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Canyons of the Colorado by J. W. Powell

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_May 27.--_To-day it rains, and we employ the time in repairing one of
our barometers, which was broken on the way from New York. A new tube
has to be put in; that is, a long glass tube has to be filled with
mercury, four or five inches at a time, and each installment boiled over
a spirit lamp. It is a delicate task to do this without breaking the
glass; but we have success, and are ready to measure mountains once

_May 28.--_To-day we go to the summit of the cliff on the left and take
observations for altitude, and are variously employed in topographic and
geologic work.

_May 29.--_This morning Bradley and I cross the river and climb more
than a thousand feet to a point where we can see the stream sweeping in
a long, beautiful curve through the gorge below. Turning and looking to
the west, we can see the valley of Henry's Fork, through which, for many
miles, the little river flows in a tortuous channel. Cottonwood groves
are planted here and there along its course, and between them are
stretches of grass land. The narrow mountain valley is inclosed on
either side by sloping walls of naked rock of many bright colors. To the
south of the valley are the Uintas, and the peaks of the Wasatch
Mountains can be faintly seen in the far west. To the north, desert
plains, dotted here and there with curiously carved hills and buttes,
extend to the limit of vision.

For many years this valley has been the home of a number of
mountaineers, who were originally hunters and trappers, living with the
Indians. Most of them have one or more Indian wives. They no longer roam
with the nomadic tribes in pursuit of buckskin or beaver, but have
accumulated herds of cattle and horses, and consider themselves quite
well to do. Some of them have built cabins; others still live in lodges.
John Baker is one of the most famous of these men, and from our point of
view we can see his lodge, three or four miles up the river.

The distance from Green River City to Flaming Gorge is 62 miles. The
river runs between bluffs, in some places standing so close to each
other that no flood plain is seen. At such a point the river might
properly be said to run through a canyon. The bad lands on either side
are interrupted here and there by patches of _Artemisia,_ or sage brush.
Where there is a flood plain along either side of the river, a few
cottonwoods may be seen.



One must not think of a mountain range as a line of peaks standing on a
plain, but as a broad platform many miles wide from which mountains have
been carved by the waters. One must conceive, too, that this plateau is
cut by gulches and canyons in many directions and that beautiful valleys
are scattered about at different altitudes. The first series of canyons
we are about to explore constitutes a river channel through such a range
of mountains. The canyon is cut nearly halfway through the range, then
turns to the east and is cut along the central line, or axis, gradually
crossing it to the south. Keeping this direction for more than 50 miles,
it then turns abruptly to a southwest course, and goes diagonally
through the southern slope of the range.

This much we know before entering, as we made a partial exploration of
the region last fall, climbing many of its peaks, and in a few places
reaching the brink of the canyon walls and looking over precipices many
hundreds of feet high to the water below.

Here and there the walls are broken by lateral canyons, the channels of
little streams entering the river. Through two or three of these we
found our way down to the Green in early winter and walked along the low
water-beach at the foot of the cliffs for several miles. Where the river
has this general easterly direction the western part only has cut for
itself a canyon, while the eastern has formed a broad valley, called, in
honor of an old-time trapper, Brown's Park, and long known as a favorite
winter resort for mountain men and Indians.

_May 30.--_This morning we are ready to enter the mysterious canyon, and
start with some anxiety. The old mountaineers tell us that it cannot be
run; the Indians say, "Water heap catch 'em"; but all are eager for the
trial, and off we go.

Entering Flaming Gorge, we quickly run through it on a swift current and
emerge into a little park. Half a mile below, the river wheels sharply
to the left and enters another canyon cut into the mountain. We enter
the narrow passage. On either side the walls rapidly increase in
altitude. On the left are overhanging ledges and cliffs,--500, 1,000,
1,500 feet high.

On the right the rocks are broken and ragged, and the water fills the
channel from cliff to cliff. Now the river turns abruptly around a point
to the right, and the waters plunge swiftly down among great rocks; and
here we have our first experience with canyon rapids. I stand up on the
deck of my boat to seek a way among the wave-beaten rocks. All untried
as we are with such waters, the moments are filled with intense anxiety.
Soon our boats reach the swift current; a stroke or two, now on this.
side, now on that, and we thread the narrow passage with exhilarating
Velocity, mounting the high waves, whose foaming crests dash over us,
and plunging into the troughs, until we reach the quiet water below.
Then comes a feeling of great relief. Our first rapid is run. Another
mile, and we come into the valley again.

Let me explain this canyon. Where the river turns to the left above, it
takes a course directly into the mountain, penetrating to its very
heart, then wheels back upon itself, and runs out into the valley from
which it started only half a mile below the point at which it entered;
so the canyon is in the form of an elongated letter U, with the apex in
the center of the mountain. We name it Horseshoe Canyon.

Soon we leave the valley and enter another short canyon, very narrow at
first, but widening below as the canyon walls increase in height. Here
we discover the mouth of a beautiful little creek coming down through
its narrow water-worn cleft. Just at its entrance there is a park of two
or three hundred acres, walled on every side by almost vertical cliffs
hundreds of feet in altitude, with three gateways through the walls--one
up the river, another down, and a third through which the creek comes
in. The river is broad, deep, and quiet, and its waters mirror towering

Kingfishers are playing about the streams, and so we adopt as names
Kingfisher Creek, Kingfisher Park, and Kingfisher Canyon. At night we
camp at the foot of this canyon.

Our general course this day has been south, but here the river turns to
the east around a point which is rounded to the shape of a dome. On its
sides little cells have been carved by the action of the water, and in
these pits, which cover the face of the dome, hundreds of swallows have
built their nests. As they flit about the cliffs, they look like swarms
of bees, giving to the whole the appearance of a colossal beehive of the
old-time form, and so we name it Beehive Point.

The opposite wall is a vast amphitheater, rising in a succession of
terraces to a height of 1,200 or 1,500 feet. Each step is built of red
sandstone, with a face of naked red rock and a glacis clothed with
verdure. So the amphitheater seems banded red and green, and the evening
sun is playing with roseate flashes on the rocks, with shimmering green
on the cedars' spray, and with iridescent gleams on the dancing waves.
The landscape revels in the sunshine.

_May 31.--_We start down another canyon and reach rapids made dangerous
by high rocks lying in the channel; so we run ashore and let our boats
down with lines. In the afternoon we come to more dangerous rapids and
stop to examine them. I find we must do the same work again, but, being
on the wrong side of the river to obtain a foothold, must first cross
over--no very easy matter in such a current, with rapids and rocks
below. We take the pioneer boat, "Emma Dean," over, and unload her on
the bank; then she returns and takes another load. Running back and
forth, she soon has half our cargo over. Then one of the larger boats is
manned and taken across, but is carried down almost to the rocks in
spite of hard rowing. The other boats follow and make the landing, and
we go into camp for the night.

At the foot of the cliff on this side there is a long slope covered with
pines; under these we make our beds, and soon after sunset are seeking
rest and sleep. The cliffs on either side are of red sandstone and
stretch toward the heavens 2,500 feet. On this side the long, pine-clad
slope is surmounted by perpendicular cliffs, with pines on their
summits. The wall on the other side is bare rock from the water's edge
up 2,000 feet, then slopes back, giving footing to pines and cedars.

As the twilight deepens, the rocks grow dark and somber; the threatening
roar of the water is loud and constant, and I lie awake with thoughts of
the morrow and the canyons to come, interrupted now and then by
characteristics of the scenery that attract my attention. And here I
make a discovery. On looking at the mountain directly in front, the
steepness of the slope is greatly exaggerated, while the distance to its
summit and its true altitude are correspondingly diminished. I have
heretofore found that to judge properly of the slope of a mountain side,
one must see it in profile. In coming down the river this afternoon, I
observed the slope of a particular part of the wall and made an estimate
of its altitude. While at supper, I noticed the same cliff from a
position facing it, and it seemed steeper, but not half so high. Now
lying on my side and looking at it, the true proportions appear. This
seems a wonder, and I rise to take a view of it standing. It is the same
cliff as at supper time. Lying down again, it is the cliff as seen in
profile, with a long slope and distant summit. Musing on this, I forget
"the morrow and the canyons to come"; I have found a way to estimate the
altitude and slope of an inclination, in like manner as I can judge of
distance along the horizon. The reason is simple. A reference to the
stereoscope will suggest it. The distance between the eyes forms a base
line for optical triangulation.

_June 1.--_To-day we have an exciting ride. The river rolls down the
canyon at a wonderful rate, and, with no rocks in the way, we make
almost railroad speed. Here and there the water rushes into a narrow
gorge; the rocks on the side roll it into the center in great waves, and
the boats go leaping and bounding over these like things of life,
reminding me of scenes witnessed in Middle Park--herds of startled deer
bounding through forests beset with fallen timber. I mention the
resemblance to some of the hunters, and so striking is it that the
expression, "See the blacktails jumping the logs," comes to be a common
one. At times the waves break and roll over the boats, which
necessitates much bailing and obliges us to stop occasionally for that
purpose. At one time we run twelve miles in an hour, stoppages included.

Last spring I had a conversation with an old Indian named Pariate, who
told me about one of his tribe attempting to run this canyon. "The
rocks," he said, holding his hands above his head, his arms vertical,
and looking between them to the heavens, "the rocks h-e-a-p,


h-e-a-p high; the water go h-oo-woogh, h-oo-woogh; water-pony li-e-a-p
buck; water catch 'em; no see 'em Injun any more! no see 'em squaw any
more! no see 'em papoose any more!"

Those who have seen these wild Indian ponies rearing alternately before
and behind, or "bucking," as it is called in the vernacular, will
appreciate his description.

At last we come to calm water, and a threatening roar is heard in the
distance. Slowly approaching the point whence the sound issues, we come
near to falls, and tie up just above them on the left. Here we shall be
compelled to make a portage; so we unload the boats, and fasten a long
line to the bow of the smaller one, and another to the stern, and moor
her close to the brink of the fall. Then the bowline is taken below and
made fast; the stern line is held by five or six men, and the boat let
down as long as they can hold her against the rushing waters; then,
letting go one end of the line, it runs through the ring; the boat leaps
over the fall and is caught by the lower rope.

Now we rest for the night.

_June 2.--_This morning we make a trail among the rocks, transport the
cargoes to a point below the fall, let the remaining boats over, and are
ready to start before noon.

On a high rock by which the trail passes we find the inscription:
"Ashley 18-5." The third figure is obscure--some of the party reading it
1835, some 1855. James Baker, an old-time mountaineer, once told me
about a party of men starting down the river, and Ashley was named as
one. The story runs that the boat was swamped, and some of the party
drowned in one of the canyons below. The word "Ashley" is a warning to
us, and we resolve on great caution. Ashley Falls is the name we give to
the cataract.

The river is very narrow, the right wall vertical for 200 or 300 feet,
the left towering to a great height, with a vast pile of broken rocks
lying between the foot of the cliff and the water. Some of the rocks
broken down from the ledge above have tumbled into the channel and
caused this fall. One great cubical block, thirty or forty feet high,
stands in the middle of the stream, and the waters, parting to either
side, plunge down about twelve feet, and are broken again by the smaller
rocks into a rapid below. Immediately below the falls the water occupies
the entire channel, there being no talus at the foot of the cliffs.

We embark and run down a short distance, where we find a landing-place
for dinner.

On the waves again all the afternoon. Near the lower end of this canyon,
to which we have given the name of Red Canyon, is a little park, where
streams come down from distant mountain summits and enter the river on
either side; and here we camp for the night under two stately pines.

_June 3.--_This morning we spread our rations, clothes, etc., on the
ground to dry, and several of the party go out for a hunt. I take a walk
of five or six miles up to a pine-grove park, its grassy carpet bedecked
with crimson velvet flowers, set in groups on the stems of pear-shaped
cactus plants; patches of painted cups are seen here and there, with
yellow blossoms protruding through scarlet bracts; little blue-eyed
flowers are peeping through the grass; and the air is filled with
fragrance from the white blossoms of the _Spiraea._ A mountain brook
runs through the midst, ponded below by beaver dams. It is a quiet place
for retirement from the raging waters of the canyon.

It will be remembered that the course of the river from Flaming Gorge to
Beehive Point is in a southerly direction and at right angles to the
Uinta Mountains, and cuts into the range until it reaches a point within
five miles of the crest, where it turns to the east and pursues a course
not quite parallel to the trend of the range, but crosses the axis
slowly in a direction a little south of east. Thus there is a triangular
tract between the river and the axis of the mountain, with its acute
angle extending eastward. I climb the mountain overlooking this country.
To the east the peaks are not very high, and already most of the snow
has melted, but little patches lie here and there under the lee of
ledges of rock. To the west the peaks grow higher and the snow fields
larger. Between the brink of the canyon and the foot of these peaks,
there is a high bench. A number of creeks have their sources in the
snowbanks to the south and run north into the canyon, tumbling down from
3,000 to 5,000 feet in a distance of five or six miles. Along their
upper courses they run through grassy valleys, but as they approach Red
Canyon they rapidly disappear under the general surface of the country,
and emerge into the canyon below in deep, dark gorges of their own. Each
of these short lateral canyons is marked by a succession of cascades and
a wild confusion of rocks and trees and fallen timber and thick

The little valleys above are beautiful parks; between the parks are
stately pine forests, half hiding ledges of red sandstone. Mule deer and
elk abound; grizzly bears, too, are abundant; and here wild cats,
wolverines, and mountain lions are at home. The forest aisles are filled
with the music of birds, and the parks are decked with flowers. Noisy
brooks meander through them; ledges of moss-covered rocks are seen; and
gleaming in the distance are the snow fields, and the mountain tops are
away in the clouds.

_June 4-_--We start early and run through to Brown's Park. Halfway down
the valley, a spur of a red mountain stretches across the river, which
cuts a canyon through it. Here the walls are comparatively low, but
vertical. A vast number of swallows have built their _adobe_ houses on
the face of the cliffs, on either side of the river. The waters are deep
and quiet, but the swallows are swift and noisy enough, sweeping by in
their curved paths through the air or chattering from the rocks, while
the young ones stretch their little heads on naked necks through the
doorways of their mud houses and clamor for food. They are a noisy
people. We call this Swallow Canyon.

Still down the river we glide until an early hour in the afternoon, when
we go into camp under a giant cottonwood standing on the right bank a
little way back from the stream. The party has succeeded in killing a
fine lot of wild ducks, and during the afternoon a mess of fish is

_June 5._--With one of the men I climb a mountain, off on the right. A
long spur, with broken ledges of rock, puts down to the river, and along
its course, or up the "hogback," as it is called, I make the ascent.
Dunn, who is climbing to the same point, is coming up the gulch. Two
hours' hard work has brought us to the summit. These mountains are all
verdure-clad; pine and cedar forests are set on green terraces;
snow-clad mountains are seen in the distance, to the west; the plains of
the upper Green stretch out before us to the north until they are lost
in the blue heavens; but half of the river-cleft range intervenes, and
the river itself is at our feet.

This half range, beyond the river, is composed of long ridges nearly
parallel with the valley. On the farther ridge, to the north, four
creeks have their sources. These cut through the intervening ridges, one
of which is much higher than that on which they head, by canyon gorges;
then they run with gentle curves across the valley, their banks set with
willows, box-elders, and cottonwood groves. To the east we look up the
valley of the Vermilion, through which Fremont found his path on his way
to the great parks of Colorado.

The reading of the barometer taken, we start down in company, and reach
camp tired and hungry, which does not abate one bit our enthusiasm as we
tell of the day's work with its glory of landscape.

_June 6._--At daybreak I am awakened by a chorus of birds. It seems as
if all the feathered songsters of the region have come to the old tree.
Several species of warblers, woodpeckers, and flickers above, meadow
larks in the grass, and wild geese in the river. I recline on my elbow
and watch a lark near by, and then awaken my bedfellow, to listen to my
Jenny Lind. A real morning concert for _me;_ none of your _"matinees"!_

Our cook has been an ox-driver, or "bull-whacker," on the plains, in
one of those long trains now no longer seen, and he hasn't forgotten his
old ways. In the midst of the concert, his voice breaks in: "Roll out!
roll out! bulls in the corral! chain up the gaps! Roll out! roll out!
roll out!" And this is our breakfast bell.

To-day we pass through, the park, and camp at the head of another

_June 7.--_To-day two or three of us climb to the summit of the cliff on
the left, and find its altitude above camp to be 2,086 feet. The rocks
are split with fissures, deep and narrow, sometimes a hundred feet or
more to the bottom, and these fissures are filled with loose earth and
decayed vegetation in which lofty pines find root. On a rock we find a
pool of clear, cold water, caught from yesterday evening's shower. After
a good drink we walk out to the brink of the canyon and look down to the
water below. I can do this now, but it has taken several years of
mountain climbing to cool my nerves so that I can sit with my feet over
the edge and calmly look down a precipice 2,000 feet. And yet I cannot
look on and see another do the same. I must either bid him come away or
turn my head. The canyon walls are buttressed on a grand scale, with
deep alcoves intervening; columned crags crown the cliffs, and the river
is rolling below.

When we return to camp at noon the sun shines in splendor on vermilion
walls, shaded into green and gray where the rocks are lichened over; the
river fills the channel from wall to wall, and the canyon opens, like a
beautiful portal, to a region of glory. This evening, as I write, the
sun is going down and the shadows are settling in the canyon. The
vermilion gleams and roseate hues, blending with the green and gray
tints, are slowly changing to somber brown above, and black shadows are
creeping over them below; and now it is a dark portal to a region of
gloom--the gateway through which we are to enter on our voyage of
exploration tomorrow. What shall we find?

The distance from Flaming Gorge to Beehive Point is 9 2/3 miles. Besides
passing through the gorge, the river runs through Horseshoe and
Kingfisher canyons, separated by short valleys. The highest point on the
walls at Flaming Gorge is 1,300 feet above the river. The east wall at
the apex of Horseshoe Canyon is about 1,600 feet above the water's edge,
and from this point the walls slope both to the head and foot of the

Kingfisher Canyon, starting at the water's edge above, steadily
increases in altitude to 1,200 feet at the foot.

Red Canyon is 25 2/3 miles long, and the highest walls are about 2,500

Brown's Park is a valley, bounded on either side by a mountain range,
really an expansion of the canyon. The river, through the park, is 35
1/2 miles long, but passes through two short canyons on its way, where
spurs from the mountains on the south are thrust across its course.



_June 8_.--We enter the canyon, and until noon find a succession of
rapids, over which, our boats have to be taken. Here I must explain our
method of proceeding at such places. The "Emma Dean "'goes in advance;
the other boats follow, in obedience to signals. When we approach a
rapid, or what on other rivers would often be called a fall, I stand on
deck to examine it, while the oarsmen back water, and we drift on as
slowly as possible. If I can see a clear chute between the rocks, away
we go; but if the channel is beset entirely across, we signal the other
boats, pull to land, and I walk along the shore for closer examination.
If this reveals no clear channel, hard work begins. We drop the boats to
the very head of the dangerous place and let them over by lines or make
a portage, frequently carrying both boats and cargoes over the rocks.

The waves caused by such falls in a river differ much from the waves of
the sea. The water of an ocean wave merely rises and falls; the form
only passes on, and form chases form unceasingly. A body floating on
such waves merely rises and sinks--does not progress unless impelled by
wind or some other power. But here the water of the wave passes on while
the form remains. The waters plunge down ten or twenty feet to the foot
of a fall, spring up again in a great wave, then down and up in a series
of billows that gradually disappear in the more quiet waters below; but
these waves are always there, and one can stand above and count them.

A boat riding such billows leaps and plunges along with great velocity.
Now, the difficulty in riding over these falls, when no rocks are in the
way, is with the first wave at the foot. This will sometimes gather for
a moment, heap up higher and higher, and then break back.

If the boat strikes it the instant after it breaks, she cuts through,
and the mad breaker dashes its spray over the boat and washes overboard
all who do not cling tightly. If the boat, in going over the falls,
chances to get caught in some side current and is turned from its
course, so as to strike the wave _"_broadside on," and the wave breaks
at the same instant, the boat is capsized; then we must cling to her,
for the water-tight compartments act as buoys and she cannot sink; and
so we go, dragged through the waves, until still waters are reached,
when we right the boat and climb aboard. We have several such
experiences to-day.

At night we camp on the right bank, on a little shelving rock between
the river and the foot of the cliff; and with night comes gloom into
these great depths. After supper we sit by our camp fire, made of
driftwood caught by the rocks, and tell stories of wild life; for the
men have seen such in the mountains or on the plains, and on the
battlefields of the South. It is late before we spread our blankets on
the beach.

Lying down, we look up through the canyon and see that only a little of
the blue heaven appears overhead--a crescent of blue sky, with two or
three constellations peering down upon us. I do not sleep for some time,
as the excitement of the day has not worn off. Soon I see a bright star
that appears to rest on the very verge of the cliff overhead to the
east. Slowly it seems to float from its resting place on the rock over
the canyon. At first it appears like a jewel set on the brink of the
cliff, but as it moves out from the rock _I_ almost wonder that it does
not fall. In fact, it does seem to descend in a gentle curve, as though
the bright sky in which the stars are set were spread across the canyon,
resting on either wall, and swayed down by its own weight. The stars
appear to be in the canyon. I soon discover that it is the bright star
Vega; so it occurs to me to designate this part of the wall as the
"Cliff of the Harp."

_June 9.--_One of the party suggests that we call this the Canyon of
Lodore, and the name is adopted. Very slowly we make our way, often
climbing on the rocks at the edge of the water for a few hundred yards
to examine the channel before running it. During the afternoon we come
to a place where it is necessary to make a portage. The little boat is
landed and the others are signaled to come up.

When these rapids or broken falls occur usually the channel is suddenly
narrowed by rocks which have been tumbled from the cliffs or have been
washed in by lateral streams. Immediately above the narrow, rocky
channel, on one or both sides, there is often a bay of quiet water, in
which a landing can be made with ease. Sometimes the water descends with
a smooth, unruffled surface from the broad, quiet spread above into the
narrow, angry channel below by a semicircular sag. Great care must be
taken not to pass over the brink into this deceptive pit, but above it
we can row with safety. I walk along the bank to examine the ground,
leaving one of my men with a flag to guide the other boats to the
landing-place. I soon see one of the boats make shore all right, and
feel no more concern; but a minute after, I hear a shout, and, looking
around, see one of the boats shooting down the center of the sag. It is
the "No Name," with Captain Howland, his brother, and Goodman. I feel
that its going over is inevitable, and run to save the third boat. A
minute more, and she turns the point and heads for the shore. Then I
turn down stream again and scramble along to look for the boat that has
gone over. The first fall is not great, only 10 or 12 feet, and we often
run such; but below, the river tumbles down again for 40 or 50 feet, in
a channel filled with dangerous rocks that break the waves into
whirlpools and beat them into foam. I pass around a great crag just in
time to see the boat strike a rock and, rebounding from the shock,
careen and fill its open compartment with water. Two of the men lose
their oars; she swings around and is carried down at a rapid rate,
broadside on, for a few yards, when, striking amidships on another rock
with great force, she is broken quite in two and the men are thrown into
the river. But the larger part of the boat floats buoyantly, and they
soon seize it, and down the river they drift, past the rocks for a few
hundred yards, to a second rapid filled with huge boulders, where the
boat strikes again and is dashed to pieces, and the men and fragments
are soon carried beyond my sight. Running along, I turn a bend and see a
man's head above the water, washed about in a whirlpool below a great
rock. It is Frank Goodman, clinging to the rock with a grip upon which
life depends. Coming opposite, I see Howland trying to go to his aid
from an island on which he has been washed. Soon he comes near enough to
reach Prank with a pole, which he extends toward him. The latter lets go
the rock, grasps the pole, and is pulled ashore. Seneca Howland is
washed farther down the island and is caught by some rocks, and, though
somewhat bruised, manages to get ashore in safety. This seems a long
time as I tell it, but it is quickly done.

And now the three men are on an island, with a swift, dangerous river on
either side and a fall below. The "Emma Dean" is soon brought down, and
Sumner, starting above as far as possible, pushes out. Right skillfully
he plies the oars, and a few strokes set him on the island at the proper
point. Then they all pull the boat up stream as far as they are able,
until they stand in water up to their necks. One sits on a rock and
holds the boat until the others are ready to pull, then gives the boat a
push, clings to it with his hands, and climbs in as they pull for
mainland, which they reach in safety. We are as glad to shake hands with
them as though they had been on a voyage around the world and wrecked on
a distant coast.

Down the river half a mile we find that the after cabin of the
wrecked boat, with a part of the bottom, ragged and splintered, has
floated against a rock and stranded. There are valuable articles in the
cabin; but, on examination, we determine that life should not
be risked to save them. Of course, the cargo of rations, instruments,
and clothing is gone.

We return to the boats and make camp for the night. No sleep comes to me
in all those dark hours. The rations, instruments, and clothing have
been divided among the boats, anticipating such an accident as this; and
we started with duplicates of everything that was deemed necessary to
success. But, in the distribution, there was one exception to this
precaution--the barometers were all placed in one boat, and they are
lost! There is a possibility that they are in the cabin lodged against
the rock, for that is where they were kept. But, then, how to reach
them? The river is rising. Will they be there to-morrow? Can I go out to
Salt Lake City and obtain barometers from New York?

_June 10.--_I have determined to get the barometers from the wreck, if
they are there. After breakfast, while the men make the portage, I go
down again for another examination, There the cabin lies, only carried
50 or 60 feet farther on. Carefully looking over the ground, I am
satisfied that it can be reached with safety, and return to tell the men
my conclusion. Sumner and Dunn volunteer to take the little boat and
make the attempt. They start, reach it, and out come the barometers!
The boys set up a shout, and I join them, pleased that they should be as
glad as myself to save the instruments. When the boat lands on our side,
I find that the only things saved from the wreck were the barometers, a
package of thermometers, and a three-gallon keg of whiskey. The last is
what the men were shouting about. They had taken it aboard unknown to
me, and now I am glad they did take it, for it will do them good, as
they are drenched every day by the melting snow which runs down from the
summits of the Rocky Mountains.

We come back to our work at the portage and find that it is necessary to
carry our rations over the rocks for nearly a mile and to let our boats
down with lines, except at a few points, where they also must be
carried. Between the river and the eastern wall of the canyon there is
an immense talus of broken rocks. These have tumbled down from the
cliffs above and constitute a vast pile of huge angular fragments. On
these we build a path for a quarter of a mile to a small sand-beach
covered with driftwood, through which we clear a way for several
hundred yards, then continue the trail over another pile of rocks nearly
half a mile farther down, to a little bay. The greater part of the day
is spent in this work. Then we carry our cargoes down to the beach and
camp for the night.

While the men are building the camp fire, we discover an iron bake-oven,
several tin plates, a part of a boat, and many other fragments, which
denote that this is the place where Ashley's party was wrecked.

_June 11.--_This day is spent in carrying our rations down to the
bay--no small task, climbing over the rocks with sacks of flour and
bacon. We carry them by stages of about 500 yards each, and when night
comes and the last sack is on the beach, we are tired, bruised, and glad
to sleep.

_June 12.--_To-day we take the boats down to the bay. While at this work
we discover three sacks of flour from the wrecked boat that have lodged
in the rocks. We carry them above high-water mark and leave them, as our
cargoes are already too heavy for the three remaining boats. We also
find two or three oars, which we place with them.

As Ashley and his party were wrecked here and as we have lost one of our
boats at the same place, we adopt the name Disaster Falls for the scene
of so much peril and loss.

Though some of his companions were drowned, Ashley and one other
survived the wreck, climbed the canyon wall, and found their way across
the Wasatch Mountains to Salt Lake City, living chiefly on berries, as
they wandered through an unknown and difficult country. When they
arrived at Salt Lake they were almost destitute of clothing and nearly
starved. The Mormon people gave them food and clothing and employed them
to work on the foundation of the Temple until they had earned sufficient
to enable them to leave the country. Of their subsequent history, I have
no knowledge. It is possible they returned to the scene of the disaster,
as a little creek entering the river below is known as Ashley's Creek,
and it is reported that he built a cabin and trapped on this river for
one or two winters; but this may have been before the disaster.

_June 13._--Rocks, rapids, and portages still. We camp to-night at the
foot of the left fall, on a little patch of flood plain covered with a
dense growth of box-elders, stopping early in order to spread the
clothing and rations to dry. Everything is wet and spoiling.

_June 14._--Howland and I climb the wall on the west side of the canyon
to an altitude of 2,000 feet. Standing above and looking to the west, we
discover a large park, five or six miles wide and twenty or thirty long.
The cliff we have climbed forms a wall between the canyon and the park,
for it is 800 feet down the western side to the valley. A creek comes
winding down 1,200 feet above the river, and, entering the intervening
wall by a canyon, plunges down more than 1,000 feet, by a broken
cascade, into the river below.

_June 15._--To-day, while we make another portage, a peak, standing on
the east wall, is climbed by two of the men and found to be 2,700 feet
above the river. On the east side of the canyon a vast amphitheater has
been cut, with massive buttresses and deep, dark alcoves in which
grow beautiful mosses and delicate ferns, while springs burst out from
the farther recesses and wind in silver threads over floors of sand
rock. Here we have three falls in close succession. At the first the
wa$er is compressed into a very narrow channel against the right-hand
cliff, and falls 15 feet in 10 yards. At the second we have a broad
sheet of water tumbling down 20 feet over a group of rocks that thrust
their dark heads through the foam. The third is a broken fall, or short,
abrupt rapid, where the water makes a descent of more than 20 feet among
huge, fallen fragments of the cliff. We name the group Triplet Falls. We
make a portage around the first; past the second and the third we let
down with lines.

During the afternoon, Dunn and Howland having returned from their climb,
we run down three quarters of a mile on quiet waters and land at the
head of another fall. On examination, we find that there is an abrupt
plunge of a few feet and then the river tumbles for half a mile with a
descent of a hundred feet, in a channel beset with great numbers of huge
boulders. This stretch of the river is named Hell's Half-Mile. The
remaining portion of the day is occupied in making a trail among the
rocks at the foot of the rapid.

_June 16.--_Our first work this morning is to carry our cargoes to the
foot of the falls. Then we commence letting down the boats. We take two
of them down in safety, but not without great difficulty; for, where
such a vast body of water, rolling down an inclined plane, is broken
into eddies and cross-currents by rocks projecting from the cliffs and
piles of boulders in the channel, it requires excessive labor and much
care to prevent the boats from being dashed against the rocks or
breaking away. Sometimes we are compelled to hold the boat against a
rock above a chute until a second line, attached to the stem, is carried
to some point below, and when all is ready the first line is detached
and the boat given to the current, when she shoots down and the men
below swing her into some eddy.

At such a place we are letting down the last boat, and as she is set
free a wave turns her broadside down the stream, with the stem, to which
the line is attached, from shore and a little up. They haul on the line
to bring the boat in, but the power of the current, striking obliquely
against her, shoots her out into the middle of the river. The men have
their hands burned with the friction of the passing line; the boat
breaks away and speeds with great velocity down the stream. The "Maid of
the Canyon" is lost! So it seems; but she drifts some distance and
swings into an eddy, in which she spins abont until we arrive with the
small boat and rescue her.

Soon we are on our way again, and stop at the mouth of a little brook on
the right for a late dinner. This brook comes down from the distant
mountains in a deep side canyon. We set out to explore it, but are soon
cut off from farther progress up the gorge by a high rock, over which
the brook glides in a smooth sheet. The rock is not quite vertical, and
the water does not plunge over it in a fall.

Then we climb up to the left for an hour, and are 1,000 feet above the
river and 600 above the brook. Just before us the canyon divides, a
little stream coming down on the right and another on the left, and we
can look away up either of these canyons, through an ascending vista, to
cliffs and crags and towers a mile back and 2,000 feet overhead. To the
right a dozen gleaming cascades are seen. Pines and firs stand on the
rocks and aspens overhang the brooks. The rocks below are red and brown,
set in deep shadows, but above they are buff and vermilion and stand in
the sunshine. The light above, made more brilliant by the bright-tinted
rocks, and the shadows below, more gloomy by reason of the somber hues
of the brown walls, increase the apparent depths of the canyons, and it
seems a long way up to the world of sunshine and open sky, and a long
way down to the bottom of the canyon glooms. Never before have I
received such an impression of the vast heights of these canyon walls,
not even at the Cliff of the Harp, where the very heavens seemed to rest
on their summits. We sit on some overhanging rocks and enjoy the scene
for a time, listening to the music of the falling waters away up the
canyon. We name this Rippling Brook.

Late in the afternoon we make a short run to the mouth of another little
creek, coming down from the left into an alcove filled with luxuriant
vegetation. Here camp is made, with a group of cedars on one side and a
dense mass of box-elders and dead willows on the other.

I go up to explore the alcove. While away a whirlwind comes and scatters
the fire among the dead willows and cedar-spray, and soon there is a
conflagration. The men rush for the boats, leaving all they cannot
readily seize at the moment, and even then they have their clothing
burned and hair singed, and Bradley has his ears scorched. The cook
fills his arms with the mess-kit, and jumping into a boat, stumbles and
falls, and away go our cooking utensils into the river. Our plates are
gone; our spoons are gone; our knives and forks are gone. "Water catch
'em; h-e-a-p catch 'em."

When on the boats, the men are compelled to cut loose, as the flames,
running out on the overhanging willows, are scorching them. Loose on the
stream, they must go down, for the water is too swift to make headway
against it. Just below is a rapid, filled with rocks. On the shoot, no
channel explored, no signal to guide them! Just at this juncture I
chance to see them, but have not yet discovered the fire, and the
strange movements of the men fill me with astonishment. Down the rocks I
clamber, and run to the bank. When I arrive they have landed. Then we
all go back to the late camp to see if anything left behind can be
saved. Some of the clothing and bedding taken out of the boats is found,
also a few tin cups, basins, and a camp kettle; and this is all the
mess-kit we now have. Yet we do just as well as ever.

_June 17._--We run down to the mouth of Yampa River. This has been a
chapter of disasters and toils, notwithstanding which the Canyon of
Lodore was not devoid of scenic interest, even beyond the power
of pen to tell. The roar of its waters was heard unceasingly from the
hour we entered it until we landed here. No quiet in all that time. But
its walls and cliffs, its peaks and crags, its amphitheaters and
alcoves, tell a story of beauty and grandeur that I hear yet--and shall

The Canyon of Lodore is 20 3/4 miles in length. It starts abruptly at
what we have called the Gate of Lodore, with walls nearly 2,000 feet
high, and they are never lower than this until we reach Alcove Brook,
about three miles above the foot. They are very irregular, standing in
vertical or overhanging cliffs in places, terraced in others, or
receding in steep slopes, and are broken by many side gulches and
canyons. The highest point on the wall is at Dunn's Cliff, near Triplet
Falls, where the rocks reach an altitude of 2,700 feet, but the peaks a
little way back rise nearly 1,000 feet higher. Yellow pines, nut pines,
firs, and cedars stand in extensive forests on the Uinta Mountains, and,
clinging to the rocks and growing in the crevices, come down the walls
to the water's edge from Flaming Gorge to Echo Park. The red sandstones
are lichened over; delicate mosses grow in the moist places, and ferns
festoon the walls.



The Yampa enters the Green from the east. At a point opposite its mouth
the Green runs to the south, at the foot of a rock about 700 feet high
and a mile long, and then turns sharply around the rock to the right and
runs back in a northerly course parallel to its former direction for
nearly another mile, thus having the opposite sides of a long, narrow
rock for its bank. The tongue of rock so formed is a peninsular
precipice with a mural escarpment along its whole course on the east,
but broken down at places on the west.

On the east side of the river, opposite the rock and below the Yampa,
there is a little park, just large enough for a farm, already fenced
with high walls of gray homogeneous sandstone. There are three river
entrances to this park: one down the Yampa; one below, by coming up the
Green; and another down the Green. There is also a land entrance down a
lateral canyon. Elsewhere the park is inaccessible. Through this land
entrance by the side canyon there is a trail made by Indian hunters, who
come down here in certain seasons to kill mountain sheep. Great hollow
domes are seen in the eastern side of the rock, against which the Green
sweeps; willows border the river; clumps of box-elder are seen; and a
few cottonwoods stand at the lower end. Standing opposite the rock, our
words are repeated with startling clearness, but in a soft, mellow tone,
that transforms them into magical music. Scarcely can one believe it is
the echo of his own voice. In some places two or three echoes come back;
in other places they repeat themselves, passing back and forth across
the river between this rock and the eastern wall. To hear these repeated
echoes well, we must shout. Some of the party aver that ten or twelve
repetitions can be heard. To me, they seem rapidly to diminish and merge
by multiplicity, like telegraph poles on an outstretched plain. I have
observed the same phenomenon once before in the cliffs near Long's Peak,
and am pleased to meet with it again.

During the afternoon Bradley and I climb some cliffs to the north.
Mountain sheep are seen above us, and they stand out on the rocks and
eye us intently, not seeming to move. Their color is much like that of
the gray sandstone beneath them, and, immovable as they are, they appear
like carved forms. Now a fine ram beats the rock with his fore foot,
and, wheeling around, they all bound away together, leaping over rocks
and chasms and climbing walls where no man can follow, and this with an
ease and grace most wonderful. At night we return to our camp under the
box-elders by the river side. Here we are to spend two or three days,
making a series of astronomic observations for latitude and longitude.

_June 18.--_We have named the long peninsular rock on the other side
Echo Rock. Desiring to climb it, Bradley and I take the little boat and
pull up stream as far as possible, for it cannot be climbed directly
opposite. We land on a talus of rocks at the upper end in order to reach
a place where it seems practicable to make the ascent; but we find we
must go still farther up the river. So we scramble along, until we reach
a place where the river sweeps against the wall. Here we find a shelf
along which we can pass, and now are ready for the climb.

We start up a gulch; then pass to the left on a bench along the wall;
then up again over broken rocks; then we reach more benches, along which
we walk, until we find more broken rocks and crevices, by which we
climb; still up, until we have ascended 600 or 800 feet, when we are met
by a sheer precipice. Looking about, we find a place where it seems
possible to climb. I go ahead; Bradley hands the barometer to me, and
follows. So we proceed, stage by stage, until we are nearly to the
summit. Here, by making a spring, I gain a foothold in a little crevice,
and grasp an angle of the rock overhead. I find I can get up no farther
and cannot step back, for I dare not let go with my hand and cannot
reach foothold below without. I call to Bradley for help. He finds a way
by which he can get to the top of the rock over my head, but cannot
reach me. Then he looks around for some stick or limb of a tree, but
finds none. Then he suggests that he would better help me with the
barometer case, but I fear I cannot hold on to it. The moment is
critical. Standing on my toes, my muscles begin to tremble. It is sixty
or eighty feet to the foot of the precipice. If I lose my hold I shall
fall to the bottom and then perhaps roll over the bench and tumble still
farther down the cliff. At this instant it occurs to Bradley to take off
his drawers, which he does, and swings them down to me. I hug close to
the rock, let go with my hand, seize the dangling legs, and with his
assistance am enabled to gain the top.

Then we walk out on the peninsular rock, make the necessary observations
for determining its altitude above camp, and return, finding an easy way

_June 19.--_To-day, Howland, Bradley, and I take the "Emma Dean" and
start up the Yampa River. The stream is much swollen, the current swift,
and we are able to make but slow progress against it. The canyon in this
part of the course of the Yampa is cut through light gray sandstone. The
river is very winding, and the swifter water is usually found on the
outside of the curve, sweeping against vertical cliffs often a thousand
feet high. In the center of these curves, in many places, the rock above
overhangs the river. On the opposite side the walls are broken, craggy,
and sloping, and occasionally side canyons enter. When we have rowed
until we are quite tired we stop and take advantage of one of these
broken places to climb out of the canyon. When above, we can look up the
Yampa for a distance of several miles. From the summit of the immediate
walls of the canyon the rocks rise gently back for a distance of a mile
or two, having the appearance of a valley with an irregular and rounded
sandstone floor and in the center a deep gorge, which is the canyon. The
rim of this valley on the north is from 2,500 to 3,000 feet above the
river; on the south it is not so high. A number of peaks stand on this
northern rim, the highest of which has received the name Mount Dawes.

Late in the afternoon we descend to our boat and return to camp in Echo
Park, gliding down in twenty minutes on the rapid river, a distance of
four or five miles, which was made up stream only by several hours' hard
rowing in the morning.

_June 20.--_This morning two of the men take me up the Yampa for a short
distance, and I go out to climb. Having reached the top of the canyon, I
walk over long stretches of naked sandstone, crossing gulches now and
then, and by noon reach the summit of Mount Dawes. From this point I can
look away to the north and see in the dim distance the Sweetwater and
Wind River mountains, more than 100 miles away. To the northwest the
Wasatch Mountains are in view, and peaks of the Uinta. To the east I can
see the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains, more than 150 miles
distant. The air is singularly clear to-day; mountains and buttes stand
in sharp outline, valleys stretch out in perspective, and I can look
down into the deep canyon gorges and see gleaming waters.

Descending, I cross to a ridge near the brink of the Canyon of Lodore,
the highest point of which is nearly as high as the last mentioned
mountain. Late in the afternoon I stand on this elevated point and
discover a monument that has evidently been built by human hands. A few
plants are growing in the joints between the rocks, and all are lichened
over to a greater or less extent, giving evidence that the pile was
built a long time ago. This line of peaks, the eastern extension of the
Uinta Mountains, has received the name of Sierra Escalante, in honor of
a Spanish priest who traveled in this region of country nearly a century
ago. Perchance the reverend father built this monument.

Now I return to the river and discharge my gun, as a signal for the boat
to come and take me down to camp. While we have been in the park the men
have succeeded in catching a number of fish, and we have an abundant
supply. This is a delightful addition to our _menu._

_June 21.--_ We float around the long rock and enter another canyon. The
walls are high and vertical, the canyon is narrow, and the river fills
the whole space below, so that there is no landing-place at the foot of
the cliff. The Green is greatly increased by the Yampa, and we now have
a much larger river. All this volume of water, confined, as it is, in a
narrow channel and rushing with great velocity, is set eddying and
spinning in whirlpools by projecting rocks and short curves, and the
waters waltz their way through the canyon, making their own rippling,
rushing, roaring music. The canyon is much narrower than any we have
seen. We manage our boats with difficulty. They spin about from side to
side and we know not where we are going, and find it impossible to keep
them headed down the stream. At first this causes us great alarm, but we
soon find there is little danger, and that there is a general movement
or progression down the river, to which this whirling is but an
adjunct--that it is the merry mood of the river to dance through this
deep, dark gorge, and right gaily do we join in the sport.

But soon our revel is interrupted by a cataract; its roaring command is
heeded by all our power at the oars, and we pull against the whirling
current. The "Emma Dean" is brought up against a cliff about 50 feet
above the brink of the fall. By vigorously plying the oars on the side
opposite the wall, as if to pull up stream, we can hold her against the
rock. The boats behind are signaled to land where they can. The "Maid
of the Canyon" is pulled to the left wall, and, by constant rowing, they
can hold her also. The "Sister" is run into an alcove on the right,
where an eddy is in a dance, and in this she joins. Now my little boat
is held against the wall only by the utmost exertion, and it is
impossible to make headway against the current. On examination, I find a
horizontal crevice in the rock, about 10 feet above the water and a
boat's length below us; so we let her down to that point. One of the men
clambers into the crevice, into which he can just crawl; we toss him
the line, which he makes fast in the rocks, and now our boat is tied up.
Then I follow into the crevice and we crawl along up stream a distance
of 50 feet or more, and find a broken place where we can climb about 50
feet higher. Here we stand on a shelf that passes along down stream to a
point above the falls, where it is broken down, and a pile of rocks,
over which we can descend to the river, is lying against the foot of the

It has been mentioned that one of the boats is on the other side. I
signal for the men to pull her up alongside of the wall, but it cannot
be done; then to cross. This they do, gaining the wall on our side just
above where the "Emma Dean" is tied.

The third boat is out of sight, whirling in the eddy of a recess.
Looking about, I find another horizontal crevice, along which I crawl to
a point just over the water where this boat is lying, and, calling loud
and long, I finally succeed in making the crew understand that I want
them to bring the boat down, hugging the wall. This they accomplish by
taking advantage of every crevice and knob on the face of the cliff, so
that we have the three boats together at a point a few yards above the
falls. Now, by passing a line up on the shelf, the boats can be let down
to the broken rocks below. This we do, and, making a short portage, our
troubles here are over.

Below the falls the canyon is wider, and there is more or less space
between the river and the walls; but the stream, though wide, is rapid,
and rolls at a fearful rate among the rocks. We proceed with great
caution, and run the large boats wholly by signal.

At night we camp at the mouth of a small creek, which affords us a good
supper of trout. In camp to-night we discuss the propriety of several
different names for this canyon. At the falls encountered at noon its
characteristics change suddenly. Above, it is very narrow, and the walls
are almost vertical; below, the canyon is much wider and more flaring,
and high up on the sides crags, pinnacles, and towers are seen. A number
of wild and narrow side canyons enter, and the walls are much broken.
After many suggestions our choice rests between two names, Whirlpool
Canyon and Craggy Canyon, neither of which is strictly appropriate for
both parts of it; so we leave the discussion at this point, with the
understanding that it is best, before finally deciding on a name, to
wait until we see what the character of the canyon is below.

_June 22._--Still making short portages and letting down with lines.
While we are waiting for dinner to-day, I climb a point that gives me a
good view of the river for two or three miles below, and I think we can
make a long run. After dinner we start; the large boats are to follow in
fifteen minutes and look out for the signal to land. Into the middle of
the stream we row, and down the rapid river we glide, only making
strokes enough with the oars to guide the boat. What a headlong ride it
is! shooting past rocks and islands. I am soon filled with exhilaration
only experienced before in riding a fleet horse over the outstretched
prairie. One, two, three, four miles we go, rearing and plunging with
the waves, until we wheel to the right into a beautiful park and land on
an island, where we go into camp.

An hour or two before sunset I cross to the mainland and climb a point
of rocks where I can overlook the park and its surroundings. On the east
it is bounded by a high mountain ridge. A semicircle of naked hills
bounds it on the north, west, and south.

The broad, deep river meanders through the park, interrupted by many
wooded islands; so I name it Island Park, and decide to call the canyon
above, Whirlpool Canyon.

_June 23.--_We remain in camp to-day to repair our boats, which have had
hard knocks and are leaking. Two of the men go out with the barometer to
climb the cliff at the foot of Whirlpool Canyon and measure the walls;
another goes on the mountain to hunt; and Bradley and I spend the day
among the rocks, studying an interesting geologic fold and collecting
fossils. Late in the afternoon the hunter returns and brings with him a
fine, fat deer; so we give his name to the mountain--Mount Hawkins. Just
before night we move camp to the lower end of the park, floating down
the river about four miles.

_June 24.--_Bradley and I start early to climb the mountain ridge to the
east, and find its summit to be nearly 3,000 feet above camp. It has
required some labor to scale it; but on its top, what a view! There is a
long spur running out from the Uinta Mountains toward the south, and the
river runs lengthwise through it. Coming down Lodore and Whirlpool
canyons, we cut through the southern slope of the Uinta Mountains; and
the lower end of this latter canyon runs into the spur, but, instead of
splitting it the whole length, the river wheels to the right at the foot
of Whirlpool Canyon in a great curve to the northwest through Island
Park. At the lower end of the park, the river turns again to the
southeast and cuts into the mountain to its center and then makes a
detour to the southwest, splitting the mountain ridge for a distance of
six miles nearly to its foot, and then turns out of it to the left. All
this we can see where we stand on the summit of Mount Hawkins, and so we
name the gorge below, Split Mountain Canyon.

We are standing 3,000 feet above the waters, which are troubled with
billows and are white with foam. The walls are set with crags and peaks
and buttressed towers and overhanging domes. Turning to the right, the
park is below us, its island groves reflected by the deep, quiet waters.
Rich meadows stretch out on either hand to the verge of a sloping plain
that comes down from the distant mountains. These plains are of almost
naked rock, in strange contrast to the meadows,--blue and lilac colored
rocks, buff and pink, vermilion and brown, and all these colors clear
and bright. A dozen little creeks, dry the greater part of the year, run
down through the half circle of exposed formations, radiating from the
island center to the rim of the basin. Each creek has its system of
side streams and each side stream has its system of laterals, and again
these are divided; so that this outstretched slope of rock is
elaborately embossed. Beds of different-colored formations run in
parallel bands on either side. The perspective, modified by the
undulations, gives the bands a waved appearance, and the high colors
gleam in the midday sun with the luster of satin. We are tempted to call
this Rainbow Park. Away beyond these beds are the Uinta and Wasatch
mountains with their pine forests and snow fields and naked peaks. Now
we turn to the right and look up Whirlpool Canyon, a deep gorge with a
river at the bottom--a gloomy chasm, where mad waves roar; but at this
distance and altitude the river is but a rippling brook, and the chasm a
narrow cleft. The top of the mountain on which we stand is a broad,
grassy table, and a herd of deer are feeding in the distance. Walking
over to the southeast, we look down into the valley of White River, and
beyond that see the far-distant Rocky Mountains, in mellow, perspective
haze, through which snow fields shine.

_June 25.--_This morning we enter Split Mountain Canyon, sailing in
through a broad, flaring, brilliant gateway. We run two or three rapids,
after they have been carefully examined. Then we have a series of six or
eight, over which we are compelled to pass by letting the boats down
with lines. This occupies the entire day, and we camp at night at the
mouth of a great cave. The cave is at the foot of one of these rapids,
and the waves dash in nearly to its end. We can pass along a little
shelf at the side until we reach the back part. Swallows have built
their nests in the ceiling, and they wheel in, chattering and scolding
at our intrusion; but their clamor is almost drowned by the noise of the
waters. Looking out of the cave, we can see, far up the river, a line of
crags standing sentinel on either side, and Mount Hawkins in the

_June 26._--The forenoon is spent in getting our large boats over the
rapids. This afternoon we find three falls in close succession. We carry
our rations over the rocks and let our boats shoot over the falls,
checking and bringing them to land with lines in the eddies below. At
three o'clock we are all aboard again. Down the river we are carried by
the swift waters at great speed, sheering around a rock now and then
with a timely stroke or two of the oars. At one point the river turns
from left to right, in a direction at right angles to the canyon, in a
long chute and strikes the right, where its waters are heaped up in
great billows that tumble back in breakers. We glide into the chute
before we see the danger, and it is too late to stop. Two or three hard
strokes are given on the right and we pause for an instant, expecting to
be dashed against the rock. But the bow of the boat leaps high on a
great wave, the rebounding waters hurl us back, and the peril is past.
The next moment the other boats are hurriedly signaled to land on the
left. Accomplishing this, the men walk along the shore, holding the
boats near the bank, and let them drift around. Starting again, we soon
debouch into a beautiful valley, glide down its length for 10 miles, and
camp under a grand old cottonwood. This is evidently a frequent resort
for Indians. Tent poles are lying about, and the dead embers of late
camp fires are seen. On the plains to the left, antelope are feeding.
Now and then a wolf is seen, and after dark they make the air resound
with their howling.

_June 27.--_Now our way is along a gently flowing river, beset with many
islands; groves are seen on either side, and natural meadows, where
herds of antelope are feeding. Here and there we have views of the
distant mountains on the right. During the afternoon we make a long
detour to the west and return again to a point not more than half a mile
from where we started at noon, and here we camp for the night under a
high bluff. _June 28.--_To-day the scenery on either side of the river
is much the same as that of yesterday, except that two or three lakes
are discovered, lying in the valley to the west. After dinner we run but
a few minutes when we discover the mouth of the Uinta, a river coming in
from the west. Up the valley of this stream about 40 miles the
reservation of the Uinta Indians is situated. We propose to go there and
see if we can replenish our mess-kit, and perhaps send letters to
friends. We also desire to establish an astronomic station here; and
hence this will be our stopping place for several days.

Some years ago Captain Berthoud surveyed a stage route from Salt Lake
City to Denver, and this is the place where he crossed the Green River.
His party was encamped here for some time, constructing a ferry boat and
opening a road.

A little above the mouth of the Uinta, on the west side of the Green,
there is a lake of several thousand acres. We carry our boat across the
divide between this and the river, have a row on its quiet waters, and
succeed in shooting several ducks.

_June 29.--_A mile and three quarters from here is the junction of the
White River with the Green. The White has its source far to the east in
the Rocky Mountains. This morning I cross the Green and go over into the
valley of the White and extend my walk several miles along its winding
way, until at last I come in sight of some strangely carved rocks, named
by General Hughes, in his journal, "Goblin City." Our last winter's camp
was situated a hundred miles above the point reached to-day. The course
of the river, for much of the distance, is through canyons; but at some
places valleys are found. Excepting these little valleys, the region is
one of great desolation: arid, almost treeless, with bluffs, hills,
ledges of rock, and drifting sands. Along the course of the Green,
however, from the foot of Split Mountain Canyon to a point some distance
below the mouth of the Uinta, there are many groves of cottonwood,
natural meadows, and rich lands. This arable belt extends some distance
up the White River on the east and the Uinta on the west, and the time
must soon come when settlers will penetrate this country and make homes.

_June 30.--_We have a row up the Uinta to-day, but are not able to make
much headway against the swift current, and hence conclude we must walk
all the way to the agency.

_July 1.--_Two days have been employed in obtaining the local time,
taking observations for latitude and longitude, and making excursions
into the adjacent country. This morning, with two of the men, I start
for the agency. It is a toilsome walk, 20 miles of the distance being
across a sand desert. Occasionally we have to wade the river, crossing
it back and forth. Toward evening we cross several beautiful streams,
tributaries of the Uinta, and pass through pine groves and meadows,
arriving at the reservation just at dusk. Captain Dodds, the agent, is
away, having gone to Salt Lake City, but his assistants receive us very
kindly. It is rather pleasant to see a house once more, and some
evidences of civilization, even if it is on an Indian reservation
several days' ride from the nearest home of the white man.

_July 2.--I go this morning to visit Tsauwiat. This old chief is but the
wreck of a man, and no longer has influence. Looking at him one can
scarcely realize that he is a man. His skin is shrunken, wrinkled, and
dry, and seems to cover no more than a form of bones. He is said to be
more than 100 years old. I talk a little with him, but his conversation
is incoherent, though he seems to take pride in showing me some medals
that must have been given him many years ago. He has a pipe which he
says he has used a long time. I offer to exchange with him, and he seems
to be glad to accept; so I add another to my collection of pipes. His
wife, "The Bishop," as she is called, is a very garrulous old woman; she
exerts a great influence, and is much revered. She is the only Indian
woman I have known to occupy a place in the council ring. She seems
very much younger than her husband, and, though wrinkled and ugly, is
still vigorous. She has much to say to me concerning the condition of
the people, and seems very anxious that they should learn to cultivate
the soil, own farms, and live like white men. After talking a couple of
hours with these old people, I go to see the farms. They are situated in
a very beautiful district, where many fine streams of water meander
across alluvial plains and meadows. These creeks have a considerable
fall, and it is easy to take their waters out above and overflow the
lands with them.

It will be remembered that irrigation is necessary in this dry climate
to successful farming. Quite a number of Indians have each a patch of
ground of two or three acres, on which they are raising wheat, potatoes,
turnips, pumpkins, melons, and other vegetables. Most of the crops are
looking well, and it is rather surprising with what pride they show us
that they are able to cultivate crops like white men. They are still
occupying lodges, and refuse to build houses, assigning as a reason that
when any one dies in a lodge it is always abandoned, and very often
burned with all the effects of the deceased; and when houses have been
built for them the houses have been treated in the same way. With their
unclean habits, a fixed residence would doubtless be no pleasant place.

This beautiful valley has been the home of a people of a higher grade of
civilization than the present Utes. Evidences of this are quite
abundant; on our way here yesterday we discovered fragments
of pottery in many places along the trail; and, wandering about the
little farms to-day, I find the foundations of ancient houses, and
mealing-stones that were not used by nomadic people, as they are too
heavy to be transported by such tribes, and are deeply worn. The
Indians, seeing that I am interested in these matters, take pains to
show me several other places where these evidences remain, and tell me
that they know nothing about the people who formerly dwelt here. They
further tell me that up in the canyon the rocks are covered with

_July 5.--_The last two days have been spent in studying the language
of the Indians and in making collections of articles illustrating the
state of arts among them.

Frank Goodman informs me this morning that he has concluded not to go on
with the party, saying that he has seen danger enough. It will be
remembered that he was one of the crew on the "No Name" when she was
wrecked. As our boats are rather heavily loaded, I am content that he
should leave, although he has been a faithful man.

We start early on our return to the boats, taking horses with us from
the reservation, and two Indians, who are to bring the animals back.

Whirlpool Canyon is 14 1/4 miles in length, the walls varying from 1,800
to 2,400 feet in height. The course of the river through Island Park is
9 miles. Split Mountain Canyon is 8 miles long. The highest crags on its
walls reach an altitude above the river of from 2,500 to 2,700 feet. In
these canyons cedars only are found on the walls.

The distance by river from the foot of Split Mountain Canyon to the
mouth of the Uinta is 67 miles. The valley through which it runs is the
home of many antelope, and we have adopted for it the Indian name
Won'sits Yuav--Antelope Valley.



_July 6_.--An early start this morning. A short distance below the mouth
of the Uinta we come to the head of a long island. Last winter a man
named Johnson, a hunter and Indian trader, visited us at our camp in
White River Valley. This man has an Indian wife, and, having no fixed
home, usually travels with one of the Ute bands. He informed me that it
was his intention to plant some corn, potatoes, and other vegetables on
this island in the spring, and, knowing that we would pass it, invited
us to stop and help ourselves, even if he should not be there; so we
land and go out on the island. Looking about, we soon discover his
garden, but it is in a sad condition, having received no care since it
was planted. It is yet too early in the season for corn, but Hall
suggests that potato tops are good greens, and, anxious for some change
from our salt-meat fare, we gather a quantity and take them aboard. At
noon we stop and cook our greens for dinner; but soon one after another
of the party is taken sick; nausea first, and then severe vomiting, and
we tumble around under the trees, groaning with pain. I feel a little
alarmed, lest our poisoning be severe. Emetics are administered to those
who are willing to take them, and about the middle of the afternoon we
are all rid of the pain. Jack Sumner records in his diary that "potato
tops are not good greens on the 6th day of July."

This evening we enter another canyon, almost imperceptibly, as the walls
rise very gently.

_July 7._--We find quiet water to-day, the river sweeping in great and
beautiful curves, the canyon walls steadily increasing in altitude. The
escarpments formed by the cut edges of the rock are often vertical,
sometimes terraced, and in some places the treads of the terraces
are sloping. In these quiet curves vast amphitheaters are formed, now in
vertical rocks, now in steps.

The salient point of rock within the curve is usually broken down in a
steep slope, and we stop occasionally to climb up at such a place, where
on looking down we can see the river sweeping the foot of the opposite
cliff in a great, easy curve, with a perpendicular or terraced wall
rising from the water's edge many hundreds of feet. One of these we find
very symmetrical and name it Sumner's Amphitheater. The cliffs are
rarely broken by the entrance of side canyons, and we sweep around curve
after curve with almost continuous walls for several miles.

Late in the afternoon we find the river very much rougher and come upon
rapids, not dangerous, but still demanding close attention. We camp at
night on the right bank, having made 26 miles. _July 8.--_This morning
Bradley and I go out to climb, and gain an altitude of more than 2,000
feet above the river, but still do not reach the summit of the wall.

After dinner we pass through a region of the wildest desolation. The
canyon is very tortuous, the river very rapid, and many lateral canyons
enter on either side. These usually have their branches, so that the
region is cut into a wilderness of gray and brown cliffs. In several
places these lateral canyons are separated from one another only by
narrow walls, often hundreds of feet high,--so narrow in places that
where softer rocks are found below they have crumbled away and left
holes in the wall, forming passages from one canyon into another. These
we often call natural bridges; but they were never intended to span
streams. They would better, perhaps, be called side doors between canyon
chambers. Piles of broken rock lie against these walls; crags and
tower-shaped peaks are seen everywhere, and away above them, long lines
of broken cliffs; and above and beyond the cliffs are pine forests, of
which we obtain occasional glimpses as we look up through a vista of
rocks. The walls are almost without vegetation; a few dwarf bushes are
seen here and there clinging to the rocks, and cedars grow from the
crevices--not like the cedars of a land refreshed with rains, great
cones bedecked with spray, but ugly clumps, like war clubs beset with
spines. We are minded to call this the Canyon of Desolation.

The wind annoys us much to-day. The water, rough by reason of the
rapids, is made more so by head gales. Wherever a great face of rocks
has a southern exposure, the rarefied air rises and the wind rushes in
below, either up or down the canyon, or both, causing local currents.
Just at sunset we run a bad rapid and camp at its foot.

_July 9.--_Our run to-day is through a canyon with ragged, broken walls,
many lateral gulches or canyons entering on either side. The river is
rough, and occasionally it becomes necessary to use lines in passing
rocky places. During the afternoon we come to a rather open canyon
valley, stretching up toward the west, its farther end lost in the
mountains. From a point to which we climb we obtain a good view of its
course, until its angular walls are lost in the vista.

_July 10.--_Sumner, who is a fine mechanic, is learning to take
observations for time with the sextant. To-day he remains in camp to
practice. Howland and I determine to climb out, and start up a lateral
canyon, taking a barometer with us for the purpose of measuring the
thickness of the strata over which we pass. The readings of the
barometer below are recorded every half hour and our observations must
be simultaneous. Where the beds which we desire to measure are very
thick, we must climb with the utmost speed to reach their summits in
time; where the beds are thinner, we must wait for the moment to arrive;
and so, by hard and easy stages, we make our way to the top of the
canyon wall and reach the plateau above about two o' clock.

Howland, who has his gun with him, sees deer feeding a mile or two back
and goes off for a hunt. I go to a peak which seems to be the highest
one in this region, about half a mile distant, and climb, for-the
purpose of tracing the topography of the adjacent country. From this
point a fine view is obtained. A long plateau stretches across the river
in an easterly and westerly direction, the summit covered by pine
forests, with intervening elevated valleys and gulches. The plateau
itself is cut in two by the canyon. Other side canyons head away back
from the river and run down into the Green. Besides these, deep and
abrupt canyons are seen to head back on the plateau and run north toward
the Uinta and White rivers. Still other canyons head in the valleys and
run toward the south. The elevation of the plateau being about 8,000
feet above the level of the sea, it is in a region of moisture, as is
well attested by the forests and grassy valleys. The plateau seems to
rise gradually to the west, until it merges into the Wasatch Mountains.
On these high table-lands elk and deer abound; and they are favorite
hunting grounds for the Ute Indians.

A little before sunset Howland and I meet again at the head of the side
canyon, and down we start. It is late, and we must make great haste or
be caught by the darkness; so we go, running where we can, leaping over
the ledges, letting each other down on the loose rocks, as long as we
can see. When darkness comes we are still some distance from camp, and a
long, slow, anxious descent is made toward the gleaming camp fire.

After supper, observations for latitude are taken, and only two or three
hours for sleep remain before daylight.

_July 11.--_ A short distance below camp we run a rapid, and in doing so
break an oar and then lose another, both belonging to the "Emma Dean."
Now the pioneer boat has but two oars. We see nothing from which oars
can be made, so we conclude to run on to some point where it seems
possible to climb out to the forests on the plateau, and there we will
procure suitable timber from which to make new ones.

We soon approach another rapid. Standing on deck, I think it can be run,
and on we go. Coming nearer, I see that at the foot it has a short turn
to the left, where the waters pile up against the cliff. Here we try to
land, but quickly discover that, being in swift water above the fall, we
cannot reach shore, crippled as we are by the loss of two oars; so the
bow of the boat is turned down stream. We shoot by a big rock; a reflex
wave rolls over our little boat and fills her. I see that the place is
dangerous and quickly signal to the other boats to land where they can.
This is scarcely completed when another wave rolls our boat over and I
am thrown some distance into the water. I soon find that swimming is
very easy and I cannot sink. It is only necessary to ply strokes
sufficient to keep my head out of the water, though now and then, when a
breaker rolls over me, I close my mouth and am carried through it. The
boat is drifting ahead of me 20 or 30 feet, and when the great waves
have passed I overtake her and find Sumner and Dunn clinging to her. As
soon as we reach quiet water we all swim to one side and turn her over.
In doing this, Dunn loses his hold and goes under; when he comes up he
is caught by Sumner and pulled to the boat. In the meantime we have
drifted down stream some distance and see another rapid below. How bad
it may be we cannot tell; so we swim toward shore, pulling our boat with
us, with all the vigor possible, but are carried down much faster than
distance toward shore is diminished. At last we reach a huge pile of
driftwood. Our rolls of blankets, two guns, and a barometer were in the
open compartment of the boat and, when it went over, these were thrown
out. The guns and barometer are lost, but I succeeded in catching one of
the rolls of blankets as it drifted down, when we were swimming to
shore; the other two are lost, and sometimes hereafter we may sleep

A huge fire is built on the bank and our clothing spread to dry, and
then from the drift logs we select one from which we think oars can be
made, and the remainder of the day is spent in sawing them out.

_July 12.--_This morning the new oars are finished and we start once
more. We pass several bad rapids, making a short portage at one, and
before noon we come to a long, bad fall, where the channel is filled
with rocks on the left which turn the waters to the right, where they
pass under an overhanging rock. On examination we determine to run it,
keeping as close to the left-hand rocks as safety will permit, in order
to avoid the overhanging cliff. The little boat runs over all right;
another follows, but the men are not able to keep her near enough to the
left bank and she is carried by a swift chute into great waves to the
right, where she is tossed about and Bradley is knocked over the side;
his foot catching under the seat, he is dragged along in the water with
his head down; making great exertion, he seizes the gunwale with his
left hand and can lift his head above water now and then. To us who are
below, it seems impossible to keep the boat from going under the
overhanging cliff; but Powell, for the moment heedless of Bradley's
mishap, pulls with all his power for half a dozen strokes, when the
danger is past; then he seizes Bradley and pulls him in. The men in the
boat above, seeing this, land, and she is let down by lines.

Just here we emerge from the Canyon of Desolation, as we have named it,
into a more open country, which extends for a distance of nearly a mile,
when we enter another canyon cut through gray sandstone.

About three o'clock in the afternoon we meet with a new difficulty. The
river fills the entire channel; the walls are vertical on either side
from the water's edge, and a bad rapid is beset with rocks. We come to
the head of it and land on a rock in the stream. The little boat is let
down to another rock below, the men of the larger boat holding to the
line; the second boat is let down in the same way, and the line of the
third boat is brought with them. Now the third boat pushes out from the
upper rock, and, as we have her line below, we pull in and catch her as
she is sweeping by at the foot of the rock on which we stand. Again the
first boat is let down stream the full length of her line and the second
boat is passed down, by the first to the extent of her line, which is
held by the men in the first boat; so she is two lines' length from
where she started. Then the third boat is let down past the second, and
still down, nearly to the length of her line, so that she is fast to the
second boat and swinging down three lines' lengths, with the other two
boats intervening. Held in this way, the men are able to pull her into a
cove in the left wall, where she is made fast. But this leaves a man on
the rock above, holding to the line of the little boat. When all is
ready, he springs from the rock, clinging to the line with one hand and
swimming with the other, and we pull him in as he goes by. As the two
boats, thus loosened, drift down, the men in the cove pull us all in as
we come opposite; then we pass around to a point of rock below the cove,
close to the wall, land, make a short portage over the worst places in
the rapid, and start again.

At night we camp on a sand beach. The wind blows a hurricane; the
drifting sand almost blinds us; and nowhere can we find shelter. The
wind continues to blow all night, the sand sifting through our blankets
and piling over us until we aro covered as in a snowdrift. We are glad
when morning comes.

_July 13.--_This morning we have an exhilarating ride. The river is
swift, and there are many smooth rapids. I stand on deck, keeping
careful watch ahead, and we glide along, mile after mile, plying
strokes, now on the right and then on the left, just sufficient to guide
our boats past the rocks into smooth water. At noon we emerge from Gray
Canyon, as we have named it, and camp for dinner under a cotton-wood
tree standing on the left bank.

Extensive sand plains extend back from the immediate river valley as far
as we can see on either side. These naked, drifting sands gleam
brilliantly in the midday sun of July. The reflected heat from the
glaring surface produces a curious motion of the atmosphere; little
currents are generated and the whole seems to be trembling and moving
about in many directions, or, failing to see that the movement is in the
atmosphere, it gives the impression of an unstable land. Plains and
hills and cliffs and distant mountains seem to be floating vaguely about
in a trembling, wave-rocked sea, and patches of landscape seem to float
away and be lost, and then to reappear.

Just opposite, there are buttes, outliers of cliffs to the left. Below,
they are composed of shales and marls of light blue and slate colors;
above, the rocks are buff and gray, and then brown. The buttes are
buttressed below, where the azure rocks are seen, and terraced above
through the gray and brown beds. A long line of cliffs or rock
escarpments separates the table-lands through which Gray Canyon is cut,
from the lower plain. The eye can trace these azure beds and cliffs on
either side of the river, in a long line extending across its course,
until they fade away in the perspective. These cliffs are many miles in
length and hundreds of feet high; and all these buttes--great
mountain-masses of rock--are dancing and fading away and reappearing,
softly moving about,--or so they seem to the eye as seen through the
shifting atmosphere.

This afternoon our way is through a valley with cottonwood groves on
either side. The river is deep, broad, and quiet. About two hours after
noon camp we discover an Indian crossing, where a number of rafts,
rudely constructed of logs and bound together by withes, are
floating against the bank. On landing, we see evidences that a party of
Indians have crossed within a very few days. This is the place where the
lamented Gunnison crossed, in the year 1853, when making an exploration
for a railroad route to the Pacific coast.

An hour later we run a long rapid and stop at its foot to examine some
interesting rocks, deposited by mineral springs that at one time must
have existed here, but which are no longer flowing.

_July 14.--_ This morning we pass some curious black bluffs on the
right, then two or three short canyons, and then we discover the mouth
of the San Rafael, a stream which comes down from the distant mountains
in the west. Here we stop for an hour or two and take a short walk up
the valley, and find it is a frequent resort for Indians. Arrowheads are
scattered about, many of them very beautiful; flint chips are strewn
over the ground in great profusion, and the trails are well worn.

Starting after dinner, we pass some beautiful buttes on the left, many
of which are very symmetrical. They are chiefly composed of gypsum, of
many hues, from light gray to slate color; then pink, purple, and brown
beds. Now we enter another canyon. Gradually the walls rise higher and
higher as we proceed, and the summit of the canyon is formed of the same
beds of orange-colored sandstone. Back from the brink the hollows of the
plateau are filled with sands disintegrated from these orange beds. They
are of a rich cream color, shading into maroon, everywhere destitute of
vegetation, and drifted into long, wave-like ridges.

The course of the river is tortuous, and it nearly doubles upon itself
many times. The water is quiet, and constant rowing is necessary to make
much headway. Sometimes there is a narrow flood plain between the river
and the wall, on one side or the other. Where these long, gentle curves
are found, the river washes the very foot of the outer wall. A long
peninsula of willow-bordered meadow projects within the curve, and the
talus at the foot of the cliff is usually covered with dwarf oaks. The
orange-colored sandstone is homogeneous in structure, and the walls are
usually vertical, though not very high. Where the river sweeps around a
curve under a cliff, a vast hollow dome may be seen, with many caves and
deep alcoves, which are greatly admired by the members of the party as
we go by.

We camp at night on the left bank.

_July 15._---Our camp is in a great bend of the canyon. The curve is to
the west and we are on the east side of the river. Just opposite, a
little stream comes down through a narrow side canyon. We cross and go
up to explore it. At its mouth another lateral canyon enters, in the
angle between the former and the main canyon above. Still another enters
in the angle between the canyon below and the side canyon first
mentioned; so that three side canyons enter at the same point. These
canyons are very tortuous, almost closed in from view, and, seen from
the opposite side of the river, they appear like three alcoves. We name
this Trin-Alcove Bend.

Going up the little stream in the central cove, we pass between high
walls of sandstone, and wind about in glens. Springs gush from the rocks
at the foot of the walls; narrow passages in the rocks are threaded,
caves are entered, and many side canyons are observed.

The right cove is a narrow, winding gorge, with overhanging walls,
almost shutting out the light. The left is an amphitheater, turning
spirally up, with overhanging shelves. A series of basins filled with
water are seen at different altitudes as we pass up; huge rocks are
piled below on the right, and overhead there is an arched ceiling. After
exploring these alcoves, we recross the river and climb the rounded
rocks on the point of the bend. In every direction, as far as we are
able to see, naked rocks appear. Buttes are scattered on the landscape,
here rounded into cones, there buttressed, columned, and carved in
quaint shapes, with deep alcoves and sunken recesses. All about us are
basins, excavated in the soft sandstone; and these have been filled by
the late rains.

Over the rounded rocks and water pockets we look off on a fine Stretch
of river, and beyond are naked rocks and beautiful buttes leading the
eye to the Azure Cliffs, and beyond these and above them the Brown
Cliffs, and still beyond, mountain peaks; and clouds piled over all.

On we go, after dinner, with quiet water, still compelled to row in
order to make fair progress. The canyon is yet very tortuous. About six
miles below noon camp we go around a great bend to the right, five miles
in length, and come back to a point within a quarter of a mile of where
we started. Then we sweep around another great bend to the left, making
a circuit of nine miles, and come back to a point within 600 yards of
the beginning of the bend. In the two circuits we describe almost the
figure 8. The men call it a "bowknot" of river; so we name it Bowknot
Bend. The line of the figure is 14 miles in length.

There is an exquisite charm in our ride to-day down this beautiful
canyon. It gradually grows deeper with every mile of travel; the walls
are symmetrically curved and grandly arched, of a beautiful color, and
reflected in the quiet waters in many places so as almost to deceive the
eye and suggest to the beholder the thought that he is looking into
profound depths. We are all in fine spirits and feel very gay, and the
badinage of the men is echoed from wall to wall. Now and then we whistle
or shout or discharge a pistol, to listen to the reverberations among
the cliffs.

At night we camp on the south side of the great Bowknot, and as
we eat supper, which is spread on the beach, we name this Labyrinth

_July 16.--_Still we go down on our winding way. Tower cliffs are
passed; then the river widens out for several miles, and meadows are
seen on either side between the river and the walls. We name this
expansion of the river Tower Park. At two o'clock we emerge from
Labyrinth Canyon and go into camp.

_July 17._--The line which separates Labyrinth Canyon from the one below
is but a line, and at once, this morning, we enter another canyon. The
water fills the entire channel, so that nowhere is there room to land.
The walls are low, but vertical, and as we proceed they gradually
increase in altitude. Running a couple of miles, the river changes its
course many degrees toward the east. Just here a little stream comes in
on the right and the wall is broken down; so we land and go out to take
a view of the surrounding country. We are now down among the buttes, and
in a region the surface of which is naked, solid rock--a beautiful red
sandstone, forming a smooth, undulating pavement. The Indians call this
the _Toom'pin Tuweap',_ or "Rock Land," and sometimes the _Toom'pin
wunear^1 Tuweap',_ or "Land of Standing Rock."

Off to the south we see a butte in the form of a fallen cross. It is
several miles away, but it presents no inconspicuous figure on the
landscape and must be many hundreds of feet high, probably more than
2,000. We note its position on our map and name it "The Butte of the

We continue our journey. In many places the walls, which rise from the
water's edge, are overhanging on either side. The stream is still quiet,
and we glide along through a strange, weird, grand region. The landscape
everywhere, away from the river, is of rock--cliffs of rock, tables of
rock, plateaus of rock, terraces of rock, crags of rock--ten thousand
strangely carved forms; rocks everywhere, and no vegetation, no soil, no
sand. In long, gentle curves the river winds about these rocks.

When thinking of these rocks one must not conceive of piles of boulders
or heaps of fragments, but of a whole land of naked rock, with giant
forms carved on it: cathedral-shaped buttes, towering hundreds or
thousands of feet, cliffs that cannot be scaled, and canyon walls that
shrink the river into insignificance, with vast, hollow domes and tall
pinnacles and shafts set on the verge overhead; and all highly
colored--buff, gray, red, brown, and chocolate--never lichened, never
moss-covered, but bare, and often polished.

We pass a place where two bends of the river come together, an
intervening rock having been worn away and a new channel formed across.
The old channel ran in a great circle around to the right, by what was
once a circular peninsula, then an island; then the water left the old
channel entirely and passed through the cut, and the old bed of the
river is dry. So the great circular rock stands by itself, with
precipitous walls all about it, and we find but one place where it can
be scaled. Looking from its summit, a long stretch of river is seen,
sweeping close to the overhanging cliffs on the right, but having a
little meadow between it and the wall on the left. The curve is very
gentle and regular. We name this Bonita Bend.

And just here we climb out once more, to take another bearing on The
Butte of the Cross. Reaching an eminence from which we can overlook the
landscape, we are surprised to find that our butte, with its wonderful
form, is indeed two buttes, one so standing in front of the other that
from our last point of view it gave the appearance of a cross.

A few miles below Bonita Bend we go out again a mile or two among the
rocks, toward the Orange Cliffs, passing over terraces paved with
jasper. The cliffs are not far away and we soon reach them, and wander
in some deep, painted alcoves which attracted our attention from the
river; then we return to our boats.

Late in the afternoon the water becomes swift and our boats make great
speed.. An hour of this rapid running brings us to the junction of the
Grand and Green, the foot of Stillwater Canyon, as we have named it.
These streams-unite in solemn depths, more than 1,200 feet below the
general surface of the country. The walls of the lower end of Stillwater
Canyon are very beautifully curved, as the river sweeps in its
meandering course. The lower end of the canyon through which the Grand
comes down is also regular, but much more direct, and we look up this
stream and out into the country beyond and obtain glimpses of snow-clad
peaks, the summits of a group of mountains known as the Sierra La Sal.
Down the Colorado the canyon walls are much broken.

We row around into the Grand and camp on its northwest bank; and here we
propose to stay several days, for the purpose of determining the
latitude and longitude and the altitude of the walls. Much of the night
is spent in making observations with the sextant.

The distance from the mouth of the Uinta to the head of the Canyon of
Desolation is 20 3/4 miles. The Canyon of Desolation is 97 miles long;
Gray Canyon, 36 miles. The course of the river through Gunnison Valley
is 27 1/4 miles; Labyrinth Canyon, 62 1/2 miles.

In the Canyon of Desolation the highest rocks immediately over the river
are about 2,400 feet. This is at Log Cabin Cliff. The highest part of
the terrace is near the brink of the Brown Cliffs. Climbing the
immediate walls of the canyon and passing back to the canyon terrace and
climbing that, we find the altitude above the river to be 3,300 feet.
The lower end of Gray Canyon is about 2,000 feet; the lower end of
Labyrinth Canyon, 1,300 feet.

Stillwater Canyon is 42 3/4 miles long; the highest walls, 1,300 feet.



_July 18_.--The day is spent in obtaining the time and spreading our
rations, which we find are badly injured. The flour has been wet and
dried so many times that it is all musty and full of hard lumps. We make
a sieve of mosquito netting and run our flour through, it, losing more
than 200 pounds by the process. Our losses, by the wrecking of the "No
Name," and by various mishaps since, together with the amount thrown
away to-day, leave us little more than two months' supplies, and to make
them last thus long we must be fortunate enough to lose no more.

We drag our boats on shore and turn them over to recalk and pitch them,
and Sumner is engaged in repairing barometers. While we are here for a
day or two, resting, we propose to put everything in the best shape for
a vigorous campaign.

_July 19.--_Bradley and I start this morning to climb the left wall
below the junction. The way we have selected is up a gulch. Climbing for
an hour over and among the rocks, we find ourselves in a vast
amphitheater and our way cut off. We clamber around to the left for half
an hour, until we find that we cannot go up in that direction. Then we
try the rocks around to the right and discover a narrow shelf nearly
half a mile long. In some places this is so wide that we pass along with
ease; in others it is so narrow and sloping that we are compelled to lie
down and crawl. We can look over the edge of the shelf, down 800 feet,
and see the river rolling and plunging among the rocks. Looking up 500
feet to the brink of the cliff, it seems to blend with the sky. We
continue along until we come to a point where the wall is again broken
down. Up we climb. On the right there is a narrow, mural point
of rocks, extending toward the river, 200 or 300 feet high and 600 or
800 feet long. We come back to where this sets in and find it cut off
from the main wall by a great crevice. Into this we pass; and now a
long, narrow rock is between us and the river. The rock itself is split
longitudinally and transversely; and the rains on the surface above have
run down through the crevices and gathered into channels below and then
run off into the river. The crevices are usually narrow above and, by
erosion of the streams, wider below, forming a network of "caves, each
cave having a narrow, winding skylight up through the rocks. We wander
among these corridors for an hour or two, but find no place where the
rocks are broken down so that we can climb up. At last we determine to
attempt a passage by a crevice, and select one which we think is wide
enough to admit of the passage of our bodies and yet narrow enough to
climb out by pressing our hands and feet against the walls. So we climb
as men would out of a well. Bradley climbs first; I hand him the
barometer, then climb over his head and he hands me the barometer. So we
pass each other alternately until we emerge from the fissure, out on the
summit of the rock. And what a world of grandeur is spread before us!
Below is the canyon through which the Colorado runs. We can trace its
course for miles, and at points catch glimpses of the river. From the
northwest comes the Green in a narrow winding gorge. From the northeast
comes the Grand, through a canyon that seems bottomless from where we
stand. Away to the west are lines of cliffs and ledges of rock--not such
ledges as the reader may have seen where the quarryman splits his
blocks, but ledges from which the gods might quarry mountains that,
rolled out on the plain below, would stand a lofty range; and not such
cliffs as the reader may have seen where the swallow builds its nest,
but cliffs where the soaring eagle is lost to view ere he reaches the
summit. Between us and the distant cliffs are the strangely carved and
pinnacled rocks of the _Toom'pin wunear' Tuweap'._ On the summit of the
opposite wall of the canyon are rock forms that we do not understand.
Away to the east a group of eruptive mountains are seen--the Sierra La
Sal, which we first saw two days ago through the canyon of the Grand.
Their slopes are covered with pines, and deep gulches are flanked with
great crags, and snow fields are seen near the summits. So the mountains
are in uniform,--green, gray, and silver. Wherever we look there is but
a wilderness of rocks,--deep gorges where the rivers are lost below
cliffs and towers and pinnacles, and ten thousand strangely carved forms
in every direction, and beyond them mountains blending with the clouds.

Now we return to camp. While eating supper we very naturally speak of
better fare, as musty bread and spoiled bacon are not palatable. Soon I
see Hawkins down by the boat, taking up the sextant--rather a strange
proceeding for him--and I question him concerning it. He replies that he
is trying to find the latitude and longitude of the nearest pie.

_July 20.--_This morning Captain Powell and I go out to climb the west
wall of the canyon, for the purpose of examining the strange rocks seen
yesterday from the other side. Two hours bring us to the top, at a point
between the Green and Colorado overlooking the junction of the rivers.

A long neck of rock extends toward the mouth of the Grand. Out on this
we walk, crossing a great number of deep crevices. Usually the smooth
rock slopes down to the fissure on either side. Sometimes it is an
interesting question to us whether the slope is not so steep that we
cannot stand on it. Sometimes, starting down, we are compelled to go
on, and when we measure the crevice with our eye from above we are not
always sure that it is not too wide for a jump. Probably the slopes
would not be difficult if there was not a fissure at the lower end; nor
would the fissures cause fear if they were but a few feet deep. It is
curious how a little obstacle becomes a great obstruction when a misstep
would land a man in the bottom of a deep chasm. Climbing the face of a
cliff, a man will without hesitancy walk along a step or shelf but a few
inches wide if the landing is but ten feet below, but if the foot of the
cliff is a thousand feet down he will prefer to crawl along the shelf.
At last our way is cut off by a fissure so deep and wide that we cannot
pass it. Then we turn and walk back into the country, over the smooth,
naked sandstone, without vegetation, except that here and there dwarf
cedars and pinon pines have found a footing in the huge cracks. There
are great basins in the rock, holding water,--some but a few gallons,
others hundreds of barrels.

The day is spent in walking about through these strange scenes. A narrow
gulch is cut into the wall of the main canyon. Follow this up and the
climb is rapid, as if going up a mountain side, for the gulch heads but
a few hundred or a few thousand yards from the wall. But this gulch has
its side gulches, and as the summit is approached a group of radiating
canyons is found. The spaces drained by these little canyons are
terraced, and are, to a greater or less extent, of the form of
amphitheaters, though some are oblong and some rather irregular. Usually
the spaces drained by any two of these little side canyons are separated
by a narrow wall, 100, 200, or 300 feet high, and often but a few feet
in thickness. Sometimes the wall is broken into a line of pyramids above
and still remains a wall below. There are a number of these gulches
which break the wall of the main canyon of the Green, each one having
its system of side canyons and amphitheaters, inclosed by walls or lines
of pinnacles. The course of the Green at this point is approximately at
right angles to that of the Colorado, and on the brink of the latter
canyon we find the same system of terraced and walled glens. The walls
and pinnacles and towers are of sandstone, homogeneous in structure but
not in color, as they show broad bands of red, buff, and gray. This
painting of the rocks, dividing them into sections, increases their
apparent height. In some places these terraced and walled glens along
the Colorado have coalesced with those along the Green; that is, the
intervening walls are broken down. It is very rarely that a loose rock
is seen. The sand is washed off, so that the walls, terraces, and slopes
of the glens are all of smooth sandstone.

In the walls themselves curious caves and channels have been carved. In
some places there are little stairways up the walls; in others, the
walls present what are known as royal arches; and so we wander through
glens and among pinnacles and climb the walls from early morn until late
in the afternoon.

_July 21.--_ We start this morning on the Colorado. The river is rough,
and bad rapids in close succession are found. Two very hard portages are
made during the forenoon. After dinner, in running a rapid, the "Emma
Dean" is swamped and we are thrown into the river; we cling to the boat,
and in the first quiet water below she is righted and bailed out; but
three oars are lost in this mishap. The larger boats land above the
dangerous place, and we make a portage, which occupies all the
afternoon. We camp at night on the rocks on the left bank, and can
scarcely find room to lie down.

_July 22.--_This morning we continue our journey, though short of oars.
There is no timber growing on the walls within our reach and no
driftwood along the banks, so we are compelled to go on until something
suitable can be found. A mile and three quarters below, we find a huge
pile of driftwood, among which are some cottonwood logs. From these we
select one which we think the best, and the men are set at work sawing
oars. Our boats are leaking again, from the strains received in the bad
rapids yesterday, so after dinner they are turned over and some of the
men calk them.

Captain Powell and I go out to climb the wall to the east, for we can
see dwarf pines above, and it is our purpose to collect the resin which
oozes from them, to use in pitching our boats. We take a barometer with
us and find that the walls are becoming higher, for now they register an
altitude above the river of nearly 1,500 feet.

_July 23._--On starting, we come at once to difficult rapids and falls,
that in many places are more abrupt than in any of the canyons through
which we have passed, and we decide to name this Cataract Canyon. From
morning until noon the course of the river is to the west; the scenery
is grand, with rapids, and falls below, and walls above, beset with
crags and pinnacles. Just at noon we wheel again to the south and go
into camp for dinner.

While the cook is preparing it, Bradley, Captain Powell, and I go up
into a side canyon that comes in at this point. We enter through a very
narrow passage, having to wade along the course of a little stream until
a cascade interrupts our progress. Then we climb to the right for a
hundred feet until we reach a little shelf, along which we pass, walking
with great care, for it is narrow; thus we pass around the fall. Here
the gorge widens into a spacious, sky-roofed chamber. In the farther end
is a beautiful grove of cottonwoods, and between us and the cotton-woods
the little stream widens out into three clear lakelets with bottoms of
smooth rock. Beyond the cottonwoods the brook tumbles in a series of
white, shining cascades from heights that seem immeasurable. Turning
around, we can look through the cleft through which we came and see the
river with towering walls beyond. What a chamber for a resting-place is
this! hewn from the solid rock, the heavens for a ceiling, cascade
fountains within, a grove in the conservatory, clear lakelets for a
refreshing bath, and an outlook through the doorway on a raging river,
with cliffs and mountains beyond.

Our way after dinner is through a gorge, grand beyond description. The
walls are nearly vertical, the river broad and swift, but free from
rocks and falls. From the edge of the water to the brink of the cliffs
it is 1,600 to 1,800 feet. At this great depth the river rolls in solemn
majesty. The cliffs are reflected from the more quiet river, and we seem
to be in the depths of the earth, and yet we can look down into waters
that reflect a bottomless abyss. Early in the afternoon we arrive
at the head of more rapids and falls, but, wearied with past work, we
determine to rest, so go into camp, and the afternoon and evening are
spent by the men in discussing the probabilities of successfully
navigating the river below. The barometric records are examined to see
what descent we have made since we left the mouth of the Grand, and what
descent since we left the Pacific Bailroad, and what fall there yet
must be to the river ere we reach the end of the great canyons. The
conclusion at which the men arrive seems to be about this: that there
are great descents yet to be made, but if they are distributed in rapids
and short falls, as they have been heretofore, we shall be able to
overcome them; but may be we shall come to a fall in these canyons which
we cannot pass, where the walls rise from the water's edge, so that we
cannot land, and where the water is so swift that we cannot return. Such
places have been found, except that the falls were not so great but that
we could run them with safety. How will it be in the future t So they
speculate over the serious probabilities in jesting mood.

_July 24.--_We examine the rapids below. Large rocks have fallen from
the walls--great, angular blocks, which have rolled down the talus and
are strewn along the channel. We are compelled to make three portages in
succession, the distance being less than three fourths of a mile, with a
fall of 75 feet. Among these rocks, in chutes, whirlpools, and great
waves, with rushing breakers and foam, the water finds its way, still
tumbling down. We stop for the night only three fourths of a mile below
the last camp. A very hard day's work has been done, and at evening I
sit on a rock by the edge of the river and look at the water and listen
to its roar. Hours ago deep shadows settled into the canyon, as the sun
passed behind the cliffs. Now, doubtless, the sun has gone down, for we
can see no glint of light on the crags above. Darkness is coming on; but
the waves are rolling with crests of foam so white they seem almost to
give a light of their own. Near by, a chute of water strikes the foot of
a great block of limestone 50 feet high, and the waters pile up against
it and roll back. Where there are sunken rocks the water heaps up in
mounds, or even in cones. At a point where rocks come very near the
surface, the water forms a chute above, strikes, and is shot up 10 or 15
feet, and piles back in gentle curves, as in a fountain; and on the
river tumbles and rolls.

_July 25.--_Still more rapids and falls to-day. In one, the "Emma Dean"
is caught in a whirlpool and set spinning about, and it is with great
difficulty we are able to get out of it with only the loss of an oar. At
noon another is made; and on we go, running some of the rapids, letting
down with lines past others, and making two short portages. We camp on
the right bank, hungry and tired.

_July 26.--_We run a short distance this morning and go into camp to
make oars and repair boats and barometers. The walls of the canyon have
been steadily increasing in altitude to this point, and now they are
more than 2,000 feet high. In many places they are vertical from the
water's edge; in others there is a talus between the river and the foot
of the cliff; and they are often broken down by side canyons. It is
probable that the river is nearly as low now as it is ever found.
High-water mark can be observed 40, 50, 60, or 100 feet above its
present stage. Sometimes logs and driftwood are seen wedged into the
crevices over-head, where floods have carried them.

About ten o'clock, Powell, Bradley, Howland, Hall, and I start
up a side canyon to the east. We soon come to pools of water; then to a
brook, which is lost in the sands below; and passing up the brook, we
see that the canyon narrows, the walls close in and are often
overhanging, and at last we find ourselves in a vast amphitheater, with
a pool of deep, clear, cold water on the bottom. At first our way seems
cut off; but we soon discover a little shelf, along which we climb, and,
passing beyond the pool, walk a hundred yards or more, turn to the
right, and find ourselves in another dome-shaped amphitheater. There is
a winding cleft at the top, reaching out to the country above, nearly
2,000 feet overhead. The rounded, basin-shaped bottom is filled with
water to the foot of the walls. There is no shelf by which we can pass
around the foot. If we swim across we meet with a face of rock hundreds
of feet high, over which a little rill glides, and it will be impossible
to climb. So we can go no farther up this canyon. Then we turn back and
examine the walls on either side carefully, to discover, if possible,
some way of climbing out. In this search every man takes his own course,
and we are scattered. I almost abandon the idea of getting out and am
engaged in searching for fossils, when I discover, on the north, a
broken place lip which it may be possible to climb. The way for a
distance is up a slide of rocks; then up an irregular amphitheater, on
points that form steps and give handhold; and then I reach a little
shelf, along which I walk, and discover a vertical fissure parallel to
the face of the wall and reaching to a higher shelf. This fissure is
narrow and I try to climb up to the bench, which is about 40 feet
overhead. I have a barometer on my back, which rather impedes my
climbing. The walls of the fissure are of smooth limestone, offering
neither foothold nor handhold. So I support myself by pressing my back
against one wall and my knees against the other, and in this way lift my
body, in a shuffling manner, a few inches at a time, until I have made
perhaps 25 feet of the distance, when the crevice widens a little and I
cannot press my knees against the rock in front with sufficient power to
give me support in lifting my body; so I try to go back. This I cannot
do without falling. So I struggle along sidewise farther into the
crevice, where it narrows. But by this time my muscles are exhausted,
and I cannot climb longer; so I move still a little farther into the
crevice, where it is so narrow and wedging that I can lie in it, and
there I rest. Five or ten minutes of this relief, and up once more I go,
and reach the bench above. On this I can walk for a quarter of a mile,
till I come to a place where the wall is again broken down, so I can
climb up still farther; and in an hour I reach the summit. I hang up my
barometer to give it a few minutes' time to settle, and occupy myself in
collecting resin from the pinon pines, which are found in great
abundance. One of the principal objects in making this climb was to get
this resin for the purpose of smearing our boats; but I have with me no
means of carrying it down. The day is very hot and my coat was left in
camp, so I have no linings to tear out. Then it occurs to me to cut off
the sleeve of my shirt and tie it up at one end, and in this little sack
I collect about a gallon of pitch. After taking observations for
altitude, I wander back on the rock for an hour or two, when suddenly I
notice that a storm is coming from the south. I seek a shelter in the
rocks; but when the storm bursts, it comes down as a flood from the
heavens,--not with gentle drops at first, slowly increasing in quantity,
but as if suddenly poured out. I am thoroughly drenched and almost
washed away. It lasts not more than half an hour, when the clouds sweep
by to the north and I have sunshine again.

In the meantime I have discovered a better way of getting down, and
start for camp, making the greatest haste possible. On reaching the
bottom of the side canyon, I find a thousand streams rolling down the
cliffs on every side, carrying with them red sand; and these all unite
in the canyon below in one great stream of red mud.

Traveling as fast as I can run, I soon reach the foot of the stream, for
the rain did not reach the lower end of the canyon and the water is
running down a dry bed of sand; and although it conies in waves several
feet high and 15 or 20 feet in width, the sands soak it up and it is
lost. But wave follows wave and rolls along and is swallowed up; and
still the floods come on from above. I find that I can travel faster
than the stream; so I hasten to camp and tell the men there is a river
coming down the canyon. We carry our camp equipage hastily from the bank
to where we think it will be above the water. Then we stand by and see
the river roll on to join the Colorado. Great quantities of gypsum are
found at the bottom of the gorge; so we name it Gypsum Canyon.

_July 27.--_We have more rapids and falls until noon; then we come to a
narrow place in the canyon, with vertical walls for several hundred
feet, above which are steep steps and sloping rocks back to the summits.
The river is very narrow, and we make our way with great care and much
anxiety, hugging the wall on the left and carefully examining the way
before us.

Late in the afternoon we pass to the left around a sharp point, which is

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