It had been agreed upon the night before, that we should endeavour to
make arrangements to have Jimmy taken out on horseback over the
mountains. Before looking for the ranch, however, we asked him if he
did not wish to reconsider his decision to leave here. We pointed out
that Jensen, Utah, was only fifty miles away, half that distance being
in quiet water, and that the worst canyon was behind us. But he said
he had enough of the river and preferred to see what could be done.
While I busied myself about camp, he and Emery left for the ranch.

About seven o'clock that evening they returned in great spirits. They
had found the ranch without any trouble nearly three miles from our
camp. Mrs. Chew was there and gave them a hearty welcome. She had
often wondered what had become of us. She invited the boys to remain
for supper, which they did. They talked over the matter of
transportation for Jimmy. As luck would have it, Mrs. Chew was going
to drive over to Jensen, and Vernal, Utah, in two days' time, and
agreed to take Jimmy along.

Early the next morning two boys, one about fourteen years old the
other a little older, rode down from the ranch. Some of their horses
were pastured across the river and they had come after these. After a
short visit they got into the _Edith_ with Emery and prepared to cross
over to the pasture, which was a mile or more downstream. They were
soon out of our sight. Jimmy and I remained at the camp, taking
pictures, packing his belongings, and finding many odd jobs to be
done. In about three hours the boys returned with their horses. The
horses were quite gentle, and they had no difficulty in swimming them
across. A young colt, too feeble to swim, placed its fore feet on its
mother's flanks and was ferried across in that way. Then they were
driven over a narrow trail skirting the cliff, 300 feet above the
river. No one, looking from the river, would have imagined that any
trail, over which horses could be driven, existed.

The boys informed us that we were expected at the ranch for dinner,
and would listen to no refusal so up we went, although we would have
to make a second trip that day. The view of the ranch was another of
those wonderful scenic changes which we were to meet with everywhere
in this region. The flat on which we stood was simply a pocket, shut
in by the round-domed mountains, with a pass, or an opening, to the
east side. A small stream ran down a mountain side, spreading over the
rocks, and glistening in the sunlight. This same stream passed the
ranch, and ran on down through the narrow canyon up which we had come.
The ranch itself was refreshing. The buildings were new, some were
under construction; but there was considerable ground under
cultivation. Cattle were scattered up the valley, or dotted the rocky
slopes below the mountains. A wild spot this, on the borderland of the
three states. None but people of fortitude, or even of daring, would
think of taking up a homestead in this secluded spot. The same rumours
of the escaped prisoners had drifted in here. It was Mr. Chew who gave
us the information we have previously quoted concerning the murdered
man. He had found the body in the boat, in front of the post-office.
He further stated that others in the mountains would not hesitate at
anything to drive out those who were trying to improve a homestead as
he was doing, and that it was a common event to find the carcasses of
his own horses or cattle which had been ruthlessly slaughtered. This
was the reason for putting the horses across the river. There they
were safe, for none could approach them save by going past the ranch,
or coming through Lodore Canyon.

Mr. Chew also told us of the Snyders, who had lost their boat in upper
Lodore Canyon, and of how he had given them a horse and provisions to
aid them in reaching the settlements. This did not prevent the elder
Snyder from coming back to trap the next year, much to Mr. Chew's
disgust. He thought one experience should be enough for any man.

While we were talking, a very old, bearded man rode in on a horse. He
was Pat Lynch, the owner of the little ranch by the river. He was a
real old-timer, having been in Brown's Park when Major Powell was
surveying that section of the country. He told us that he had been
hired to get some meat for the party, and had killed five mountain
sheep. He was so old that he scarcely knew what he was talking about,
rambling from one subject to another; and would have us listening with
impatience to hear the end of some wonderful tale of the early days,
when he would suddenly switch off on to an entirely different subject,
leaving the first unfinished.

In spite of his years he was quite active, having broken the horses on
which he rode, bareback, without assistance. We were told that he
placed a spring or trap gun in his houses at the river, ready to greet
any prying marauder The last we saw of him he was on his way to the
post-office, miles away, to draw his pension for service in the Civil

Returning to the transportation of Jimmy, it was settled that the
Chews were to leave early the next morning. They also agreed to take
out our exposed films and plate for us--something we had not counted
on, but too good a chance to lose. We all three returned to the boats
and packed the stuff that was to go out; then went back to the ranch
with Jimmy. It was late--after midnight--when we reached there, and we
did not disturb any one. Jimmy's blankets were unrolled in the wagon,
so there would be no question about his going out. He was to go to
Jensen, or Vernal, and there await us, keeping our films until we
arrived. We knew they were in good hands. It was with some difficulty
that we found our way back to our camp. The trail was difficult and it
was pitch dark. My boat had been taken down to where Emery left the
_Edith_ when the horses were driven across, and this extra distance
was added to our walk.

We were laggard the next morning, and in no hurry to resume our work.
We rearranged our loads in the boats; with one less man and
considerable less baggage as well, they were lighter by far. Our
chances looked much more favourable for an easier passage. Not only
were these things in our favour, but in addition we felt that we had
served our apprenticeship at navigation in rapid water, and we were
just as capable of meeting the rapids to follow as if we had years of
experience to our record. On summing up we found that the river had
dropped 1000 feet since leaving Green River, Wyoming, and that 5000
feet remained, to put us on a level with the ocean. Our difficulties
would depend, of course, on how this fall was distributed. Most of the
fall behind was found in Lodore and Red canyons. It was doubtful
indeed if any section would have a more rapid fall than Lodore Canyon.

There is a certain verse of wisdom which says that "Pride goeth before
a fall," but perhaps it was just as well for us if we were a little
bit elated by our past achievements as long as we had to go through
with the balance of our self-imposed task. Confidence, in a proper
degree, is a great help when real difficulties have to be surmounted.
We were full of confidence that day when we pulled away about noon
into Whirlpool Canyon, Whirlpool Canyon being next on the list. The
camp we were about to leave was directly opposite Lodore Canyon, where
it ran against the upended cliff. The gorgeous colours were the same
as those on the opposite side, and, to a certain degree, were also
found in Whirlpool Canyon.

Our two and a half hours' dash through the fourteen miles of rapid
water in Whirlpool Canyon put us in a joyful frame of mind. Rapid
after rapid was left behind us without a pause in our rowing, with
only a hasty survey standing on the deck of the boats before going
over. Others that were free from rocks were rowed in bow first, the
big waves breaking over our boats and ourselves. We bailed while
drifting in the quiet stretches, then got ready for the next rapids.
Two large rapids only were looked over from the shore and these were
run in the same manner. We could hardly believe it was true when we
emerged from the mountain so quickly into a little flat park or valley
sheltered in the hills. This was Island or Rainbow Park, the latter
name being suggested by the brilliant colouring of the rocks, in the
mountains to our left. Perhaps the form of the rocks themselves helped
a little, for here was one end of the rainbow of rock which began on
the other side of the mountains. Jagged-edged canyons looking almost
as if their sides had been rent asunder came out of these mountains.
There was very little dark red here except away on top, 2300 feet
above, where a covering of pines made a soft background for
light-cream and gorgeous yellow-coloured pinnacles, or rocky walls of
pink and purple and delicate shades of various hues. Large cottonwoods
appeared again along the river banks, in brilliant autumn colours,
adding to the beauties of the scene. Back from the river, to the west,
stretched the level park, well covered with bunch-grass on which some
cattle grazed, an occasional small prickly pear cactus, and the ever
present, pungent sage. Verdure-covered islands dotted the course of
the stream, which was quiet and sluggish, doubling back and forth like
a serpent over many a useless mile. Nine miles of rowing brought us
back to a point about three miles from the mouth of Whirlpool Canyon;
where the river again enters the mountain, deliberately choosing this
course to one, unobstructed for several miles, to the right.

The next gorge was Split Mountain Canyon, so named because the stream
divided the ridge length-wise, from one end to the other. It was
short, only nine miles long, with a depth of 2700 feet in the centre
of the canyon. Three miles of the nine were put behind us before we
camped that evening. These were run in the same manner as the rapids
of Whirlpool, scarcely pausing to look them over, but these rapids
were bigger, much bigger. One we thought was just formed or at least
increased in size by a great slide of rock that had fallen since the
recent rains. We just escaped trouble in this rapid, both boats going
over a large rock with a great cresting wave below, and followed by a
very rough rapid. Emery was standing on top of a fifteen-foot rock
below the rapid when I went over, and for a few moments could see
nothing of my boat, hardly believing it possible that I had come
through without a scratch. These rapids with the high water looked
more like rapids we had seen in the Grand Canyon, and were very unlike
the shallow water of a week previous. We had only travelled a half
day, but felt as if it had been a very complete day when we camped at
the foot of a rock slide on the right, just above another big rapid.

On Thursday, October 5, Camp No. 20 was left behind. The rapid below
the camp was big, big enough for a moving picture, so we took each
other in turns as we ran the rapid. More rapids followed, but these
were not so large. A few sharp-pointed spires of tinted rock lifted
above us a thousand feet or more. Framed in with the branches of the
near-by cottonwood trees, they made a charming picture. Less than
three hours brought us to the end of Split Mountain Canyon, and the
last bad water we were to have for some time. Just before leaving the
canyon, we came to some curious grottos, or alcoves, under the rock
walls on the left shore. The river has cut into these until they
overhang, some of them twenty-five feet or over. In one of these was a
beaver lying on a pile of floating sticks. Although we passed quite
close, the beaver never moved, and we did not molest it.

Another shower greeted us as we emerged into the Uinta Valley as it is
called by the Ute Indians. This valley is eighty-seven miles long. It
did not have the fertileness of Brown's Park, being raised in bare
rolling hills, runnelled and gullied by the elements. The water was
quiet here, and hard rowing was necessary to make any progress. We had
gone about seven miles when we spied a large placer dredge close to
the river. To the uninitiated this dredge would look much like a
dredging steamboat out of water, but digging its own channel, which is
what it really does.

Great beds of gravel lay on either side of the river and placer gold
in large or small quantities, but usually the latter is likely to
exist in these beds. When a dredge like the one found here is to be
installed, an opening is made in the river's bank leading to an
excavation which has been made, then a large flatboat is floated in
this. The dredging machinery is on this float, as well as most of the
machinery through which the gravel is passed accompanied by a stream
of water; then with quicksilver and rockers of various designs, the
gold is separated from the gravel and sand.

Numerous small buildings were standing near the dredge, but the
buildings were empty, and the dredge lay idle. We saw many fresh
tracks of men and horses aid were welcomed by a sleek, well-fed cat,
but found the place was deserted. All buildings were open and in one
was a telephone. We were anxious to hear just where we were, so we
used the telephone and explained what we wanted to know. The "Central"
informed us that we were about nine miles from Jensen, so we returned
to the boats and pulled with a will through a land that was no longer
barren, but with cozy ranch houses, surrounded by rows of stately
poplars, bending with the wind, for it was storming in earnest now.
About six o'clock that evening we caught sight of the top of the
Jensen bridge; then, as we neared the village, the sun broke through
the pall of cloud and mist, and a rainbow appeared in the sky above,
and was mirrored in the swollen stream, rainbow and replica combined
nearly completing the wondrous arc. There was a small inn beside the
bridge, and arrangements were made for staying there that night. We
were told that Jim and Mrs. Chew had passed through Jensen about four
hours before we arrived. They had left word that they would go on
through to Vernal, fifteen miles distant from the river.



Jensen was a small village with two stores and a post-office. A few
scattered houses completed the village proper, but prosperous-looking
ranches spread out on the lowland for two or three miles in all
directions on the west side of the river. Avenues of poplar trees,
fruit trees, and fields of alfalfa gave these ranches a different
appearance from any others we had passed.

We found some mail awaiting us at the post-office, and were soon
busily engaged in reading the news from home. We conversed awhile with
the few people at the hotel, then retired, but first made arrangements
for saddle horses for the ride to Vernal.

Next morning we found two spirited animals, saddled and waiting for
us. We had some misgivings concerning these horses, but were assured
that they were "all right." A group of grinning cowboys and ranch
hands craning their necks from a barn, a hundred yards distant, rather
inclined us to think that perhaps our informant might be mistaken.
Nothing is more amusing to these men of the range than to see a man
thrown from his horse, and a horse that is "all right" for one of them
might be anything else to persons such as we who never rode anything
except gentle horses, and rode those indifferently. We mounted quickly
though, trying to appear unconcerned. The horses, much to our relief,
behaved quite well, Emery's mount rearing back on his hind legs but
not bucking. After that, all went smoothly.

Leaving the irrigated ranches on the bottom lands, we ascended a low,
rolling mesa, composed of gravel and clay, unwatered and unfertile,
from which we caught occasional glimpses of the mountains and the
gorge from which we had emerged, their brilliant colours softened and
beautified by that swimming blue haze which belongs to this plateau
region. Then we rode down into the beautiful Ashley Valley, watered by
Ashley Creek, a good-sized stream even after it was used to irrigate
all the country for miles above. The valley was several miles wide.
The stream emptied into the river about a mile below Jensen. All parts
of the valley were under cultivation. It is famous for its splendid
deciduous fruits, apples, pears, peaches; splendid both in appearance
and flavour. It excelled not only in fruits, however, but in all
products of the field as well. "Vernal honey," which is marketed far
and near, has a reputation for fine flavour wherever it is known. A
thick growth of the bee-blossom or bee-weed crowded the road sides and
hugged the fences. The fragrance of the flower can easily be noticed
in the sweetness of the honey. The pity of it was that bushels of
fruit lay rotting on the ground, for there were no transportation
facilities, the nearest railroad being 90 miles distant. There were
stock ranches too, with blooded stock in the fence-enclosed fields.
Some of the splendid horses paced along beside us on the other side of
the fence. We heard the rippling song of some meadow-larks this day,
the only birds of this species we remember having seen on the Western

All these ranches were laid out in true Mormon style, that is, squared
off in sections, fenced, and planted with shade-trees before being
worked. The roads are usually wide and the streets exceptionally so.
Except in the business streets, a large garden usually surrounds the
home building, each family endeavouring to raise all their own
vegetables, fruits, and poultry. They usually succeed.

The shade trees about Vernal were Lombardy poplars. They attained a
height that would give ample shade under most conditions, and too much
when we were there, for the roads were very muddy, although they had
dried in all other sections. Nearing Vernal, we passed Nathan
Galloway's home, a cozy place set back some distance from the road. We
had hoped to meet Galloway and have an opportunity of talking over his
experiences with him, but found he was absent on a hunting trip, in
fact was up in the mountains we had come through.

On nearing the town we were greeted by a busy scene. Numerous wagons
and horses stood in squares reserved for that purpose, or were tied to
hitching posts in front of the many stores. Ranchers and their
families were everywhere in evidence; there were numerous prospectors
in their high-topped boots just returning from the mountains, and oil
men in similar garb, muddy from head to foot. Later we learned that
oil had recently been discovered about forty miles distant, this fact
accounting for much of the activity.

The town itself was a surprise; we found it to be very much up-to-date
considering its isolated position. Two of the streets were paved and
oiled and were supplied with drinking fountains. There were two
prosperous looking banks, two well-stocked and up-to-date drug stores,
several mercantile stores, and many others, all busy. Many of the
buildings were of brick; all were substantial.

Near a hotel we observed a group of men surrounding some one who was
evidently keeping them interested. On approaching them we found it was
Jimmy, giving a graphic description of some of our difficulties. His
story was not finished, for he saw us and ran to greet us, as pleased
to see us as we were to see him. He had little idea we would be along
for two or three days and naturally was much surprised.

On entering the hotel we were greeted by an old Grand Canyon friend, a
civil engineer named Duff, who with a crew of men had been mapping the
mountains near Whirlpool Canyon. You can imagine that it was a
gratifying surprise to all concerned to find we were not altogether
among strangers, though they were as hospitable as strangers could be.
The hotel was a lively place that night. There was some musical talent
among Duff's men, and Duff himself was an artist on the piano. Many of
the young people of the town had dropped in that evening, as some one
had passed the word that there might be an impromptu entertainment at
the hotel. There was. Duff played and the boys sang. Jimmy was himself
again and added his rich baritone. The town itself was not without
musical talent, and altogether it was a restful change for us.

Perhaps we should have felt even better if we had been dressed
differently, for we wore much the same clothes as those in which we
did our work on the river--a woollen shirt and overalls. Besides,
neither Emery nor I had shaved since starting, and it is quite likely
that we looked just a little uncouth. Appearances count for little
with these people in the little-settled districts, and it is a common
enough sight to them to see men dressed as we were. They did
everything they could to make us feel at ease. As one person remarked,
"The wealthiest cattle man, or the owner of the richest mine in the
country, usually looks worse than all others after a month on the
range or in the hills."

If wealth were indicated on an inverse ratio to one's good appearance,
we should have been very wealthy indeed. We felt as if it would take
us a week to get rested and lost little time in getting to bed when
the party broke up. We imagine most of the residents of Vernal were
Mormons. It is part of their creed to give "the stranger within their
gates" a cordial welcome. This however, was accorded to us, not only
among the Mormons, but in every section of our journey on the Green
and Colorado rivers.

The following day was a busy one. Arrangements had been made with a
local photographer to get the use of his dark room, and we proceeded
to develop all plates and many of our films. These were then to be
packed and shipped out. We were informed at the local express office,
that it might be some time before they would go, as the recent rains
had been very bad in Colorado and had washed out most of the bridges.

Vernal had passenger transportation to the railway--a branch of the D.
& R.G. running north into Colorado--by automobile, the route lying
across the Green and also across the White River, a tributary to the
Green. A steel structure had been washed away on the White River,
making it impossible to get through to the station. The high water
below here must have been a flood, judging from all reports. About ten
bridges, large and small, were reported as being washed away on
numerous branch streams leading into the Green River. Fortunately
Vernal had another means of communication. This was a stage running
southwest from Vernal, over 125 miles of rough road to Price,
Utah--Price being a station on the main line of the D. & R.G.

Jimmy concluded that he would take this road, in preference to the
uncertainties of the other route, and noon that day found him on board
the stage. He promised to write to us, and was anxious to hear of our
success, but remarked that when he once got home he would "never leave
San Francisco again." There was a final hand clasp, a cheer from the
small group of men, and the stage drove away with Jimmy, a happy boy

Our work on the developing progressed well, and with very satisfying
results on the whole, and that evening found us with all plates packed
ready for shipment to our home. The moving-picture film was also
packed and shipped to be developed at once. This was quite a load off
our minds.

The following day we prepared to depart, but did not leave until the
afternoon. Then, with promises to let them know the outcome of our
venture, we parted from our friends and rode back to Jensen.

We planned on leaving the following morning. The river had fallen one
foot since we had landed, and we were anxious to have the benefit of
the high water. We were told that it was six feet above the low-water
stage of two weeks before.

On Monday, October the 9th, after loading our boat with a new stock of
provisions,--in which was included few jars of honey, and a few dozen
of eggs, packed in sawdust,--we began what might be called the second
stage of our journey; the 175-mile run to Blake or Green River, Utah,
a little west of south from Jensen. Ten miles below Jensen was a ferry
used by the auto and wagons. Here also was a ranch house, with a
number of people in the yard. We were invited to land and did so. They
had been informed by telephone of our coming and were looking for us;
indeed they had even prepared dinner for us, hoping we would reach
there in time. Not knowing all this, we had eaten our cold lunch half
an hour before. The women were busy preserving fruits and garden
truck, and insisted on us taking two or three jars along. This was a
welcome change to the dried fruit, which was one of our principal
foods. These people made the usual request--"Drop us a post card if
you get through."

The memory of these people that we met on this journey will linger
with us as long as we live. They were always anxious to help us or
cheer us on our way.

We passed a dredge that evening and saw a man at work with a team and
scoop shovel, the method being to scoop up the gravel and sand, then
dump it in an iron car. This was then pulled by the horses to the top
of a derrick up a sloping track and dumped. A stream of water pumped
up from the river mixed with the gravel, the entire mass descended a
long zigzagging chute. We paused a few minutes only and did not
examine the complicated process of separating the mineral from the
gravel. This dredge had been recently installed. We camped early, half
a mile below the dredge.

Emery had been feeling poorly all this day. He blamed his
indisposition to having eaten too many good things when in Vernal--a
break in training, as it were. This was our excuse for a short run
that day. I played nurse and gave him some simple remedy from the
little supply that we carried; and, after he was in his sleeping bag,
I filled some hot-water bags for the first time on the trip, and soon
had him feeling quite comfortable.

A hard wind came up that night, and a little rain fell. I had a busy
half-hour keeping our camp from being blown away. The storm was of
short duration, and all was soon quiet again. On the following morning
Emery felt so good that I had a hard time in keeping up with him and I
wondered if he would ever stop. Towards evening, after a long pull, we
neared the reservation of the Uinta Utes, and saw a few Indians camped
away from the river. Here, again, were the cottonwood bottoms, banked
by the barren, gravelly hills. We had been informed that there was a
settlement called Ouray, some distance down the river, and we were
anxious to reach it before night. But the river was sluggish, with
devious and twisting channels, and it was dark when we finally landed
at the Ouray ferry.



Ouray, Utah, consisted of a large store to supply the wants of the
Indians and ranchers, a small hotel, and a few dwellings. The agency
proper was located some distance up the Uinta River, which stream
emptied into the Green, just below Ouray.

Supper was taken at the hotel, after which we visited a young man in
charge of the store, looking over his curios and listening to tales of
his life here among these Indians. They were peaceable enough now, but
in years gone by were a danger to be reckoned with. We slept in our
own beds close to our boats by the river.

The following morning, when we were ready to leave, a small crowd
gathered, a few Indians among them. Most of the Indians were big, fat,
and sleepy-looking. Apparently they enjoyed the care of the
government. A mile below we passed several squaws and numerous
children under some trees, while on a high mound stood a lone buck
Indian looking at us as we sped by, but without a single movement that
we could see. He still stood there as we passed from sight a mile
below. It might be interesting if one could know just what was in his
mind as he watched us.

A mile below the Uinta River, which entered on the west, we passed
another stream, the White River, entering from the east, the two
streams adding considerable water to the Green River. We passed
another idle dredge, also some mineral workings in tunnels, and saw
two men camped on the shore beside them. We saw numerous Indian
carvings on the rocks, but judged they were recent because horses
figured in most of them. In all the open country the river was fringed
with large cottonwood trees, alders and willow thickets. A number of
islands followed, one of them very symmetrical in shape, with
cottonwood trees in the centre, while around the edge ran a fringe of
bushes looking almost like a trimmed hedge. The autumn colouring added
to its beauty. The hedge, as we called it, was dark red, brown,
yellow, and green; the cottonwoods were a light yellow. After we had
passed this island, a deer, confused by our voices, jumped into the
river fifty yards behind us, leaping and swimming as he made for the
shore. We had no gun, but Emery had the moving-picture camera at hand,
and turned it on the deer. The hour was late, however, and we had
little hopes of its success as a picture. The country back from the
river stretched in rolling, barren hills 200 or 300 feet high--a
continuation of the Bad Lands of Utah, which lay off to the west.

With the next day's travel the hills lost some of their barren
appearance. Some cattle were seen early in the afternoon of the
following day. We passed a cattle man working at a ferry, who had just
taken some stock across, which other men had driven on ahead. He was
busy, so we did not interrupt him, merely calling to him from the
boats, drifting meanwhile with the current. Soon we saw him riding
down the shore and waited for him to catch up. He invited us to camp
with him that evening, remarking that he had "just killed a beef." We
thanked him, but declined, as it was early and we had only travelled a
short distance that day. We chatted awhile, and he told us to look out
for rapids ahead. He was rather surprised when he learned that we had
started at Green River, Wyoming, and had already come through a few

"Where are you going to stop?" he then asked.

On being told that our destination was Needles, California, he threw
up his hands with an expressive gesture, then added soberly, "Well,
boys, I sure wish you luck," and rode back to his camp.

We had difficulty in making a suitable landing that evening, as the
high water had deposited great quantities of black mud over
everything, making it very disagreeable when we left the boats. We
finally found a place with less mud to wade through than on most of
the banks seen, and tied up to the roots of a tree.

While lying in our beds that night looking at the starlit sky--such a
sky as is found only on these high plateaus--we discovered a comet
directly above us. An astronomer would have enjoyed our opportunities
for observing the heavens. No doubt this comet had been heralded far
and wide, but we doubt if any one saw it to better advantage than did

Later, some coyotes, possibly in chase of a rabbit, gave vent to their
yodeling cry, and awakened us from a sound sleep. They were in a
little lateral canyon, which magnified and gave a weird, organ-like
echo to their calls long after the coyotes themselves had passed from

The nights were getting warmer as we travelled south, but not so warm
that we were bothered with insects. The same reason accounted for the
absence of snakes or scorpions, for no doubt there were plenty of both
in warm weather in this dry country. When there was no wind, the
silence of the nights was impressive, with no sound save the lapping
of the water against the banks. Sometimes a bird in the trees above
would start up with a twitter, then quiet down again. On occasions the
air chambers in our boats would contract on cooling off, making a
noise like the boom of a distant gun, every little sound being
magnified by the utter stillness of the night.

There were other times when it was not so quiet. Hundreds of birds,
geese, ducks and mud-hens had been seen the last few days. Also there
were occasional cranes and herons, over a thousand miles from their
breeding place at the mouth of the Colorado. As dusk settled, we would
see these birds abandon their feeding in the mud, and line up on the
shore, or on an island, and go to sleep. Occasionally one of these
birds would start up out of a sound sleep with an unearthly squawk.
Possibly an otter had interrupted its dreams, or a fox had pounced on
one as it slept. It may be that it was only a bad dream of these
enemies that caused their fright, but whatever it was, that first call
would start up the entire flock and they would circle in confusion
like a stampeded herd of cattle, their discordant cries putting an end
to the stillness of the night. Finally they would settle down in a new
spot, and all would be quiet once more.

We saw a few birds that were strangers to us,--water birds which we
imagined belonged to the salt water rather than the inland streams,
making a little excursion, perhaps, away from their accustomed haunts.
One type we saw on two occasions, much like a gull, but smaller, pure
white as far as we could tell, soaring in graceful flight above the

Camp No. 26 was close to the beginning of a new canyon. The country
had been changing in appearance from rather flat plains to small bare
hills, gradually increasing in height with smooth, rounded sides, and
going up to a point, usually of a dirty clay colour, with little
vegetation of any kind on them. The river for miles past had swept in
long graceful curves, the hills being close to the river on the
outside of the curve, leaving a big flat on the inside. This flat
gradually sloped back to hills of an equal height to those opposite.
Then the curve would reverse, and the same conditions would be met
with again, but on opposite sides from the previous bend. After
passing a creek the evening before, the hills became higher, and from
our camp we could see the first place where they came close on both
sides to the river. We felt now that our beautiful tree-covered
canyons were behind us and from now on we would be hemmed in by the
great eroded canyons of the Southwest. We were sorry to leave those
others behind, and could easily understand why Major Powell had named
this Desolation Canyon.

As the canyon deepened the cliffs were cut into fantastic shapes, as
is usual in rocks unprotected by vegetation. There was a hard rock
near the top in places which overhung a softer formation. This would
erode, giving a cornice-like effect to the cliffs. Others were
surmounted by square towers and these were capped by a border of
little squares, making the whole look much like a castle on the Rhine.
For half a day we found no rapids, but pulled away on a good current.
The walls gradually grew higher and were more rugged; a few trees
cropped out on their sides. At noon our boats were lashed together and
lunch was eaten as we drifted. We covered about three miles in this
way, taking in the scenery as we passed. We saw a great stone arch, or
natural bridge, high on a stupendous cliff to our right, and wondered
if any one had ever climbed up to it. Our lunch was no more than
finished when the first rapid was heard ahead of us. Quickly unlashing
our boats, we prepared for strenuous work. Friday the 13th proved to
be a lucky day; thirteen large rapids and thirteen small ones were
placed behind us before we camped at Rock Creek--a splashing, laughing
mountain stream, no doubt containing trout.

The following morning we found there was a little ranch house below
us, but, though we called from our boats, no one came out. We wondered
how any one could reach this out-of-the-way place, as a road would be
almost an impossibility. Later we found a well-constructed trail on
the right-hand side all the way through the canyon. We saw a great
many cattle travelling this trail. Some were drinking at the river
when we swept into view. Our boats filled them with alarm, and they
scrambled for the hillsides, looking after us with frightened
expressions as we left them to the rear.

We put in a full day at running rapids, one after another, until
fifteen large ones were passed, no count being kept of the smaller
ones. Some of these rapids resembled dams from six to twelve feet
high, with the water falling abruptly over a steep slope. Others were
long and rough, with swift water in places. Above one of these we had
landed, then found we could get a much better view from the opposite
shore. Emery crossed and landed, I followed. We had been having heavy
winds all day. When crossing here I was caught by a sudden gust of
wind and carried to the head of the rapid. I heard Emery call, "Look
out for the big rock!" then over I went. The wind and water together
had turned my boat sideways, and try as I would I could not get it
turned around. I saw the rock Emery referred to straight ahead of me.
It was about fifteen feet square and about fourteen feet from the
shore, with a powerful current shooting between the rock and the
shore. It seemed as if I must strike the rock broadside, and I ceased
my struggle, but held out an oar with both hands, hoping to break the
blow. But it never came. The water struck this rock with great force,
then rebounded, and actually kept me from even touching the rock with
the oar, but it caught the boat and shot it through the narrow
channel, bow first, as neatly as it could possibly be done, then,
turned the boat around again as I scrambled to regain my hold on both
oars. No other rocks threatened however, and besides filling the
cockpit with water, no damage was done.

Emery had no desire to follow my passage and crossed back to the other
side. Shooting over the upper end of the rapid, his boat ran up on a
rounded rock, the stern sticking high in the air; it paused a moment,
the current slowly turning it around as if on a pivot, and the boat
slid off; then down he came lurching and plunging, but with no more
difficulty. Many times in such places as these we saw the advantage of
our flat-bottomed boats over one with a keel, for these would surely
be upset when running up on such a rock.



The appearance of Desolation Canyon had changed entirely in the lower
end. Instead of a straight canyon without a break, we were surrounded
by mountain peaks nearly 2500 feet high, with many side canyon between
them and with little level parks at the end of the canyons beside the
river. The tops were pine-covered; cedars clung to the rocky slopes.
Some of these peaks were not unlike the formations of the Grand
Canyon, as seen from the inner plateau, and the red colouring was once
more found in the rocks.

These peaks were gradually dropping down in height; and at one open
section, with alfalfa and hay fields on gently sloping hillsides, we
found a small ranch, the buildings being set back from the river. We
concluded to call and found three men, the rancher and two young
cowboys, at work in a blacksmith shop. Emery had forgotten to remove
his life-preserver, and the men looked at him with some astonishment,
as he was still soaking wet from the splashing waves of the last

When I joined him he was explaining that no one had been drowned, and
that we were merely making an excursion down the river. Mr. McPherson,
the rancher, we learned, owned all the cattle seen up the river. The
little cabin at our last camp was a sort of headquarters for his
cowboys. The cattle were just being driven from the mountains before
the snows came, and were to be wintered here in the canyons. Some of
these cattle were much above the usual grade of range cattle, being
thoroughbreds, although most of them ran loose on the range. This
ranch had recently lost a valuable bull which had been killed by a
bear up in the mountains--not unlike similar conflicts in more
civilized sections of the country. McPherson camped on this bear's
trail for several days and nights before he finally hung his pelt on a
tree. He was a large cinnamon-coloured grizzly. Four other bears had
been killed this same year, in these mountains.

McPherson's home had burned down a short time before our visit, and
his family had removed to Green River, Utah. A number of tents were
erected, neatly boarded up, and we were informed that one of these was
reserved for company, so we need not think of going any farther that
day. These men, while absolutely fearless in the saddle, over these
rough mountain trails, had "no use for the river" they told us; in
fact, we found this was the usual attitude of the cattle men wherever
we met them. McPherson's respect for the river was not without reason,
as his father, with two others, had been drowned while making a
crossing in a light boat near this point, some years before. Some
accident occurred, possibly the breaking of a rowlock, and they were
carried into a rapid. McPherson's men found it necessary to cross
their cattle back and forth, but always took the wise precaution to
have on some life-preservers. The cork preservers hung in the
blacksmith shop, where they could easily be reached at a moment's

Desolation Canyon, with a slight breaking down of the walls for a
short distance only, gave place to Gray Canyon below the McPherson
Ranch. A good sized mountain stream, part of which irrigated the ranch
above, found its way through this division. We had been told that more
rapids lay ahead of us in Gray Canyon, but they were not so numerous
in our next day's travel. What we did find were usually large, but we
ran them all without difficulty. About noon we met five men in a boat,
rowing up the stream in a long, still stretch. They told us they were
working on a dam, a mile or two below. They followed us down to see us
make the passage through the rapid which lay above their camp. The
rapid was long and rocky, having a seventeen-foot fall in a half mile.
We picked our channel by standing up in the boat before entering the
rapid and were soon at the bottom with no worse mishap than bumping a
rock or two rather lightly. We had bailed out and were tying our
boats, when the men came panting down the hill up which they had
climbed to see us make this plunge. A number of men were at work here,
but this being Sunday, most of them had gone to Green River, Utah,
twenty-one miles distant.

Among the little crowd who came down to see us resume our rowing was a
lady and a little girl who lived in a rock building, near the other
buildings erected for the working-men. Emery showed the child a
picture of his four-year-old daughter, Edith, with her mother--a
picture he always carried in a note-book. Then he had her get in the
boat with him, and we made a photograph of them. They were very good
friends before we left.

In a few hours we emerged from the low-walled canyon into a level
country. A large butte, perhaps 700 feet high, stood out by itself, a
mile from the main cliffs. This was Gunnison Butte, an old landmark
near the Gunnison trail. We were anxious to reach Blake or Green
River, Utah, not many miles below, that evening; but we failed to make
it. There were several rapids, some of them quite large, and we had
run them all when we came to a low dam that obstructed our passage,
While looking it over, seeing how best to make a portage, a young man
whom we had just seen remarked: "Well, boys, you had better tie up and
I will help you in the morning."

It was 5.30 then, and we were still six miles from Green River, so we
took his advice and camped. On seeing our sleeping bags, tightly
strapped and making rather small roll, he remarked: "Well, you fellows
are not Mormons; I can tell by the size of your beds!"

Our new friend gave the name of Wolverton. There was another man named
Wilson who owned a ranch just below the dam. Both of these men were
much interested in our experiences. Wolverton had considerable
knowledge of the river and of boats; very little persuasion would have
been necessary to have had him for a companion on the balance of our
journey. But we had made up our minds to make it alone, now, as it
looked feasible. Both Wilson and Wolverton knew the country below
Green River, Utah, having made surveys through much of the surrounding
territory. Wolverton said we must surely see his father, who lived
down the river and who was an enthusiast on motor boats. A few
minutes' work the next morning sufficed to get our boats over the dam.
The dam was constructed of loose rock and piles, chinked with brush
and covered with sloping planks,--just a small dam to raise the water
for irrigation purposes. Much of the water ran through the canal; in
places the planks were dry, in others some water ran over. The boats,
being unloaded were pulled up on these planks, then slid into the
water below. Wilson had a large water wheel for irrigation purposes,
the first of several such wheels which we were to see this day. These
wheels, twenty feet or more in height,--with slender metal buckets
each holding gallons of water, fastened at intervals on either
side,--were placed in a swift current, anchored on the shore to stout
piles, or erected over mill-races cut in the banks. There they
revolved, the buckets filling and emptying automatically, the water
running off in troughs above the level of the river back to the
fertile soil. Some of these wheels had ingenious floating arrangements
whereby they accommodated themselves to the different stages of a
rising or falling river. We took a few pictures of Wilson's place
before leaving. He informed us that he had telephoned to certain
people in Green River who would help us in various ways. Two hours'
rowing, past many pretty little ranches, brought us to the railroad
bridge, a grateful sight to us. A pumping plant stood beside the
bridge under charge of Captain Yokey, one of Wilson's friends. Yokey
owned a large motor boat, which was tied up to the shore. Our boats
were left in his charge while we went up to the town, a mile distant.
Another of Wilson's friends met us, and secured a dark room for us so
that we could do a little developing and we prepared for work on the
following day.

That night a newspaper reporter hunted us out, anxious for a story. We
gave him what we had, making light of our previous difficulties, which
were exciting enough at times; but owing to the comparatively small
size of the stream, we seldom thought our lives were in any great
danger. The papers made the most of these things, and the stories that
came out had little semblance to our original statements. We have
since learned that no matter how much one minimizes such things, they
are seldom published as reported.

We put in a busy day unpacking new films and plates developing all
films from the smaller cameras and sending these home. A new stock of
provisions had to be purchased, enough for one month at least, for
there was no chance of securing supplies until we reached our canyon
home, about 425 miles below.

We had a valuable addition to our cargo in two metal boxes that had
been shipped here, as it was not possible to get them before leaving
Wyoming. These cases or trunks were sent from England, and were
water-tight, if not waterproof, there being a slight difference. Well
constructed, with rubber gaskets and heavy clamps, every possible
precaution had been taken, it seemed, to exclude the water and still
render them easy of access. They were about thirty inches long,
fifteen wide, and twelve high, just the thing for our photographic
material. Up to this time everything had to be kept under the deck
when in bad water. These boxes were placed in the open section in
front of us, and were thoroughly fastened to the ribs to prevent loss,
ready to be opened or closed in a moment, quite a convenience when
pictures had to be taken hurriedly.

The following day we went over the boats, caulking few leaks. The
bottoms of the boats were considerably the worse for wear, owing to
our difficulties in the first canyons. We got some thin oak strips and
nailed them on the bottom to help protect them, when portaging.
Sliding the boats on the scouring sand and rough-surfaced rock was
hard on the half-inch boards on the bottom of the boats. This work was
all completed that day, and everything was ready for the next plunge.

In passing the station, we noticed the elevation above sea-level was
placed at 4085 feet, and remembered that Green River, Wyoming, was
6080 feet, showing that our descent in the past 425 miles had been
close to 2000 feet. We had not found it necessary to line or portage
any rapids since leaving Lodore Canyon; we were hopeful that our good
luck would continue.

Nothing was to be feared from what remained of the Green River, 120
miles or more, for motor boats made the journey to its junction with
the Grand, and we were told even ascended the Grand for some distance.
Below this junction was the Colorado River, a different stream from
the one we were still to navigate.

Before leaving, we ate a final hearty breakfast at the boarding-house
where we had been taking our meals. A number of young men, clerks in
some of the business houses here, were among the boarders. The
landlady a whole-souled German woman and an excellent cook, was
greatly worried over their small appetites, thinking it was a
reflection on her table. She remarked that she hoped we had good
appetites, and I am sure she had no complaint to make so far as we
were concerned. We had never stinted ourselves when on the river, but
the change and the rest seemed to give us an abnormal appetite that
could not be satisfied, and we would simply quit eating because we
were ashamed to eat more. Less than half an hour after one of these
big meals, I was surprised to see my brother in a restaurant with a
sheepish grin on his face, and with a good-sized lunch before him.



_Thursday, October the 19th_. We embarked again with two of our
new-found friends on board as passengers for a short ride, their
intention being to hunt as they walked back. They left us at a ranch
beside the San Rafael River, a small stream entering from the west.
They left some mail with us to be delivered to Mr. Wolverton, whose
son we had met above. About 20 miles below Green River we reached his
home. Judging by a number of boats--both motor and row boats--tied to
his landing, Mr. Wolverton was an enthusiastic river-man. After
glancing over his mail, he asked how we had come and was interested
when he learned that we were making a boating trip. He was decidedly
interested when he saw the boats and learned that we were going to our
home in the Grand Canyon. His first impression was that we were merely
making a little pleasure trip on the quiet water.

Going carefully over the boats, he remarked that they met with his
approval with one exception. They seemed to be a little bit short for
the heavy rapids of the Colorado, he thought. He agreed that our
experience in the upper rapids had been good training, but said there
was no comparison in the rapids. We would have a river ten times as
great as in Lodore to contend with; and in numerous places, for short
distances, the descent was as abrupt as anything we had seen on the
Green. Wolverton was personally acquainted with a number of the men
who had made the river trip, and, with the one exception of Major
Powell's expeditions, had met all the parties who had successfully
navigated its waters. This not only included Galloway's and Stone's
respective expeditions, which had made the entire trip, but included
two other expeditions which began at Green River, Utah, and had gone
through the canyons of the Colorado.[4] These were the Brown-Stanton
expedition, which made a railroad survey through the canyons of the
Colorado; and another commonly known as the Russell-Monnette
expedition, two of the party making the complete trip, arriving at
Needles after a voyage filled with adventure and many narrow escapes.
Mr. Wolverton remarked that every one knew of those who had navigated
the entire series of canyons, but that few people knew of those who
had been unsuccessful. He knew of seven parties that had failed to get
through Cataract Canyon's forty-one miles of rapids, with their boats,
most of them never being heard of again.

These unsuccessful parties were often miners or prospectors who wished
to get into the comparatively flat country which began about fifty
miles below the Junction of the Green and the Grand rivers. Here lay
Glen Canyon, with 150 miles of quiet water. Nothing need be feared in
this, or in the 120 miles of good boating from Green River, Utah, to
the junction. Between these two points, however, lay Cataract Canyon,
beginning at the junction of the two rivers. Judging by its unsavory
record, Cataract Canyon was something to be feared.

Among these parties who had made short trips on the river was one
composed of two men. Phil Foote was a gambler, stage robber, and bad
man in general. He had broken out of jail in Salt Lake City and,
accompanied by another of similar character, stole a boat at Green
River, Utah, and proceeded down the river. Soon after entering
Cataract Canyon, they lost their boat and provisions. Finding a tent
which had been washed down the river, they tore it into strips and
constructed a raft out driftwood, tying the logs together with the
strips of canvas. Days of hardship followed, and starvation stared
them in the face; until finally Foote's partner gave up, said he would
drown himself. With an oath Foote drew his revolver, saying he had
enough of such cowardice and would save him the trouble. His companion
then begged for his life, saying he would stick to the end, and they
finally got through to the Hite ranch, which lay a short distance
below. They were taken care of here, and terminated their voyage a
short distance beyond, going out over land. Foote was afterwards shot
and killed while holding up a stage in Nevada.

The Hite ranch also proved to be a place of refuge for others, the
sole survivors of two other parties who were wrecked, one person
escaping on each occasion. Hite's ranch, and Lee's Ferry, 140 miles
below Hite, had mail service. We had left instructions at the
post-office to forward our mail to one or the other of these points.
These were also the only places on our 425-mile run to Bright Angel
Trail where we could expect to see any people, so we were informed. We
were about to descend into what is, possibly, the least inhabited
portion of the United States of America.

A party of civil engineers working here, joined us that evening at
Wolverton's home. A young man in the party asked us if we would
consent to carry a letter through with us and mail it at our
destination. He thought it would be an interesting souvenir for the
person to whom it was addressed. We agreed to do our best, but would
not guarantee delivery. The next morning two letters were given us to
mail, and were accepted with this one reservation. Before leaving Mr.
Wolverton showed us his motor boat with much pardonable pride. On this
boat he sometimes took small parties down to the beginning of the
Colorado River, and up the Grand, a round trip of three hundred miles
or more. The boat had never been taken down the Colorado for the
simple reason that the rapids began almost immediately below the

Wolverton, while he had never been through the rapids in a boat, had
followed the river on foot for several miles and was thoroughly
familiar with their nature. On parting he remarked,

"Well, boys, you are going to tackle a mighty hard proposition, but
I'm sure you can make it if you are only careful. But look out and go

Wolverton was no novice, speaking from much experience in bad water,
and we were greatly impressed by what he had to say.

Five uneventful days were spent in Labyrinth and Stillwater canyons,
through which the Green peacefully completed its rather violent
descent. In the upper end we usually found rough water in the canyons
and quiet water in the open sections. Here at least were two canyons,
varying from 300 feet at their beginning to 1300 in depth, both
without a rapid. The first of these was Labyrinth Canyon, so named
from its elaborately winding course as well as its wonderful intricate
system of dry, lateral canyons, and its reproduction in rock of
architectural forms, castles, arches, and grottos; even animals and
people were represented in every varying form.

Our Sunday camp was beside what might be called a serpentine curve or
series of loops in the river. This was at the centre of what is known
as the Double Bow Knot, three rounded loops, very symmetrical in form,
with an almost circular formation of flat-topped rock, a mile or more
in diameter in the centre of each loop. A narrow neck of rock connects
these formations to the main mesa, all being on the same level, about
700 feet above the river. The upper half of the rock walls was sheer;
below was a steep boulder-covered slope. The centre formation is the
largest and most perfect, being nearly two miles in diameter and
almost round; so much so, that a very few minutes are necessary to
climb over the narrow neck which connects this formation to the mesa.
It took 45 minutes of hard rowing on a good current to take us around
this one loop. The neck is being rapidly eroded, two hundred feet
having disappeared from the top, and at some distant day will
doubtless disappear entirely, making a short cut for the river, and
will leave a rounded island of rock standing seven hundred feet above
the river. A bird's-eye view of the three loops would compare well in
shape to the little mechanical contrivance known as the "eye" in the
combination of "hook and eye." All women and many men will get a clear
idea the shape of the Double Bow Knot from this comparison.

We recorded an interesting experiment with the thermometer at this
camp, showing a great variety of temperatures, unbelievable almost to
one who knows nothing of conditions in these semi-arid plateaus. A
little ice had formed the night before. Under a clear sky the next day
at noon, our thermometer recorded 54 degrees in the shade, but ran up
to 102 degrees in the sun. At the same time the water in the river was
52 degrees Far. The effect of being deluged in ice-cold waves, then
running into deep sunless canyons with a cold wind sweeping down from
the snow on top, can be easier imagined than described. This is what
we could expect to meet later.

The colouring of the rocks varied greatly in many localities, a light
red predominating. In some places the red rock was capped by a gray,
flint-like limestone; in others this had disappeared, but underneath
the red were regular strata of various-coloured rocks, pink, brown,
light yellow, even blue and green being found in two or three

The forms of erosion were as varied as the rock itself, each
different-coloured rock stratum presenting a different surface. In one
place the surface was broken into rounded forms like the backs of a
herd of elephants. In others we saw reproductions of images, carved by
the drifting sands--a Diana, with uplifted arm, as large as the
Goddess of Liberty; a Billiken on a throne with a hundred worshippers
bowed around. Covered with nature-made ruins and magnificent rock
structures, as this section is, it is not entirely without utility. It
is a grazing country. Great numbers of contented cattle, white-faced,
with red and white, or black and white patches of colour on their
well-filled hides, were found in the open spaces between the
sheer-walled cliffs. Dusty, well-beaten trails led down through these
wide canyons, trails which undoubtedly gained the top of the level,
rocky plateau a few miles back from the river. As is usual in a cattle
country at the end of the summer season, the bunch-grass, close to the
water supply--which in this case happened to the river--was nibbled
close to the roots. The cattle only came here to drink, then travelled
many miles, no doubt, to the better grazing on the upper plateaus. The
sage, always gray, was grayer still, with dust raised by many passing
herds. There was a band of range horses too, those splendid wild-eyed
animals with kingly bearing, and wind-blown tails and manes, lean like
a race-horse, strong-muscled and tough-sinewed, pawing and neighing,
half defiant and half afraid of the sight of men, the only thing alive
to which they pay tribute.

It is a never ending source of wonder, to those unacquainted with the
semi-arid country, how these animals can exist in a land which, to
them, seems utterly destitute and barren. To many such, a meadow
carpeted with blue grass or timothy is the only pasture on which
grazing horses or grazing cattle can exist; the dried-out looking
tufts of bunch-grass, scattered here and there or sheltered at the
roots of the sage, mean nothing; the grama-grass hidden in the
grease-wood is unnoticed or mistaken for a weed.

But if the land was bare of verdure, the rock saved it from being
monotonous. Varied in colour, the red rock predominated--blood-red at
mid-day, orange-tinted at sunset, with gauze-like purple shadows, and
with the delicate blue outlines always found in the Western distances;
such a land could never be called uninteresting.

The banks of the stream, here in the open, were always green. From an
elevation they appeared like two emerald bands through a land of red,
bordering a stream the tint of the aged pottery found along its
shores. We were continually finding new trees and strange shrubs.
Beside the cottonwoods and the willows there was an occasional
wild-cherry tree; in the shrubs were the service-berry, and the
squaw-berry, with sticky, acid-tasting fruit. The cacti were small,
and excepting the prickly pear were confined nearly altogether to a
small "pin-cushion" cactus, growing a little larger as we travelled
south. And always in the mornings when out of the deep canyons the
moist, pungent odour of the sage greeted our nostrils. It is
inseparable from the West. There is no stuffy germ-laden air there,
out in the sage; one is glad to live, simply to breathe it in and
exhale and breathe again.

In Stillwater Canyon the walls ran up to 1300 feet in height, a narrow
canyon, with precipitous sides. Occasionally we could see great
columns of rock standing on top of the mesa. Late one evening we saw
some small cliff dwellings several hundred feet above the river, and a
few crude ladders leaning against the cliff below the dwellings. A
suitable camp could not be made here, or we would have stopped to
examine them. The shores were slippery with mud and quicksands, and
there was no fire-wood in sight. From here to the end of the canyons
we would have to depend almost entirely on the drift-piles for

A landing was finally made where a section of a cliff had toppled from
above, affording a solid footing leading up to the higher bank. We
judged from our maps that we were within a very few miles of the
Colorado River. Here some footprints and signs of an old boat landing,
apparently about a week old, were seen in the sand. This surprised us
somewhat, as we had heard of no one coming down ahead of us.



An hour or two at the oars the next morning sufficed to bring us to
the junction of the Green and the Grand rivers. We tied up our boats,
and prepared to climb out on top, as we had a desire to see the view
from above. A mile back on the Green we had noticed a sort of canyon
or slope breaking down on the west side, affording a chance to reach
the top. Loading ourselves with a light lunch, a full canteen, and our
smaller cameras, we returned to this point and proceeded to climb out.
Powell's second expedition had climbed out at this same place;
Wolverton had also mentioned the fact that he had been out; so we were
quite sure of a successful attempt before we made the climb.

The walk close to the river, over rocks and along narrow ledges, was
hard work; the climb out was even more so. The contour maps which we
carried credited these walls with 1300 feet height. If we had any
doubt concerning the accuracy of this, it disappeared before we
finally reached the top. What we saw, however, was worth all the
discomfort we had undergone. Close the top, three branches of dry,
rock-bottomed gullies carved from a gritty, homogeneous sandstone,
spread out from the slope we had been climbing. These were less
precipitous. Taking the extreme left-hand gully, we found the climb to
the top much easier. At the very end we found an irregular hole a few
feet in diameter not a cave, but an opening left between some immense
rocks, touching at the top, seemingly rolled together.

Gazing down through this opening, we were amazed to find that we were
directly above the Colorado itself. It was so confusing at first that
we had to climb to the very top to see which river it was, I
contending that it was the Green, until satisfied that I was mistaken.
The view from the top was overwhelming, and words can hardly describe
what we saw, or how we were affected by it.

We found ourselves on top of an irregular plateau of solid rock, with
no earth or vegetation save a few little bushes and some very small
cedars in cracks in the rocks. Branching canyons, three or four
hundred feet in depth, and great fissures ran down in this rock at
intervals. Some were dark and crooked, and the bottom could not be
seen. Between these cracks, the rock rounded like elephants backs
sloping steeply on either side. Some could be crossed, some could not.
Others resembled a "maze," the puzzle being how to get from one point
to another a few away. The rock was a sandstone and presented a rough
surface affording a good hold, so there was little danger of slipping.
We usually sat down and "inched" way to the edge of the cracks,
jumping across to little ledges when possible, always helping each

The rock at the very edge of the main canyon overhung, in places 75 to
100 feet, and the great mass of gigantic boulders--sections of
shattered cliffs--on the steep slope near the river gave evidence of a
continual breaking away of these immense rocks.

To the north, across the canyon up which we had climbed, were a great
number of smooth formations, from one hundred to four hundred feet
high, rounded on top in domes, reminding one of Bagdad and tales from
the Arabian Nights. "The Land of Standing Rocks," the Utes call it.
The rock on which we stood was light gray or nearly white; the river
walls at the base for a thousand feet above the river were dark red or
chocolate-brown; while the tops of the formations above this level
were a beautiful light red tint.

But there were other wonders. On the south side of the Colorado's
gorge, miles away, were great spires, pointing heavenward, singly and
in groups, looking like a city of churches. Beyond the spires were the
Blue Mountains, to the east the hazy LaSalle range, and nearest of all
on the west just north of the Colorado lay the snow-covered peaks of
the Henry Mountains. Directly below us was the Colorado River, muddy,
swirllng, and forbidding. A mile away boomed a rapid, beyond that was
another, then the river was lost to view.

Standing on the brink of all this desolation, it is small wonder if we
recalled the accounts of the disasters which had overtaken so many
others in the canyon below us. Many who had escaped the water had
climbed out on to this death trap, as it had proven to be for them,
some to perish of thirst and starvation, a few to stagger into the
ranch below the canyon, a week or more after they had escaped from the
water. Small wonder that some of these had lost their reason. We could
only conjecture at the fate of the party whose wrecked boat had been
found by the Stone expedition, a few miles below this place, with
their tracks still fresh in the sand. No trace of them was ever found.

For the first time it began to dawn on us that we might have tackled a
job beyond our power to complete. Most of the parties which had safely
completed the trip were composed of several men, adding much to the
safety of the expedition, as a whole. Others had boats much lighter
than ours, a great help in many respects. Speaking for myself, I was
just a little faint-hearted, and not a little overawed as we prepared
to return to the boats.

While returning, we saw evidences of ancient Indians--some broken
arrow-heads, and pottery also, and a small cliff ruin under a shelving

What could an Indian find here to interest him! We had found neither
bird, nor rabbit; not even a lizard in the Land of Standing Rocks.
Perhaps they were sun worshippers, and wanted an unobstructed view of
the eastern sky. That at least could be had, in unrivalled grandeur,
here above the Rio Colorado.

The shadows were beginning to lengthen when we finally reached our
boats at the junction. Camp was made under a large weeping willow
tree, the only tree of its kind we remembered having seen on the

While Emery prepared a hasty meal I made a few arrangements for
embarking on the Colorado River the next morning. We were prepared to
bid farewell to the Green River--the stream that had served us so
well. In spite of our trials, even in the upper canyons, we had found
much enjoyment in our passage through its strange and beautiful

From a scenic point of view the canyons of the Green River, with their
wonderful rock formations and stupendous gorges, are second only to
those of the Colorado itself. It is strange they are so little known,
when one considers the comparative ease with which these canyons on
the lower end can be reached. Some day perhaps, surfeited
globe-trotters, after having tired of commonplace scenery and foreign
lands, will learn what a wonderful region this is, here on the lower
end of the Green River.

Then no doubt, Wolverton, or others with similar outfits, will find a
steady stream of sight-seers anxious to take the motor boat ride down
to this point, and up to Moab, Utah, a little Mormon town on the Grand
River. A short ride by automobile from Moab to the D. & R.C. railway
would complete a most wonderful journey; then the transcontinental
journey could be resumed.

So I mused, as I contrived an arrangement of iron hooks and oak sticks
to hold on a hatch cover, from which all the thumb screws had been
lost. More than likely my dream of a line of sight-seeing motor boats
will be long deferred; or they may even meet the fate of Brown's and
Stanton's plans for a railroad down these gorges.

As a reminder of the fate which overtakes so many of our feeble plans,
we found a record of Stanton's survey on a fallen boulder, an
inscription reading "A 81 + 50. Sta. D.C.C. & P.R.R.," the
abbreviations standing for Denver, Colorado Canyons, and Pacific
Railroad. It is possible that the hands that chiselled the inscription
belonged to one of the three men who were afterwards drowned in Marble

Emery--being very practical--interrupted my revery and plans for
future sight-seers by announcing supper. The meal was limited in
variety, but generous in quantity, and consisted of a dried-beef stew,
fried potatoes and cocoa. A satisfied interior soon dispelled all our
previous apprehensiveness. We decided not to run our rapids before we
came to them.

The water still gave indications of being higher than low-water mark,
although it was falling fast on the Green River. Each morning, for
three days previous to our arrival at the junction, we would find the
water about six inches lower than the stage of the evening before.
Strange to say, we gained on the water with each day's rowing, until
we had almost overtaken the stage of water we had lost during the
night. More than likely we would have all the water we needed under
the new conditions which were before us.

Beginning with the Colorado River, we made our journals much more
complete in some ways, giving all the large rapids a number and
describing many of them in detail. This was done, not only for our own
satisfaction, but for the purpose of comparison with others who had
gone through, for many of these rapids have histories.

It was often a question, when on the Green River, where to draw the
line when counting a rapid; this was less difficult when on the
Colorado. While the descent was about the same as in some of the
rapids above, the increased volume of water made them look and act
decidedly different. We drew the line, when counting a rapid, at a
descent having a decided agitation of the water, hidden rocks, or
swift descent and with an eddy or whirlpool below. Major Powell
considered that many of these drops in the next canyon were above the
ordinary rapid, hence the name, Cataract Canyon.

At one of the camps below Green River, Utah boat had been christened
the _Defiance_, by painting the name on the bow. After leaving the
Green we referred to the boats by their respective names, being in the
_Edith_, I in the _Defiance_.




THURSDAY morning, October the 26th, found Emery feeling very poorly,
but insisting on going ahead with our day's work, so Camp No. 34 was
soon behind us. We were embarked on a new stream, flowing
west-southwest, with a body of water ten times the size of that which
we had found in the upper canyons of the Green. Our sixteen-foot boats
looked quite small when compared with the united currents of the Green
and the Grand rivers. The Colorado River must have been about 350 feet
wide here just below the junction, with a three-mile current, and
possibly twenty-five feet deep, although this is only a guess. The
Grand River appeared to be the higher of the two streams, and had a
decidedly red colour, as though a recent storm was being carried down
its gorges; while the colour of the Green was more of a coffee
colour--coffee with a little cream in it.

A fourth of a mile below the junction the two currents began to mix,
with a great ado about it, with small whirlpools and swift eddies, and
sudden outbursts from beneath as though a strangled current was
struggling to escape from the weight which overpowered it. The boats
were twisted this way and that, and hard rowing was necessary to carry
us down to the steadied current, and to the first rapid, which we
could hear when yet far above it.

Soon we were running rapids again, and getting a lot of sport out of
it. There were some rocks, but there was water enough so that these
could be avoided. If one channel did not suit us, we took another, and
although we were drenched in every rapid, and the cockpit was half
filled each time, it was not cold enough to cause us any great
discomfort, and we bailed out at the end of each rapid, then hurried
on to tackle the next. Each of these rapids was from a fourth to a
third of a mile in length. The average was at least one big rapid to
the mile. When No. 5 was reached we paused a little longer, and looked
it over more carefully than we had the others. It had a short, quick
descent, then a long line of white-topped waves, with a big whirlpool
on the right. There were numerous rocks which would take careful work
to avoid. The waves were big,--big enough for a motion picture,--so
Emery remained on shore with both the motion-picture camera and the
8X10 plate camera in position, ready to take the picture, while I ran
my boat.

At the head of this rapid we saw footprints in the sand, but not made
with the same shoe as that which we had noticed above the junction. We
had also seen signs of a camp, and some fishes' heads above this
point, and what we took to be a dog's track along the shore.

At the head of the next rapid we saw them again, but on opposite side
of the river, and could see where boat had been pulled up on the sand.
This next rapid was almost as bad as the one above it, but with a
longer descent, instead of one abrupt drop. The following rapid was so
close that we continued along the shore to look it over at the same
time, saving a stop between the two rapids. The shores were strewn
with a litter of gigantic boulders--fallen sections of the overhanging
cliffs. We found more of this in Cataract Canyon than in any of the
canyons above. This was partly responsible for the violence of the
rapids, although the descent of the river would make rough water even
if there were no boulders. Working back along the shore, we were
suddenly electrified into quick action by seeing the _Edith_ come
floating down the river, close to the shore and almost on the rapid.
Emery was a short distance ahead and ran for the _Defiance_; I caught
up a long pole and got on a projecting rock, hoping I might steer her
in. She passed me, and was soon in the midst of the rapid before Emery
had launched the boat. Three gigantic boulders extended above the
water about fifty feet from shore, with a very crooked channel
between. Down toward these boulders came the _Edith_, plunging like a
thing possessed. How it was done I could never tell, but she passed
through the crooked channel without once touching, and continued over
the rapid. Meanwhile Emery had run the other side and had gained on
the _Edith_, but only caught her when close to the next rapid; so he
turned her loose and came to the shore for me.

Emery had not been feeling his best and I advised him to remain on
shore while I took the boat. As we made the change we again observed
the boat, bounding through the next rapid, whirling on the tops of the
waves as though in the hands of a superhuman juggler. I managed to
overtake her in a whirlpool below the rapid, and came to shore for her
captain. He was nearly exhausted with his efforts; still he insisted
on continuing. A few miles below we saw some ducks, and shot at them
with a revolver. But the ducks flew disdainfully away, and landed in
the pool below.

By 4.30 P.M. we were twelve miles below the junction, a very good
day's run considering the kind of water we were travelling on, and the
amount of time we spent on the shore. We had just run our twelfth
rapid, and were turning the boats around, when we saw a man back from
the shore working over a pile of boxes which he had covered with a
piece of canvas. A boat was tied to the water's edge. We called to
him, and he answered, but did not seem nearly as much interested in
seeing companion travellers as we were, and proceeded with his work.
We landed, and, to save time, introduced ourselves, as there seemed to
be a certain aloofness in his manner. He gave the name of Smith--with
some hesitation, we thought.

Smith was about medium size, but looked tough and wiry; he had a sandy
complexion, with light hair and mustache. He had lost one eye, the
other was that light gray colour that is usually associated with
indomitable nerve. He had a shrewd, rather humorous expression, and
gave one the impression of being very capable. Dressed in a neat
whipcord suit, wearing light shoes and a carefully tied tie, recently
shaved--a luxury we had denied ourselves, all this time--he was
certainly an interesting character to meet in this out-of-the-way
place. We should judge he was a little over forty years old; but
whether prospector, trapper, or explorer it was hard to say. Some
coyote skins, drying on a rock, would give one the impression that he
was the second, with a touch of the latter thrown in. These coyotes
were responsible for the tracks we had seen, and had mistaken for dog
tracks, but of all the canyons we had seen he was in the last place
where we would expect to find a trapper. The coyotes evidently reached
the river gorge through side canyons on the left, where we had seen
signs of ancient trails. Apart from that there was no sign of animal
life. With the last of the wooded canyons, the signs of beaver had
disappeared. There were a few otter tracks, but they are wily fellows,
and are seldom trapped. While there are laws against the trapping of
beaver, they seldom prevent the trappers from taking them when they
get the chance; they are only a little more wary of strangers; the
thought occurred to us that this trapper may have secured some beaver
in the open sections above, and mistrusted us for this reason.

It was too late to go any farther that evening, so we camped a hundred
yards below him, close to where our boats were pulled out. At this
place there was a long, wide flat in the canyon, with plenty of
driftwood, so we saw no reason why we should quarrel with our
neighbour. Smith accepted our invitation to supper, stating that he
had just eaten before we arrived, but enjoyed some pineapple which we
had kept for some special occasion, and which was served for dessert.

Over the table we became better acquainted, and, after learning what
we were doing, he recounted his experiences. He told us he had left
Green River, Utah, a month before, and had been trapping as he came
along. He knew there was a canyon, and some rapids below, but had no
idea they were so bad, and thought they were about ended. No one had
warned him, for he had told no one what he intended doing. He had
bought an old water-logged boat that had been built by Galloway, and
seeing the uselessness of trying to run the rapids with it, worked it
down along the shores by holding it with a light chain. Once he had
been pulled into the river, twice the boat had been upset, and he was
just about dried out from the last spill when we arrived. He had heard
us shooting at the ducks, so rather expected company--this in brief
was his amazing story.

We were surprised when we examined the boat closely. It had been well
made, but was so old and rotten that it seemed ready to fall to
pieces. In places, the nail heads had pulled through the boards. It
was entirely open on top--a great risk in such water. His boxes were
tied in to prevent loss. These boxes were now piled on the shore, with
a large canvas thrown over them. This canvas, fastened at the top and
sloping to the ground, served him for a tent; his bed was underneath.
A pair of high-topped boots, placed bottom up over two sticks, stuck
in the sand beside the camp-fire, explained the different tracks we
had seen above.

Smith evidently was not much alarmed over his situation. About the
only thing that seemed to bother him was the fact that his smoking
tobacco had been wet several times. That evening we got out our
guide-book--Dellenbaugh's "A Canyon Voyage"--and tried to give him an
idea of what was ahead. The walls ahead grew higher, and closer
together; sometimes there was a shore on one side, sometimes on the
other, at one or two places there was no shore on either side, and the
rapids continued to get worse,--so we gathered from Dellenbaugh's
experience. Above this point there were several places where one could
climb out,--we had even seen signs of ancient trails in two side
canyons,--below here few such places existed.

Smith listened to all this attentively, then smiled and said "I guess
there will be some way through." After a short visit he returned to
his camp. We noticed that he slept on his gun,--to keep it dry, no
doubt, for it looked like rain.

Morning found us very sorry that we had not erected our tent, for it
rained nearly all night, but when once in our beds it was a question
which was preferable; to get out in the rain and put up our tent, or
remain in our comfortable beds. We remained where we were. As we
prepared to leave, we offered Smith a chance to accompany us through
Cataract Canyon, telling him that we would help him with his boat
until the quiet water of Glen Canyon was reached. He declined the
opportunity, saying that he would rather travel slowly and do what
trapping he could. He welcomed a chance to take a ride on the
_Defiance_, however. We took him over two small rapids, and gave him
an insight into our method of avoiding the dangers. He was very
enthusiastic about it. On reaching the next rapid we all concluded it
would be very unwise to carry any passengers, for it was violent
water, so he got out on the shore.

Smith had once seen some moving pictures of Japanese shooting rapids,
but he said they were nothing compared to these, remarking that a
bronco could hardly buck any harder. The next rapid was just as bad,
Rapid No. 14 for Cataract Canyon, and Smith helped us secure a motion
picture. Then he prepared to return to his camp. Just before leaving
he explained rather apologetically, that ranchers, or others, were
usually very unfriendly to a stranger coming into their section of the
country. He had heard us shooting at the ducks and he imagined we
belonged in some of the side canyons or on the top. This explained his
puzzling attitude at our first meeting. If he had any beaver skins in
his pack this would make him even more suspicious of strangers. We
wished him nothing but the best of luck, and were good friends when we
parted. His decision to make the trip alone, poorly equipped as he
was, seemed like suicide to us. He promised to write to us if he got
out, and with a final wave of the hand we left him on the shore.

The rapid just passed was possibly the scene of the disaster
discovered by the Stone expedition. They found a clumsy boat close to
the shore, jammed in a mass of rocks, smashed and abandoned. There
were tracks of three people in the sand, one track being a boy's. A
coat was left on the shore. The tracks disappeared up a box canyon.
Mr. Stone corresponded with the only settlements in all that region,
few in number, and far distant; but nothing was ever heard of them,
Two other parties have left Green River, Utah, within a year of this
find and disappeared in like manner. This seemed to be the usual
result of these attempts. In nearly every case they have started in
boats that are entirely unfitted for rough water, and, seemingly
without any knowledge of the real danger ahead, try to follow where
others, properly equipped, have gone through.

What a day of excitement that was! We always thought we needed a
certain amount of thrills to make life sufficiently interesting for
us. In a few hours' time, in the central portion of Cataract Canyon,
we experienced nearly enough thrills to last us a lifetime. In one or
two of the upper canyons we thought we were running rapids. Now we
were learning what rapids really were. No sooner were we through one
than another presented itself. At each of them we climbed along the
boulder-strewn shores--the lower slopes growing steeper, the walls
above towering higher--clear to the end of the rapid. Looking upstream
we could pick out the submerged rocks hidden in the muddy water, and
looking like an innocent wave from above. Twice we had picked out
channels in sharp drops, after carefully observing their actions and
deciding they were free from obstructions, when suddenly the waves
would part for an instant and disclose a hidden rock--in one case as
sharp as a hound's tooth--sure disaster if we ever struck it. As soon
as we had decided on a channel we would lose no time in getting back
to our boats and running it for we could feel our courage oozing from
our finger tips with each second's delay. Time and again we got
through just by a scratch. Success bred confidence; I distinctly
remember feeling that water alone would not upset the boat; that it
would take a collision with a rock to do it. And each time we got
through. Twice I almost had reason to reverse my impression of the
power of water. First the stern rose up in front of me, as if squaring
off at the tops of the cliffs, then descended, until it seemed to be
trying to plumb the depths of the river. The waves, rolling over me,
almost knocked me out of the boat, I lost my hold on the oars and
grabbed the sides of the boat; then, regaining the oars, I finished
the run by pulling with the bow headed downstream, for the boat had
"swapped ends" in the interval, and was heavy with about three barrels
of water in the cockpit. I bailed out with a grocery box, kept under
the seat for that purpose. It had been growing quite cold, and Emery's
indisposition--or what was really acute indigestion--had weakened him
for the past two days, but he pluckily declined to stop. I was soaked
with my last immersion and chilled with the wind, so concluded there
was no use having him go through the same experience and I ran his
boat while he made a picture. We were both ready to camp then, but
there was no suitable place and we had to push on to the next rapid.
On looking it over we almost gave up our intention of running it. It
was about a fourth of a mile long; a mass of submerged rocks extended
entirely across the river; the entire rapid seemed impossible. We
finally concluded it might be run by shooting up, stern first, on a
sloping rock near the shore, then return as the current recoiled and
ran back, dividing on either side of the rock. The only clear channel
was one about twelve feet wide, between this rock and the shore. A
projecting shore above prevented a direct entrance to this channel.

We threw logs in and watched their action. In each case they paused
when within five or six feet of the top of the slope, then returned
with the current, whirled back to the side and shot through close to
the shore. We planned to go through as close together as possible.
Emery was ready first, I held back in a protecting pool, waiting for
him to get out of the way. He got his position, facing stern
downstream, gave the slightest shove forward, and the released boat
whizzed down for fifty feet and ran up on the rock. She paused a
moment, as the water prepared to return. He gave two quick pulls,
shooting back again, slightly to the right, until he struck the narrow
channel, then reversed his course and went through stern first exactly
as we had planned it. The square stern, buoyed up by the air-chamber,
lifted the boat out of the resulting wave as he struck the bottom of
the descent. This much of the rapid had only taken a few seconds.

I followed at once, but was not so fortunate. The _Defiance_ was
carried to the left side, where some water dropped over the side of
the rock, instead of reversing. I pulled frantically, seeing visions,
meanwhile, of the boat and myself being toppled off the side of the
rock, into the boulders and waves below. My rowing had no effect
whatever, but the boat was grabbed by the returning wave and shot, as
if from a catapult, back and around to the right, through the sloping
narrow channel,--my returning course describing a half circle. Instead
of rising, the pointed bow cut down into the waves until the water was
on my shoulders. Emery turned his head for an instant to see what
success I was having, and his boat was thrown on to a rock close to
the shore. I passed him and landed, just before going into the next
rapid. I then went back and helped him off the rock, and he continued
his course over the leaping waves. He broke a rowlock before he
landed, and had to use the substitute we had hung beside it.

We found a good spot for a camp just above the next rapid. Our tent
was stretched in front of a large boulder. A large pile of driftwood
gave us all the fuel needed, and we soon had a big fire going and our
wet clothes steaming on the line.



An hour or so after making our camp, we began to doubt the wisdom of
our choice of a location, for a downpour of rain threatened to send a
stream of water under the tent. The stream was easily turned aside,
while a door and numerous boards found in the drift pile, made a very
good floor for the tent and lifted our sleeping bags off the wet sand.
We had little trouble in this section to find sufficient driftwood for
fires. The pile at this camp was enormous, and had evidently been
gathering for years. Some of it, we could be sure, was recent, for a
large pumpkin was found deposited in the drift pile twenty-five feet
above the low-water stage on which we were travelling. This pumpkin,
of course, could only have come down on the flood that had preceded

What a mixture of curios some of those drift piles were, and what a
great stretch of country they represented! The rivers, unsatisfied
with washing away the fertile soil of the upper country, had levied a
greedy toll on the homes along their banks, as well. Almost everything
that would float, belonging to a home, could be found in some of them.
There were pieces of furniture and toilet articles, children's toys
and harness, several smashed boats had been seen, and bloated cattle
as well. A short distance above this camp we had found two cans of
white paint, carefully placed on top of a big rock above the
high-water mark, by some previous voyager.[5] The boats were beginning
to show the effect of hard usage, so we concluded to take the paint
along. At another point, this same day, we found a corked bottle
containing a faded note, undated, requesting the finder to write to a
certain lady in Delta, Colorado. A note in my journal, beneath a
record of this find, reads: "Aha! A romance at last!" Judging by the
appearance of the note it might have been thrown in many years before.
Delta, we knew, was on the Gunnison River, a tributary of the Grand
River. The bottle must have travelled over two hundred miles to reach
this spot.

A letter which I sent out later brought a prompt answer, with the
information that this bottle and four others with similar notes were
set adrift by the writer and four of her schoolmates, nearly two years
before. An agreement was made that the one first receiving an answer
was to treat the others to a dinner. Our find was the second, so this
young lady was a guest instead of the host.

Emery took but little interest in our camp arrangements this evening,
and went to bed as soon as it was possible for him to do so. He said
little, but he was very weak, and I could tell from his drawn face
that he was suffering, and knew that it was nothing but nervous energy
that kept him at his work--that, and a promise which he had made to
build a fire, within a stated time now less than two weeks away, in
Bright Angel Creek Canyon, nearly three hundred miles below this camp,
a signal to his wife and baby that he would be home the next day. I
was worried about his condition and I feared a fever or pneumonia. For
two or three days he had not been himself. It was one thing to battle
with the river when well and strong; it would be decidedly different
if one of us became seriously ill.

For the first time in all our experiences together, where
determination and skill seemed necessary to success, I had taken the
lead during the past two days, feeling that my greater weight and
strength, perhaps, would help me pull out of danger where he might
fail. In two or three rapids I felt sure he did not have the strength
to pull away from certain places that would smash the boats. After
running the _Defiance_ through these rapids I suggested to him that;
he would take a picture while I brought the _Edith_ down. He would
stay near the _Defiance_, ready to aid in case of emergency. After
being once through a rapid I found it quite a simple matter to run the
second boat, and the knowledge that he would save me in case of an
upset greatly lessened any danger that might have existed. He was too
nervous to sleep, and asked me to take a last look at the boats before
going to bed. They were pulled well up on the shore and securely tied,
I found, so that it would take a flood to tear them loose. The rain,
which had stopped for a while, began again as I rolled into the
blankets; the fire, fed with great cottonwood logs, threw ghostly
shadows on the cliffs which towered above us, and sputtered in the
rain but refused to be drowned; while the roar of rapids, Nos. 22 and
23 combined, thundered and reverberated from wall to wall, and finally
lulled us to sleep.

The rain continued all night, but the weather cleared in the morning.
Emery felt much the same as he had the day before, so we kept the same
camp that day. We took some pictures, and made a few test
developments, hanging the dark-room, or tent, inside the other tent
for want of a better place to tie to.

Sunday, October the 29th, we remained at the same place, and by
evening were both greatly benefited by the rest. On Monday morning we
packed up again, leaving only the moving-picture camera out, and
pictured each other, alternately, as the boats made the Plunge over
the steep descent in rapid No. 23. Both boats disappeared from sight
on two or three occasions in this rapid and emerged nearly filled with

The section just passed is credited with the greatest descent on the
rivers, a fall of 75 feet in 3/4 of a mile. This includes the three
rapids: Nos. 21, 22, and 23.

Proceeding on our way the canyon narrowed, going up almost sheer to a
height of 2500 feet or over. Segregated spires, with castle-like tops,
stood out from the upper walls. The rapids, or cataracts, compared
well with those passed above, connected in some instances by
swift-rushing water instead of the quiet pools which were usually
found between the rapids. We ran ten rapids this day, but several of
these which were counted as one were a series of two or three rapids,
which might be one in high water. All had a shore on one side or the
other, but caution was imperative when crossing in the swift water
between the rapids. A mishap here meant destruction. We figured that
we had travelled about ten miles for this day's run.

The menacing walls continued to go higher with the next day's travel,
until they reached a height of 2700 feet. The left wall was so sheer
that it almost seemed to overhang. The little vegetation which we had
found on the lower slope gradually disappeared as the walls grew
steeper, but a few scattered shrubs, sage-brush, and an occasional
juniper grew on the rocky sides, or in one or two side canyons which
entered from the south. These side canyons had the appearance of
running back for considerable distances, but we did not explore any of
them and could tell very little about them from the river.

After our noon lunch this day, in order to keep our minds from
dwelling too much on the rather depressing surroundings, we proposed
having a little sport. On two or three occasions we had made motion
pictures from the deck of the boats as we rowed in the quiet water;
here we proposed taking a picture from the boats as we went over the
rapids. The two boats were fastened stern to stern, so that the rowing
would be done from the first boat. My brother sat on the bow behind
with the motion-picture camera in front of him, holding it down with
his chin, his legs clinging to the sides of the boat, with his left
hand clutching at the hatch cover, and with his right hand free to
turn the crank. In this way we passed over two small rapids. After
that one experience we never tried it in a large rapid. As Smith had
said a few days before the boat bucked like a broncho, and Emery had a
great deal of difficulty to stay with the boat, to say nothing of
taking a picture. Once or twice he was nearly unseated but pluckily
hung on and kept turning away at the crank when it looked as if he and
the camera would be dumped into the river.

At one point in the lower end of Cataract Canyon we saw the name and
date A.G. Turner, '07. Below this, close to the end of the canyon,
were some ruins of cliff dwellings, and a ladder made by white men,
placed against the walls below the ruins.

On reaching a very deep, narrow canyon entering from the south,
locally known as Dark Canyon, we knew that we were nearing the end of
the rapids in Cataract Canyon. Dark Canyon extends a great distance
back into the country, heading in the mountains we had seen to the
south, when we climbed out at the junction of the Green and the Grand.
Pine cones and other growths entirely foreign to the growth of the
desert region were found near its mouth. A flood had recently filled
the bottom of this narrow canyon to a depth of several feet, but the
water had settled down again and left a little stream of clear water
running through the boulders. The rapid at the end of this canyon was
one of the worst of the entire series, and had been the scene of more
than one fatality, we had been told. It had a very difficult approach
and swung against the right wall, then the water was turned abruptly
to the left by a great pile of fallen boulders. The cresting waves
looked more like breakers of the ocean than anything we had seen on
the river.

We each had a good scare as we ran this rapid. Emery was completely
hidden from my view, he was nearly strangled and blinded by the waves
for a few seconds while struggling in the maelstrom; the _Edith_ was
dropped directly on top of a rock in the middle of this rapid, then
lifted on the next wave. I also had a thrilling experience but avoided
the rock. In the lower part of the rapid a rowlock pulled apart; and
to prevent the boat from turning sideways in the rapid, I threw up my
knee, holding the oar against it for a lever until I was in quieter
water, and could get the other rowlock in position.

Separated from my brother in this instance, I had an opportunity to
see the man and water conflict, with a perspective much as it would
have appeared to a spectator happening on the scene. I was out of the
heat of the battle. The excitement and indifference to danger that
comes with a hand-to-hand grapple was gone. I heard the roar of the
rapid; a roar so often heard that we forgot it was there. I saw the
gloom of the great gorge, and the towering, sinister shafts of rock,
weakened with cracks, waiting for the moment that would send them
crashing to the bottom. I saw the mad, wild water hurled at the
curving wall. Jagged rocks, like the bared fangs of some
dream-monster, appeared now and then in the leaping, tumbling waves.
Then down toward the turmoil--dwarfed to nothingness by the magnitude
of the walls--sped the tiny shell-like boat, running smoothly like a
racing machine! There was no rowing. The oar-blades were tipped high
to avoid loss in the first comber; then the boat was buried in foam,
and staggered through on the other side. It was buffeted here and
there, now covered with a ton of water, now topping a ten-foot wave.
Like a skilled boxer--quick of eye, and ready to seize any temporary
advantage--the oarsman shot in his oars for two quick strokes, to
straighten the boat with the current or dodge a threatening boulder;
then covered by lifting his oars and ducking his head as a brown flood
rolled over him. Time and again the manoeuvre was repeated: now here
now there. One would think the chances were about one to a hundred
that he would get through. But by some sort of a system, undoubtedly
aided, many times, by good luck, the man and his boat won to land.

After running a small rapid, we came to another, in the centre of
which was an island,--the last rapid in Cataract Canyon. While not as
bad as the one at Dark Canyon it was rather difficult, and at this
point we found no shore on either side. The south side was rendered
impassable by great boulders, much higher than the river level, which
were scattered through the channel. The opposite channel began much
like the rapid at Dark Canyon, sweeping under the wall until turned by
a bend and many fallen rocks below the end of the island, then crossed
with a line of cresting waves to the opposite side, where it was
joined by the other stream, and the left wall was swept clean in like
manner. We ran it by letting our boats drop into the stream, but
pulled away from the wall and kept close to the island, then when its
end was reached crossed the ridge of waves and pulled for the
right-hand shore. In such rapids as this we often found the line of
waves in the swift-rushing centre to be several feet higher than the
water along the shore.

Then our thoughts reverted to Smith. What would he do when he came to
this rapid? The only escape was a narrow sloping ledge on the right
side, beginning close to the water some distance above the rapid,
reaching a height of sixty or seventy feet above the water at the
lower end, while a descent could be made to the river some distance
below here. It would be possible for him to climb over this with his
provisions, but the idea of taking his boat up there was entirely out
of the question, and, poorly equipped as he was, an attempt to run it
would surely end in disaster. The breaking of an oar, the loss of a
rowlock, or the slightest knock of his rotten boat against a rock, and
Smith's fate would be similar to those others whose bones lay buried
in the sands.

In the next four miles we had no more rapids, but had some fine
travelling on a very swift river. It was getting dusk, but we pulled
away, for just ahead of us was the end of Cataract Canyon. We camped
by a large side canyon on the left named Mille Crag Bend, with a great
number of jagged pinnacles gathered in a group at the top of the
walls, which had dropped down to a height of about 1300 feet. We felt
just a little proud of our achievement, and believed we had
established a record for Cataract Canyon, having run all rapids in
four days' travelling, and come through in safety.

We had one rapid to run the next morning at the beginning of Narrow
Canyon, the only rapid in this nine-mile long canyon. The walls here
at the beginning were twelve or thirteen hundred feet high, and
tapered to the end, where they rise about four hundred feet above the
Dirty Devil River. Narrow Canyon contains the longest straight stretch
of river which we remembered having seen. When five miles from its
mouth we could look through and see the snow-capped peak of Mt.
Ellsworth beyond. This peak is one of the five that composes the Henry
Mountains, which lay to the north of the river.

Three hours' rowing brought us to the end. We paused a few minutes to


Back to Full Books