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

Part 3 out of 5

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make a picture or two of the Dirty Devil River,--or the Fremont River
as it is now recorded on the maps. This stream, flowing from the
north, was the exact opposite of the Bright Angel Creek, that
beautiful stream we knew so well, two hundred and fifty miles below
this point. The Dirty Devil was muddy and alkaline, while warm springs
containing sulphur and other minerals added to its unpalatable taste.
After tasting it we could well understand the feeling of the Jack
Sumner, whose remark, after a similar trial, suggested its name to
Major Powell.

A short distance below this we saw a tent, and found it occupied by an
old-timer named Kimball. Among other things he told us that he had a
partner, named Turner, who had made the trip through the canyons
above, and arrived at this point in safety. This was the man whose
name we had seen on the walls in Cataract Canyon. Less than two miles
more brought us to the Hite ranch, and post-office. John Hite gave us
a cordial reception. He had known of our coming from the newspapers;
besides, he had some mail for us. We spent the balance of the day in
writing letters, and listening to Hite's interesting experiences of
his many years of residence in this secluded spot. Hite's home had
been a haven for the sole survivor of two expeditions which had met
with disaster in Cataract. In each case they were on the verge of
starvation. Hite kept a record of all known parties who had attempted
the passage through the canyons above. Less than half of these
parties, excepting Galloway's several successful trips, succeeded in
getting through Cataract Canyon without wrecking boats or losing

After passing the Fremont River the walls on the right or north side
dropped down, leaving low, barren sandstone hills rolling away from
the river, with a fringe of willows and shrubs beside the water, and
with the usual sage-brush, prickly pear, cactus and bunch-grass on the
higher ground. We had seen one broken-down log cabin, but this ranch
was the only extensive piece of ground that was cultivated. Judging by
the size of his stacks of alfalfa, Hite had evidently had a good
season. The banks of the south side of the river were about two
hundred feet high, composed of a conglomerate mass of clay and gravel.
This spot has long been a ferry crossing, known far and wide as Dandy
Crossing, the only outlet across the river for the towns of
southeastern Utah, along the San Juan River. The entire 150 miles of
Glen Canyon had once been the scene of extensive placer operations.
The boom finally died, a few claims only proving profitable.

One of these claims was held by Bert Loper, one of the three miners
who had gone down the river in 1908. Loper never finished, as his
boat--a steel boat, by the way--was punctured in a rapid above Dark
Canyon but was soon repaired. His cameras and plates being lost, he
sent from Hite out for new ones. His companions--Chas. Russell, and
E.R. Monette--were to wait for him at Lee's Ferry, after having
prospected through Glen Canyon. Some mistake was made about the
delivery of the cameras and, as Hite post-office only had weekly
communication with the railroad, a month elapsed before he finally
secured them. Lee's Ferry had been discontinued as a post-office at
that time, and, although he tried to get a letter in to them, it was
never delivered. His disappointment can be imagined better than
described, when he reached Lee's Ferry and found his companions had
left just a few days previous. They naturally thought if he were
coming at all he would have been there long before that, and they gave
him up, not knowing the cause of the delay. They left a letter,
however, saying they would only go to the Bright Angel Trail, and the
trip could be completed together on the following year.

Loper spent many hard days working his boat, with his load of
provisions, back against the current, and located a few miles below
the Hite ranch.



We passed Loper's claim after resuming our journey the next day. His
workings were a one-man proposition and very ingenious. We found a
tunnel in the gravel a hundred feet above the river, and some distance
back from the river bank. A track of light rails ran from the river
bank to these workings; the gravel and sand was loaded into a car, and
hauled or pushed to the bank, then dumped into a chute, which sent it
down to the river's edge.

Loper was not at his work however, neither did we find him at his
ranch, a mile down the river. He had a neat little place, with fruit
trees and a garden, a horse or two, and some poultry. After resuming
our rowing, when about a mile down the river, some one called to us
from the shore, and Loper himself came running down to meet us. John
Hite had requested us to stop and see his brother, Cass Hite, who
owned a ranch and placer working nearly opposite where Loper had
halted us; so Loper crossed with us, as he was anxious to know of our
passage through the canyons.

We found, in Cass Hite, an interesting "old-timer," one who had
followed the crowd of miners and pioneers, in the West, since the
discovery of gold on the coast. He was the discoverer of the White
Canyon Natural Bridges, of Southern Utah, located between this point
and the San Juan River, and had been the first to open the ferry at
Dandy Crossings. Hite had prospected Navajo Mountain, southwest of
this point, in the early sixties, about the time of the Navajos'
trouble with the United States army, under the leadership of Kit
Carson, who dislodged them from their strongholds in the mountains
after many others had failed. Hite's life was saved on more than one
occasion by warnings from a friendly chief, or head man of the Western
Navajos, known as Hoskaninni, who regarded him as a brother, and
bestowed on him the name, Hosteen pes'laki, meaning "Silver man." He
is still known by this name, and refers to his pretty ranch as Tick a
Bo, a Ute word for "friendly." Hite proudly quoted a poem written by
Cy Warman about the theme of the Indian's regard for his white friend.
Warman had followed the crowd in to this spot at the time of the boom,
looking for local colour--human local colour, not the glitter in the
sands. It was at John Hite's home where Warman had composed the one
time popular song, "Sweet Marie." It would be safe to say that he
brought his inspiration with him, for this was decidedly a man's
country. We were told that it had only been visited by one woman in
the past twelve years. Hite insisted on our remaining until the
following morning, and we concluded that the rest would do us good. He
loaded us up with watermelons, and with raisins, which he was curing
at that time. We spent a pleasant afternoon under a shaded arbour,
listening to his reminiscences, and munching at the raisins.

That evening Loper told us his story of their canyon expedition. He
felt a little bitter about some newspaper reports that had been
published concerning this expedition, these reports giving the
impression that his nerve had failed him, and that for this reason he
had not continued on the journey. We mollified his feelings somewhat,
when we told him that his companions were not responsible for these
reports; but rather, that short telegraphic reports, sent out from the
Grand Canyon, had been misconstrued by the papers; and that this
accounted for the stories which had appeared. His companions had
remained at the Grand Canyon for two days following their arrival at
Bright Angel Trail. They gave Loper credit, to our certain knowledge,
of being the only one of the party who knew how to handle the boats in
rough water when they began the trip, and had stated that he ran all
the boats through certain rapids until they caught the knack. They
could not know of his reasons for the delay, and at that time had no
knowledge of his arrival at Lee's Ferry, after they had gone.
Naturally they were very much puzzled over his non-appearance.

It got quite cold that night, and we were glad to have shelter of
Hite's hospitable roof. In our trip down the river to this point we
had seemed to keep even with the first cold weather. In all places
where it was open, we would usually find a little ice accompanied by
frost in the mornings, or if no ice had frozen the grass would be wet
with dew. In the canyons there was little or no ice, and the air was
quite dry. Naturally we preferred the canyons if we had a choice of

Loper looked as though he would like to accompany us as we pulled away
the next morning, after having landed him on the south side of the
stream. We, at least, had full confidence in his nerve to tackle the
lower Colorado, after his record in Cataract Canyon. The five
scattered peaks of the Henry Mountains were now to the north-northwest
of us, rugged and snow-capped, supreme in their majesty above this
desolate region.

Signs of an ancient Indian race were plentiful in this section. There
were several small cliff dwellings, walled up in ledges in the rocks,
a hundred feet or so above a low flat which banked the river. At
another place there were hundreds of carvings on a similar wall which
overhung a little. Drawings of mountain-sheep were plentiful; there
was one representing a human figure with a bow and arrow, and with a
sheep standing on the arrow--their way of telling that he got the
sheep, no doubt. There were masked figures engaged in a dance, not
unlike some of the Hopi dances of to-day, as they picture them. There
were geometrical figures, and designs of many varieties. A small rock
building half covered with sand and the accumulations of many years
stood at the base of the cliff; and quantities of broken pottery were
scattered about the ruin. Farther down the river a pathway was worn
into the sandstone where countless bare and moccasined feet had
toiled, and climbed over the sloping wall to the mesa above. The ruins
in this section were not extensive, like those found in the tributary
canyons of the San Juan River, for instance, not a very great distance
from here. Possibly this people stopped here as they travelled back
and forth, trading with their cousins to the north; or the dwellings
may have been built by the scattered members of the tribe, when their
strongholds were assailed by the more warlike tribes that crowded in
on them from all sides.

What a story these cliffs could tell! What a romance they could
narrate of various tribes, as distinct from each other as the nations
of Europe, crowding each other; and at the last of this inoffensive
race, coming from the far south, it may be; driven from pillar to
post, making their last stand in this desert land; to perish of
pestilence, or to be almost exterminated by the blood-thirsty tribes
that surrounded them--then again, when the tide changed, and a new
type of invader travelled from the east, pushing ever to the west,
conquering all before them! But like the sphinx, the cliffs are silent
and voiceless as the hillocks and sand-dunes along the Nile, that
other desert stream, with a history no more ancient and momentous than

That night we camped opposite the ruins of a dredge, sunk in the low
water at the edge of the river. This dredge had once represented the
outlay of a great deal of money. It is conceded by nearly all experts
that the sands of these rivers contain gold, but it is of such a fine
grain--what is known as flour gold--and the expense of saving it is so
great, that it has not paid when operated on such a large scale. A few
placers in Glen Canyon have paid individual operators, some of these
claims being in gravel deposits from six hundred to eight hundred feet
above the present level of the river.

On the following day we again entered deep canyon; sheer for several
hundred feet, creamy white above, with a dark red colour in the lower
sandstone walls. That afternoon we passed a small muddy stream flowing
from the north, in a narrow, rock-walled canyon. This was the
Escalante River, a stream rising far to the north, named for one of
the Spanish priests who had travelled this country, both to the north
and the south of this point, as early as the year 1776, about the time
when the New England colonists were in the midst of their struggle
with the mother country.

Just below the Escalante River, the canyon turned almost directly
south, continuing in this general direction for several miles. A
glimpse or two was had of the top of a tree-covered snow-capped peak
directly ahead of us, or a little to the southwest. This could be none
other than Navajo Mountain, a peak we could see from the Grand Canyon,
and had often talked of climbing, but debated if we could spare the
time, now that we were close to it.

In all this run through Glen Canyon we had a good current, but only
one place resembling a rapid. Here, below the Escalante, it was very
quiet, and hard pulling was necessary to make any headway. We were
anxious to reach the San Juan River that evening, but the days were
growing short, and we were still many miles away when it began to grow
dusk; so we kept a lookout for a suitable camp. The same conditions
that had bothered us on one or two previous occasions were found here;
slippery, muddy banks, and quicksand, together with an absence of
firewood. We had learned before this to expect these conditions where
the water was not swift. The slower stream had a chance to deposit its
silt, and if the high water had been very quiet, we could expect to
find it soft, or boggy. In the canyons containing swift water and
rapids we seldom found mud, but found a firm sand, instead. Here in
Glen Canyon we had plenty of mud, for the river had been falling the
last few days. Time and again we inspected seemingly favourable
places, only to be disappointed. The willows and dense shrubbery came
down close to the river; the mud was black, deep, and sticky; all
driftwood had gone out on the last flood. Meanwhile a glorious full
moon had risen, spreading a soft, weird light over the canyon walls
and the river; so that we now had a light much better than the dusk of
half an hour previous, our course being almost due south. Finally,
becoming discouraged, we decided to pull for the San Juan River,
feeling sure that we would find a sand-bar there. It was late when we
reached it, and instead of a sand-bar we found a delta of bottomless
mud. We had drifted past the point where the rivers joined, before
noticing that the stream turned directly to the west, with canyon
walls two or three hundred feet high, and no moonlight entered there.
Instead, it was black as a dungeon. From down in that darkness there
came a muffled roar, reverberating against the walls, and sounding
decidedly like a rapid. There was not a minute to lose. We pulled, and
pulled hard--for the stream was now quite swift close to the right
shore, and a sheer bank of earth about ten feet high made it difficult
to land. Jumping into the mud at the edge of the water, we tied the
boats to some bushes, then tore down the bank and climbed out on a
dry, sandy point of land. At the end or sharp turn of the sheer wall
we found a fair camp, with driftwood enough for that night. Emery,
weak from his former illness and the long day's run, went to bed as
soon as we had eaten a light supper. I looked after the cooking that
evening, making some baking-powder bread,--otherwise known as a
flapjack,--along with other arrangements for the next day; but I fear
my efforts as a cook always resulted rather poorly.

We had breakfast at an early hour the next morning and were ready for
the boats at 7.15, the earliest start to our record. Our rapid of the
night before proved to be a false alarm, being nothing more than the
breaking of swift water as it swept the banks of rocks at the turn. It
was quite different from what we had pictured in our minds.

We had long looked forward to this day. Navajo Mountain, with bare,
jagged sides and tree-covered dome, was located just a few miles below
this camp. It was a sandstone mountain peak, towering 7000 feet above
the river, the steep slope beginning some five or six miles back from
the stream. The base on which it rested was of sandstone, rounded and
gullied into curious forms, a warm red and orange colour
predominating. The north side, facing the river, was steep of slope,
covered with the fragments of crumbled cliffs and with soft
cream-tinted pinnacles rising from its slope. The south side, we had
reason, to believe, was tree-covered from top to bottom; the north
side held only a few scattered cedar pinon We had often seen the hazy
blue dome from the Grand Canyon, one hundred and twenty miles away,
and while it was fifty miles farther by the river, we felt as if we
were entered on the home stretch; as if we were in a country with
which we were somewhat familiar.

The Colorado and the San Juan rivers form the northern boundary of the
Navajo Indian Reservation, comprising a tract of land as large as many
Eastern states, extending over a hundred miles, both east and west
from this point. Embodied in this reservation, and directly opposite
our camp, was a small section of rugged land set aside for some Utes,
who had friendly dealings, and who had intermarried with the Navajo.
But if we expected to find the Navajo, or Utes on the shore, ready to
greet us, we were doomed to disappointment.

We explored a few side canyons this morning, hoping to find a spot
where some of Major Powell's party--particularly those men who were
afterwards killed by the Indians--had chiselled their names, which
record we were told was to be found near the San Juan, but on which
side we were not sure. While in one of these canyons, or what was
really nothing more than a crooked overhanging slit in the rocks,
containing a small stream, Emery found himself in some soft quicksand,
plunged instantly above his knees, and sinking rapidly. He would have
had a difficult time in getting out of this quicksand without help,
for a smooth, rock wall was on one side, the other bank of the stream
was sheer above him for a few feet, and there was nothing solid which
he could reach. We had seen a great deal of quicksand before this, but
nothing of this treacherous nature. Usually we could walk quickly over
these sands without any danger of being held in them, or if
caught--while lifting on a boat for instance--had no difficulty in
getting out. When once out of this canyon we gave up our search for
the carved record.

But it was not the hope of shortening our homeward run, or the
prospect of meeting Indians on the shores, or of finding historical
records, even, that caused us to make this early start. It was the
knowledge that the wonderful Rainbow Natural Bridge, recently
discovered, and only visited by three parties of whites, lay hidden in
one of the side canyons that ran from the north slope of Navajo
Mountain. No one had gone into it from the river, but we were told it
could be done. We hoped to find this bridge.

The current was swift, and we travelled fast, in spite of a stiff wind
which blew up the stream, getting a very good view of the mountain
from the river a few miles below our camp, and another view of the
extreme top, a short distance below this place, not over six miles
from the San Juan. We had directions describing the canyon in which
the bridge was located, our informant surmising that it was thirty
miles below the San Juan. We thought it must be less than that, for
the river was very direct at this place, and a person travelling over
the extremely rough country which surrounded this side of the mountain
slope would naturally have to travel much farther, so began to look
for it about twelve miles below camp. But mile after mile went by
without any sign of the landmarks that would tell us we were at the
"Bridge Canyon." Then the river, which had circled the northern side
of the peak, turned directly away from it, and we knew that we had
missed the bridge. At no point on the trip had we met with a
disappointment to equal that; even the loss of our moving-picture
film, after our spill in Lodore, was small when compared with it.

On looking back over the lay of the land, we felt sure that the bridge
was at one of the two places, where we had seen the top of the
mountain from the river. To go back against the current would take at
least three days. Our provisions were limited in quantity and would
not permit it; the canyon had deepened, and a second bench of sheer
cliffs rose above the plateau, making it impossible to climb out: so
we concluded to make the best of it, and pulled down the stream,
trying to put as many miles as possible between ourselves and our
great disappointment. This afternoon we passed from Utah into Arizona.
For the remainder of the trip we would have Arizona on one side of the
river at least. We had much the same difficulty this evening as we had
the night before in finding a camp. Judging by the evidence along the
shore, the high water which came down the San Juan had been a torrent,
much greater than the flood on the Colorado and its upper tributaries.



We camped that night at the Ute Ford, or the Crossing of the Fathers;
a noted landmark of bygone days, when Escalante (in 1776) and others
later followed the inter-tribal trails across these unfriendly lands.
Later marauding Navajo used this trail, crossing the canyon to the
north side, raiding the scattered Mormon settlements, bringing their
stolen horses, and even sheep, down this canyon trail. Then they drove
them across on a frozen river, and escaped with them to their mountain
fastness. The Mormons finally tired of these predatory visits, and
shut off all further loss from that source by blasting off a great
ledge at the north end of the trail. This ruined the trail beyond all
hope of repair, and there is no travel at present over the old Ute
Crossing. The fording of the river on horseback was effected by
dropping down to the river through a narrow side canyon, and crossing
to the centre on a shoal, then following a centre shoal down quite a
distance, and completing the crossing at a low point on the opposite
side. This was only possible at the very lowest stage of water.

The morning following our arrival here, we walked about a mile up the
gravelly slope on the south side, to see if we could locate the pass
by which the trail dropped down over these 3000-foot walls. The canyon
had changed in appearance after leaving the mountain, and now we had a
canyon; smaller, but not unlike the Grand Canyon in appearance, with
an inner plateau, and a narrow canyon at the river, while the walls on
top were several miles apart, and towering peaks or buttes rose from
the plateau, reaching a height almost equal to the walls themselves.
The upper walls were cream-tinted or white sandstone, the lower
formation was a warm red sandstone. We could not discover the pass
without a long walk to the base of the upper cliffs, so returned to
the boats.

About this time we heard shots, seeming to come from some point down
the river, and on the north side. Later a dull hollow sound was heard
like pounding on a great bass drum. We could not imagine what it was,
but knew that it must be a great distance away. We had noticed
instances before this, where these smooth, narrow canyon had a great
magnifying effect on noises. In the section above the San Juan, where
the upper walls overhung a little, a loud call would roll along for
minutes before it finally died. A shot from a revolver sounded as if
the cliff were falling.

Our run this morning was delightful. The current was the best on which
we had travelled. The channel swung from side to side, in great half
circles, with most of the water thrown against the outside bank, or
wall, with a five-or six-mile an hour current close to the wall. We
took advantage of all this current, hugging the wall, with the stern
almost touching, and with the bow pointed out so we would not run into
the walls or scrape our oars. Then, when it seemed as if our necks
were about to be permanently dislocated, from looking over one
shoulder, the river would reverse its curve, the channel would cross
to the other side, and we would give that side of our necks a rest.
Once in a great while I would bump a rock, and would look around
sheepishly, to see if my brother had seen me do it. I usually found
him with a big grin on his face, if he happened to be ahead of me.

We rowed about twenty miles down the river before we learned what had
caused the noises heard in the morning. On rounding a turn we saw the
strange spectacle of fifteen or twenty men at work on the
half-constructed hull of a flat-bottomed steamboat, over sixty feet in
length. This boat was on the bank quite a distance above the water,
with the perpendicular walls of a crooked side canyon rising above it.
It was a strange sight, here in this out-of-the-way corner of the
world. Some men with heavy sledges were under the boat, driving large
spikes into the planking. This was the noise we had heard that

The blasting, we learned later, was at some coal mines, several miles
up this little canyon, which bore the name of Warm Creek Canyon. A
road led down through the canyon, making it possible to haul the
lumber for the boat, clear to the river's edge. The nearest railroad
was close to two hundred miles from this place, quite a haul
considering the ruggedness of the country. The material for the boat
had been shipped from San Francisco, all cut, ready to put together.
The vessel was to be used to carry coal down the river, to a dredge
that had recently been installed at Lee's Ferry.

The dinner gong had just sounded when we landed, and we were taken
along with the crowd. There were some old acquaintances in this group
of men, we found, from Flagstaff, Arizona. These men had received a
Flagstaff paper which had published a short note we had sent from
Green River, Utah. They had added a comment that no doubt this would
be the last message we would have an opportunity to send out. Very
cheering for Emery's wife, no doubt. Fortunately she shared our
enthusiasm, and if she felt any apprehension her few letters failed to
show it.

We resumed our rowing at once after dinner, for we wished to reach
Lee's Ferry, twenty-five miles distant, that evening. We had a good
current, and soon left our friends behind us. We pulled with a will,
and mile after mile was covered in record time, for our heavy boats.

The walls continued to get higher as we neared our goal, going up
sheer close to the river. We judged the greatest of these walls to be
about eleven hundred feet high. After four hours of steady pulling we
began to weary, for ours were no light loads to propel; but we were
spurred to renewed effort by hearing the sounds of an engine in the
distance. On rounding a turn we saw the end of Glen Canyon ahead of
us, marked by a breaking down of the walls, and a chaotic mixture of
dikes of rock, and slides of brilliantly coloured shales, broken and
tilted in every direction. Just below this, close to a ferry, we saw
the dredge on the right side of the river. We were quite close to the
dredge before we were seen. Some men paused at their work to watch us
as we neared them, one man calling to those behind him, "There come
the brothers!"

A whistle blew announcing the end of their day's labour, and of ours
as well, as it happened. There was some cheering and waving of hats.
One who seemed to be the foreman asked us to tie up to a float which
served as a landing for three motor boats, and a number of skiffs. A
loudly beaten triangle of steel announced that the evening meal was
ready at a stone building not far from the dredge. We were soon seated
at a long table with a lot of others as hungry as we, partaking of a
well-cooked and substantial meal. We made arrangements to take a few
meals here, as we wished to overhaul our outfits before resuming our

The meal ended, we inquired for the post-office, and were directed to
a ranch building across the Paria River, a small stream which entered
from the north, not unlike the Fremont River in size and appearance.
Picking our way in the darkness, on boulders and planks which served
as a crossing, we soon reached the building, set back from the river
in the centre of the ranch. A man named Johnson, with his family, had
charge of the ranch and post-office as well. Mail is brought by
carrier from the south, a cross-country trip of 160 miles, through the
Hopi and Navajo Indian Reservations.

Johnson informed us that an old-time friend named Dave Rust had waited
here three or four days, hoping to see us arrive, but business matters
had forced him to leave just the day before. We were very sorry to
have missed him. Rust lived in the little Mormon town of Kanab, Utah,
eighty miles north of the Grand Canyon opposite our home. In addition
to being a cattle man and rancher, he had superintended the
construction of a cable crossing, or tramway, over the Colorado River,
beside the mouth of Bright Angel Creek, not many miles from our home.
He also maintains a cozy camp at this place, for the accommodation of
tourists and hunting parties, which he conducts up Bright Angel Creek
and into the Kaibab Forest. It was while returning from such a hunting
trip that we first met Rust. Many are the trips we have taken with him
since then, Emery, with his wife and the baby, even, making the
"crossing" and the eighty-mile horseback ride to his home in Kanab,
while I had continued on through to Salt Lake City. Rust had been the
first to tell us of Galloway and his boating methods; and had given us
a practical demonstration on the river. Naturally there was no one we
would have been more pleased to see at that place, than Rust.

In our mail we found a letter from him, stating, among other things,
that he had camped the night before on the plateau, a few hundred feet
above a certain big rapid, well known through this section as the Soap
Creek Rapid. This locality is credited with being the scene of the
first fatality which overtook the Brown-Stanton expedition; Brown
being upset and drowned in the next rapid which followed, after having
portaged the Soap Creek Rapid. Rust wrote also that there was a shore
along the rapid, so there would be no difficulty in making the
portage; and concluded by saying that he had a very impressive dream
about us that night, the second of its kind since we had started on
our journey.

We understood from this that he had certain misgivings about this
rapid, and took his dream to be a sort of a warning. Rust should have
known us better. With all the perversity of human nature that letter
made me want to run that rapid if it were possible. Why run the rapid,
and get a moving picture as it was being done. Then we could show Rust
how well we had learned our lesson! So I thought as we returned to the
buildings near the dredge, but said nothing of what was in my mind to
Emery, making the mental reservation that I would see the rapid first
and decide afterwards.

The foreman of the placer mines called us into his office that
evening, and suggested that it might be a good plan to go over our
boats thoroughly before we left, and offered us the privilege of using
their workshop, with all its conveniences, for any needed repairs. He
also let us have a room in one of the buildings for our photographic

This foreman mourned the loss of a friend who had recently been
drowned at the ferry. It seemed that the floods which had preceded us,
especially that part which came down the San Juan River, had been
something tremendous, rising 45 feet at the ferry, where the river was
400 feet wide; and rising much higher in the narrow portions of Glen
Canyon. Great masses of driftwood had floated down, looking almost
like a continuous raft. When the river had subsided somewhat, an
attempt was made to cross with the ferry. The foreman and his friend,
with two others, and a team of horses hitched to a wagon, were on the
ferry. When in midstream it overturned in the swollen current. Three
of the men escaped, the other man and the horses were drowned.

A careful search had been made for the body to a point a few miles
down the river, then the canyon closed in and they could go no
farther. The body was never recovered. It is seldom that the Colorado
River gives up its dead. The heavy sands collect in the clothes, and a
body sinks much quicker than in ordinary water. Any object lodged on
the bottom is soon covered with a sand-bar. The foreman knew this, of
course; yet he wished us to keep a lookout for the body, which might,
by some chance, have caught on the shore, when the water receded. This
was as little as any one would do, and we gave him our promise to keep
a careful watch.



We declined the offer of a roof that night, preferring to sleep in the
open here, for the evening was quite warm. We went to work the next
morning when the whistle sounded at the dredge. Beyond caulking a few
leaks in the boats, little was done with them. The tin receptacles
holding our photographic plates and films were carefully coated with a
covering of melted paraffine; for almost anything might happen, in the
one hundred miles of rapid water that separated us from our home.

Lee's Ferry was an interesting place, both for its old and its new
associations. This had long been the home of John D. Lee, well known
for the part he took in the Mountain Meadow Massacre, and for which he
afterwards paid the death penalty. Here Lee had lived for many years,
making few visits to the small settlements to the north, but on one of
these visits he was captured. There were six or seven other buildings
near the large stone building where we took our meals, so arranged
that they made a short street, the upper row being built against a
cliff of rock and shale, the other row being placed halfway between
this row and the river. These buildings were all of rock, of which
there was no lack, plastered with adobe, or mud. One, we were told,
had been Lee's stronghold, it was a square building, with a few very
small windows, and with loopholes in the sides. At the time of our
visit it was occupied by two men; one, a young Englishman, recently
arrived from South Africa--a remittance-man, in search of novelty--the
other a grizzled forty-niner. Much could be written about this
interesting group of men, and their alluring employment. There were
some who had followed this work through all the camps of the West--to
Colorado, to California, and to distant Alaska as well, they had
journeyed; but it is doubtful if, in all their wanderings, they had
seen any camp more strangely located than this, hemmed in with canyon
walls. To us, their dredge and the steamboat up the river seemed as if
they had been taken from the pages of some romance, or bit of fiction,
and placed before us for our entertainment.

There were other men as well, just as interesting m their way as the
"old-timers," the sons of some of the owners of this
proposition,--clean-cut young fellows,--working side by side with the
veterans, as enthusiastic as if on their college campus.

One feature about the dredge interested us greatly. This was a tube,
or sucker, held suspended by a derrick above a float, and operated by
compressed air. The tube was dropped into the sand at the bottom of
the river, and would eat its way into it, bringing up rocks the size
of one's fist, along with the gravel and sand. In a few hours a hole,
ten or fifteen feet in depth and ten feet in diameter, would be
excavated. Then the tube was raised, the float was moved, and the work
started again. The coarse sand and gravel, carried by a stream of
water, was returned to the river, after passing over the riffles; the
screenings which remained passed over square metal plates--looking
like sheets of tin--covered with quicksilver. These plates were
cleaned with a rubber window-cleaner, and the entire residue was saved
in a heavy metal pot, ready for the chemist.

One day only was needed for our work, and by evening we were ready for
the next plunge. We might have enjoyed a longer stay with these men,
but stronger than this desire was our anxiety to reach our home,
separated from us by a hundred miles of river, no extended part of the
distance being entirely free from rapids. We had written to the Grand
Canyon, bidding them look for our signal fire in Bright Angel Creek
Canyon, in from seven to ten days, and planned to leave on the
following morning. Nothing held us now except the hope that the mail,
which was due that evening, might bring us a letter, although that was
doubtful, for we were nearly a week ahead of our schedule as laid out
at Green River, Utah.

As we had anticipated, there was no mail for us, so we turned to
inspect the mail carrier. He was a splendid specimen of the Navajo
Indian,--a wrestler of note amoung his people, we were told,--large
and muscular, and with a peculiar springy, slouchy walk that gave one
the impression of great reserve strength. He had ridden that day from
Tuba, an agency on their reservation, about seventy miles distant.
This was the first sign of an Indian that we had seen in this section,
although we had been travelling along the northern boundary of their
reservation since leaving the mouth of the San Juan. These Indians
have no use for the river, being children of the desert, rather than
of the water. Beyond an occasional crossing and swimming their horses
at easy fords, they make no attempt at its navigation, even in the
quiet water of Glen Canyon.

Some of the men showed this Indian our boats, and told him of our
journey. He smiled, and shrugged his massive shoulders as much as to
say, he "would believe it when he saw it." He had an opportunity to
see us start, at least, on the following morning.

Before leaving, we climbed a 300-foot mound on the left bank of the
Paria River, directly opposite the Lee ranch. This mound is known as
Lee's Lookout. Whether used by Lee or not, it had certainly served
that purpose at some time. A circular wall of rock was built on top
the mound, and commanded an excellent view of all the approaches to
the junction of the rivers. This spot is of particular interest to the
geologist, for a great fault, indicated by the Vermilion Cliffs, marks
the division between Glen Canyon and Marble Canyon. This line of
cliffs extends to the south for many miles across the Painted Desert,
and north into Utah for even a greater distance, varying in height
from two hundred feet at the southern end to as many thousand feet in
some places to the north. Looking to the west, we could see that here
was another of those sloping uplifts of rock, with the river cutting
down, increasing the depth of the canyon with every mile.

We had now descended about 2900 feet since leaving Green River City,
Wyoming, not a very great fall for the distance travelled if an
average is taken, but a considerable portion of the distance was on
quiet water, as we have noted, with a fall of a foot or two to the
mile, and with alternate sections only containing bad water. We were
still at an elevation of 3170 feet above the sea-level, and in the 283
miles of canyon ahead of us--Marble Canyon and the Grand Canyon
combined--the river descends 2330 feet, almost a continuous series of
rapids from this point to the end of the Grand Canyon.

After a hasty survey from our vantage point, we returned to the river
and prepared to embark. As we left the dredge, the work was closed
down for a few minutes, and the entire crowd of men, about forty in
number, stood on an elevation to watch us run the first rapid. The
Indian had crossed to the south side of the to feed his horse and
caught a glimpse of us as we went past him. Running pell-mell down to
his boat, he crossed the river and joined the group on the bank. About
this time we were in the grip of the first rapid, a long splashy one,
with no danger whatever, but large enough to keep us busy until we had
passed from view.

A few miles below this, after running a pair of small rapids, we
reached a larger one, known as the Badger Creek Rapid, with a
twenty-foot drop in the first 250 feet, succeeded by a hundred yards
of violent water. Emery had a little difficulty in this rapid, when
his boat touched a rock which turned the boat sideways in the current,
and he was nearly overturned in the heavy waves which followed. As it
was, we were both drenched.

About the middle of the afternoon, twelve miles below Lee's Ferry, we
reached the Soap Creek Rapid of which we had heard so much. The rapid
had a fall of twenty-five feet, and was a quarter of a mile long. Most
of the fall occurred in the first fifty yards. The river had narrowed
down until it was less than two hundred feet wide at the beginning of
the descent. Many rocks were smattered all through the upper end,
especially at the first drop. On the very brink or edge of the first
fall, there was a submerged rock in the centre of the channel, making
an eight-foot fall over the rock. A violent current, deflected from
the left shore, shot into this centre and added to the confusion.
Twelve-foot waves from the conflicting currents, played leap-frog,
jumping over or through each other alternately. Clearly there was no
channel on that side. On the right or north side of the stream it
looked more feasible, as the water shot down a sloping chute over a
hundred feet before meeting with an obstruction. This came in the
shape of two rocks, one about thirty feet below the other. To run the
rapid this first rock would have to be passed before any attempt could
be made to pull away from the second rock, which was quite close to
the shore. Once past that there was a clear channel to the end of the
rapid, if the centre, which contained many rocks, was avoided. Below
the rapid was the usual whirlpool, then a smaller rapid, running under
the left wall. This second rapid was the one that had been so fatal
for Brown. The Soap Creek rapid in many ways was not as bad as some we
had gone over in Cataract Canyon, but there were so many complications
that we hesitated a long time before coming to a decision that we
would make an attempt with one boat, depending on our good luck which
had brought us through so many times, as much as we depended on our
handling of the boat.

It was planned that I should make the first attempt while Emery
remained with the motion-picture camera just below the rock that we
most feared, with the agreement that he was to get a picture of the
upset if one occurred, then run to the lower end of the rapid with a
rope and a life-preserver.

After adjusting life-preservers I returned to my boat and was soon on
the smooth water above the rapid, holding my boat to prevent her from
being swept over the rock in the centre, jockeying for the proper
position before I would allow her to be carried into the current. Once
in, it seemed but an instant until I was past the first rock, and
almost on top of the second. I was pulling with every ounce of
strength, and was almost clear of the rock when the stern touched it
gently. I had no idea the boat would overturn, but thought she would
swing around the rock, heading bow first into the stream, as had been
done before on several occasions. Instead of this she was thrown on
her side with the bottom of the boat held against the rock while I
found myself thrown out of the boat, but hanging to the gunwale. Then
the boat swung around and instantly turned upright while I scrambled
back into the cockpit. Looking over my shoulder, when I had things
well in hand again, I saw my brother was still at the camera, white as
a sheet, but turning at the crank as if our entire safety depended on
it. After I landed the water-filled boat, however, he confessed to me
that he had no idea whether he had caught the upset or not, as he may
have resumed the work when he saw that I was safe.

Then we went to work to find out what damage was done. First we found
that the case, which was supposed to be waterproof, had a half-inch of
water inside, but fortunately none of our films were wet. Some plates
which we had just exposed and which were still in the holders were
soaked. The cameras also had suffered. We hurriedly wiped off the
surplus water and piled these things on the shore, then emptied the
boat of a few barrels of water.

This one experience, I suppose, should have been enough for me with
that rapid, but I foolishly insisted on making another trial at it
with the _Edith_, for I felt sure I could make it if I only had
another chance, and the fact that Emery had the empty boat at the end
of the rapid and could rescue me if an upset occurred greatly lessened
the danger. The idea of making a portage, with the loss of nearly a
day, did not appeal to me.

Emery agreed to this reluctantly, and advised waiting until morning,
for it was growing dusk, but with the remark "I will sleep better with
both boats tied at the lower end of the rapid," I returned to the
_Edith_. To make a long story short I missed my channel, and was
carried over the rock in the centre of the stream. The _Edith_ had
bravely mounted the first wave, and was climbing the second comber,
standing almost on end, seemed to me, when the wave crested over the
stern while the current shooting it from the side struck the submerged
bow and she fell back in the water upside down. It was all done so
quickly, I hardly knew what had occurred, but found myself in the
water, whirling this way and that, holding to the right oar with a
death-grip. I wondered if the strings would hold, and felt a great
relief when the oar stopped slipping down,--as the blade reached the
ring. It was the work of a second to climb the oar, and I found I was
under the cockpit. Securing a firm hold on the gunwale, which had
helped us so often, I got on the outside of the boat, thinking I might
climb on top. About that time one of the largest waves broke over me,
knocking me on the side of the head as if with a solid object, nearly
tearing me from the boat. After that I kept as close to the boat as
possible, paddling with my feet to keep them clear of rocks. Then the
suction of the boat caught them and dragged them under, and for the
rest of the rapid I had all I could do to hang to the boat. As the
rapid dwindled I began to look for Emery, but was unable to see him,
for it was now growing quite dark, but I could see a fire on shore
that he had built. I tried to call but was strangled with the breaking
waves; my voice was drowned in the roar of the rapid. One of the
life-preservers was torn loose and floated ahead of me. Finally I got
an answer, and could see that Emery had launched his boat. As he drew
near I told him to save the life-preserver, which he did, then
hurriedly pulled for me. I remarked with a forced laugh, to reassure
him, "Gee, Emery, this water's cold."

He failed to join in my levity, however, and said with feeling, "Thank
the good Lord you are here!" and down in my heart I echoed his prayer
of thanks.

Somehow I had lost all desire to successfully navigate the Soap Creek

But our troubles were not entirely over. Emery had pulled me in after
a futile attempt or two, with a hold sometimes used by wrestlers,
linking his arm in mine, leaning forward, and pulling me in over his
back I was so numbed by the cold that I could do little to help him,
after what, I suppose, was about a quarter of an hour's struggle in
the water; although it seemed much longer than that to me.

We then caught the _Edith_ and attempted to turn her over, but before
this could be done we were dragged into the next rapid. Emery caught
up the oars, while I could do nothing but hold to the upturned boat,
half filled with water, striving to drag us against the wall on the
left side of the stream. It was no small task to handle the two boats
in this way, but Emery made it; then, when he thought we were sure of
a landing, the _Edith_ dragged us into the river again. Two more small
rapids were run as we peered through the darkness for a landing.
Finally we reached the shore over a mile below the Soap Creek Rapid.
We were on the opposite side of the stream from that where we had
unloaded the _Defiance_. This material would have to stay where it was
that night.

While bailing the water from the _Edith_ we noticed a peculiar odour,
and thought for a while that it might be the body of the man who was
drowned at the ferry, but later we found it came from a green
cottonwood log that had become water-soaked, and was embedded in the
sand, close to our landing. It was Emery's turn to do the greater part
of the camp work that night, while I was content to hug the fire,
wrapped in blankets, waiting for the coffee to boil.



There was little of the spectacular in our work the next day as we
slowly and laboriously dragged an empty boat upstream against the
swift-running current, taking advantage of many little eddies, but
finding much of the shore swept clean. I had ample opportunity to
ponder on the wisdom of my attempt to save time by running the Soap
Creek Rapid instead of making a portage, while we carried our loads
over the immense boulders that banked the stream, down to a swift
piece of water, past which we could not well bring the boats or while
we developed the wet plates from the ruined plate-holders. It was with
no little surprise that we found all the plates, except a few which
were not uniformly wet and developed unevenly, could be saved. It took
a day and a half to complete all this work.

Marble Canyon was now beginning to narrow up with a steep,
boulder-covered slope on either side, three or four hundred feet high;
with a sheer wall of dark red limestone of equal height directly above
that. There was also a plateau of red sandstone and distant walls
topped with light-coloured rock, the same formations with which we
were familiar in the Grand Canyon. The inner gorge had narrowed from a
thousand feet or more down to four hundred feet, the slope at the
river was growing steeper and gradually disappearing, and each mile of
travel had added a hundred feet or more to the height of the walls.
Soon after resuming our journey that afternoon, the slope disappeared
altogether, and the sheer walls came down close to the water. There
were few places where one could climb out, had we desired to do so.
This hard limestone wall, which Major Powell had named the marble
wall, had a disconcerting way of weathering very smooth and sheer,
with a few ledges and fewer breaks.

We made a short run that day, going over a few rapids, stopping an
hour to make some pictures where an immense rock had fallen from the
cliff above into the middle of the river bed, leaving a forty-foot
channel on one side, and scarcely any on the other. Below this we
found a rapid so much like the Soap Creek Rapid in appearance that a
portage seemed advisable. It was evening when we got the _Edith_ to
the lower end of this rapid after almost losing her, as we lined her
down, and she was wedged under a sloping rock that overhung the rapid.
We had two ropes, one at either end, attached to the boat in this
case. Emery stood below the rock ready to pull her in when once past
the rock. There was a sickening crackling of wood as the deck of the
boat wedged under and down to the level of the water, and at Emery's
call I released the boat, throwing the rope into the river, and
hurried to help him. He was almost dragged into the water as the boat
swung around fortunately striking against a sand-bank, instead of the
many rocks that lined the shore. We were working with a stream
different from the Green River, we found, and the _Defiance_ was taken
from the water the next day and slowly worked, one end at a time, over
the rocks, up to a level sand-bank, twenty-five or thirty feet above
the river. Then we put rollers under her, and worked her down past the
rapid. This work was little to our liking, for the boats, now pretty
well water-soaked, weighed considerably more than their original five
hundred pounds' weight.

A few successful plunges soon brought back our former confidence, and
we continued to run all other rapids that presented themselves. This
afternoon we passed the first rapid we remembered having seen, where
we could not land at its head before running it. A slightly higher
stage of water, however, would have made many such rapids. Just below
this point we found the body of a bighorn mountain-sheep floating in
an eddy. It was impossible to tell just how he came to his death.
There was no sign of any great fall that we could see. He had a
splendid pair of horns, which we would have liked to have had at home,
but which we did not care to amputate and carry with us.

On this day's travel, we passed a number of places where the
marble--which had suggested this canyon's name to Major
Powell--appeared. The exposed parts were checked, or seamed, and
apparently would have little commercial value. We passed a shallow
cave or two this day, then found another cave or hole, running back
about fifteen feet in the wall, so suitable for a camp that we could
not refuse the temptation to stop, although we had made but a very
short run this day. The high water had entered it, depositing
successive layers of sand on the bottom, rising in steps, one above
the other, making convenient shelves for maps and journals, pots and
pans; while little shovelling was necessary to make the lower level of
sand fit our sleeping bags. A number of small springs, bubbling from
the walls near by, gave us the first clear water that we had found for
some time, and a pile of driftwood caught in the rocks, directly in
front of our cave, added to its desirability for a camp. Firewood was
beginning to be the first consideration in choosing a camp, for in
many places the high water had swept the shores clean, and spots which
might otherwise have made splendid camps were rendered most
undesirable for this reason.

So Camp Number 47 was made in this little cave, with a violent rapid
directly beneath us, making a din that might be anything but
reassuring, were we not pretty well accustomed to it by this time. The
next day, Sunday, November the 12th, was passed in the same spot. The
air turned decidedly cold this day, a hard wind swept up the river,
the sky above was overcast, and we had little doubt that snow was
falling on the Kaibab Plateau, which we could not see, but which we
knew rose to the height of 5500 feet above us, but a few miles to the
northwest of this camp. The sheer walls directly above the river
dropped down considerably at this point, and a break or two permitted
us to climb up as high as we cared to go on the red sandstone wall,
which had lost its level character, and now rose in a steep slope over
a thousand feet above us. These walls, with no growth but the tussocks
of bunch-grass, the prickly pear cactus, the mescal, and the yucca,
were more destitute of growth than any we had seen, excepting the
upper end of Desolation Canyon, even the upper walls lacking the
growth of pinon pine and juniper which we usually associated with
them. We were now directly below the Painted Desert, which lay to the
left of the canyon, and no doubt a similar desert was on the
right-hand side, in the form of a narrow plateau; but we had no means
of knowing just how wide or narrow this was, before it raised again to
the forest-covered Buckskin Mountains and the Kaibab Plateau.

The rapid below our camp was just as bad as its roar, we found, on
running it the next day. Most of the descent was confined to a violent
drop at the very beginning, but there was a lot of complicated water
in the big waves that followed. Emery was thrown forward in his boat,
when he reached the bottom of the chute, striking his mouth, and
bruising his hands, as he dropped his oars and caught the bulkhead. An
extra oar was wrenched from the boat and disappeared in the white
water, or foam that was as nearly white as muddy water ever gets. I
nearly upset, and broke the pin of a rowlock, the released oar being
jerked from my hand, sending me scrambling for an extra oar, when the
boat swept into a swift whirlpool. Emery caught my oar as it whirled
past him; the other was found a half-mile below in an eddy.

Some of the rapids in the centre of Marble Canyon were not more than
75 feet wide, with a corresponding violence of water. The whirlpools
in the wider channels below these rapids were the strongest we had
seen, and had a most annoying way of holding the boats just when we
thought we had evaded them. Sometimes there would be a whirlpool on
either side, with a sharply defined line of division in the centre,
along which it was next to impossible to go without being caught on
one side or the other. These whirlpools were seldom regarded as
serious, for our boats were too wide and heavy to be readily
overturned in them, although we saved ourselves more than one upset by
throwing our weight to the opposite side. A small boat would have
upset. On two occasions we were caught in small whirlpools, where a
point of rock projected from the shore, turning upstream, splitting a
swift current and making a very rapid and difficult whirl, where the
boats were nearly smashed against the walls. Below all such places
were the familiar boils, or fountains, or shoots, as they are
variously termed. These are the lower end of the whirlpools, emerging
often from the quiet water below a rapid with nearly as much violence
as they disappeared in the rapids above. These would often rise when
least expected, breaking under the boats, the swift upshoot of water
giving them such a rap that we sometimes thought we had struck a rock.
If one happened to be in the centre of a boil when it broke, it would
send them sailing down the stream many times faster than the regular
current was travelling, rowing the boat having about as little effect
on determining its course as if it was loaded on a flat-car. The other
boat, at times just a few feet away, might be caught in the whirlpools
that formed at the edge of the fountains, often opening up suddenly
under one side of the boat, causing it to dip until the water poured
over the edge, holding it to that one spot in spite of every effort to
row away.

Then we would strike peaceful water again, a mile or perhaps, so quiet
that a thin covering of clear water over the top of the silt-laden
pool beneath, reflecting the tinted walls and the turquoise sky
beneath its limpid surface. Gems of sunlight sparkled on its bosom and
scintillated in the ripples left behind by the oars. When seated with
our backs to the strongest light, and when glancing along the top of
such a pool instead of into it, the mirror-like surface gave way to a
peculiar purplish tone which seemed to cover the pool, so that one
would forget it was roily water, and saw only the iridescent beauty of
a mountain stream.

The wonderful marble walls--better known to the miners as the blue
limestone walls--now rose from the water's edge to a height of eight
or nine hundred feet, the surface of its light blue-gray rock being
stained to a dark red, or a light red as the case might be, by the
iron from the sandstone walls above. There were a thousand feet of
these sandstone layers, red in all its varying hues, capped by the
four-hundred foot cross-bedded sandstone wall, breaking sheer, ranging
in tone from a soft buff to a golden yellow, with a bloom, or glow, as
though illuminated from within. As we proceeded, another layer could
be seen above this, the same limestone and with the same fossils--an
examination of the rock-slides told us--as the topmost formation at
the Grand Canyon. This was not unlike the cross-bedded sandstone in
colour, but lacked its warmth and richness of tint.

A close, examination of the rocks revealed many colours, that figured
but little in the grand colour scheme of the canyon as a whole--the
detailed ornamentation of the magnificent rock structure. A fracture
of wall would show the true colour of the rock, beneath the stain;
lime crystals studded its surface, like gems glinting in the sunlight;
beautifully tinted jasper, resembling the petrified wood found in
another part of Arizona, was embedded in the marble wall,--usually at
the point of contact with another formation,--polished by the sands of
the turbid river.

All this told us that we were coming into our own. Four of the seven
notable divisions of rock strata found in the Grand Canyon were now
represented in Marble Canyon, and soon the green shale, which
underlies the blue limestone, began to crop out by the river as the
walls grew higher and the stream cut deeper.

One turn of the canyon revealed a break where Stanton hid his
provisions in a cave--after a second fatality in which two more of
this ill-fated expedition lost their lives--and climbed out on top.
Afterwards he re-outfitted with heavier boats and tackled the stream

Just below this break the scene changed as we made a sharp turn to the
left. Vasey's Paradise--named by Major Powell after Dr. Geo. W. Vasey,
botanist of the United States Department of Agriculture--was disclosed
to view. Beautiful streams gushed from rounded holes, fifty yards
above the river. The rock walls reminded one of an ivy-covered castle
of old England, guarded by a moat uncrossed by any drawbridge. It was
trellised with vines, maidenhair ferns, and water-moss making a vivid
green background for the golden yellow and burnished copper leaves
which still clung to some small cottonwood trees--the only trees we
had seen in Marble Canyon.

In our haste to push on, we left the brass motion-picture tripod head
on an island, from which we pictured this lovely spot. A rapid was put
behind us before we noticed our loss, and there was no going back

Another turn revealed a Gothic arch, or grotto, carved at the bend of
the wall by the high water, with an overhang of more than a hundred
feet, and a height nearly as great, for the flood waters ran above the
hundred-foot stage in this narrow walled section. Then came a gloomy,
prison-like formation, with a "Bridge of Sighs" two hundred feet above
a gulch, connecting the dungeon to the perpendicular wall beyond; and
with a hundred cave-like openings in its sheer sides like small
windows, admitting a little daylight into its dark interior. The
sullen boom of a rapid around the turn sounded like the march of an
army coming up the gorge, so we climbed back into our boats after a
vain attempt to climb up to some of the caves, and advanced to meet
our foe. This rapid--the tenth for the day--while it was clear of
rocks, had an abrupt drop, with powerful waves which did all sorts of
things to us and to our boats; breaking a rowlock and the four pieces
of line which held it, and flooding us both with a ton of water. We
went into camp a short distance below this, in a narrow box canyon
running back a hundred yards from the river, a gloomy, cathedral-like
interior with sheer walls rising several hundred feet on three sides
of us, and with the top of the south wall 2500 feet above us in plain
sight of our camp, the one camp in Marble Canyon where our sleep was
undisturbed by the roar of a rapid. But instead of the roar of a
rapid, a howling wind swept down from the Painted Desert above, piling
the mingled desert sands and river sands about our beds, scattering
our camp material over the bottom of the narrow gorge.

Soon after this camp--the fourth and the last in Marble Canyon--was
left behind us, the walls began to widen out, especially on the
north-northwest, and by noon we had passed from the narrow, direct
canyon, into one with slopes and plateaus breaking the sheer walls,
the wall on the left or southeast side being much the lower of the
two, and more nearly perpendicular, rising to a height of 3200 feet,
while the northwest side lifted up to the Kaibab Plateau, one
point--miles back from the river--rising 6000 feet above us.

We halted at noon beside the Nancoweep Valley. A wide tributary
heading many miles back in the plateau the right, with a ramified
series of canyons running into it, and with great expanses of
sage-covered flats between. Deer tracks were found on these flats,
deer which came down from the forest of the Buckskin Mountains. This
was the point selected by Major Powell for the construction of a trail
when he returned from his voyage of exploration to study the geology
of this section. The trail, although neglected for many years, is
still used by prospectors from Kanab, Utah, who make a yearly trip
into the canyons to do some work on a mineral ledge a few miles below

What a glorious, exhilarating run we had that day! From here to the
end of Marble Canyon the rapids were almost continuous, with few
violent drops and seldom broken by the usual quiet pools. It was the
finest kind of water for fast travelling, and we made the most of it.
The only previous run we had made that could in any way compare with
it was in Whirlpool and Split Mountain canyons, when the high water
was on. As we travelled, occasional glimpses were had of familiar
places on Greenland Point--that thirty-mile peninsula of the Kaibab
Plateau extending between Marble Canyon and the Grand Canyon--where we
had gone deer-hunting, or on photographic expeditions with Rust.

Another valley from the right was passed, then a peak rose before us
close to the river, with its flat top rising to a height equal to the
south wall. This was Chuar Butte. Once more we were in a narrow
canyon, narrowing by this peak, but a canyon just the same. Soon we
were below a wall we once had photographed from the mouth of the
Little Colorado; then the stream itself came into view and we were
soon anchored beside it. This was the beginning of the Grand Canyon.



How long we had waited for this view! How many memories it
recalled--and how different it seemed to our previous visit there!
Then, the high water was on, and the turquoise-tinted mineral water of
the Colorado Chiquito was backed up by the turbid flood waters of the
Rio Colorado, forty feet or more above the present level. Now it was a
rapid stream, throwing itself with wild abandon over the rocks and
into the Colorado. There was the same deserted stone hut, built by a
French prospector, many years before, and a plough that he had packed
in over a thirty-mile trail--the most difficult one in all this rugged
region! There was the little grass-plot where we pastured the burro,
while we made a fifteen-mile walk up the bed of this narrow canyon!
What a hard, hot journey it had been! A year and a half ago we sat on
that rock, and talked of the day when we should come through here in
boats! Even then we talked of building a raft, and of loading the
burro on it for a spin on the flood waters. Lucky for us and for the
burro that we didn't! We understand the temper of these waters now.

Cape Desolation, a point of the Painted Desert on the west side of the
Little Colorado, was almost directly above us, 3200 feet high. Chuar
Butte, equally as high and with walls just as nearly perpendicular,
extended on into the Grand Canyon on the right side, making the
narrowest canyon of this depth that we had seen. The Navajo
reservation terminated at the Little Colorado, although nothing but
the maps indicated that we had passed from the land of the Red man to
that of the White. Both were equally desolate, and equally wonderful.
With the entrance of the new stream the canyon changes its southwest
trend and turns directly west, and continues to hold to this general
direction until the northwest corner of Arizona is reached.

But we must be on again! Soon familiar segregated peaks in the Grand
Canyon began to appear. There was Wotan's Throne on the right, and the
"Copper Mine Mesa" on the left. Three or four miles below the junction
a four-hundred foot perpendicular wall rose above us. The burro, on
our previous visit, was almost shoved off that cliff when the pack
caught on a rock, and was only saved by strenuous pulling on the
neck-rope and pack harness. Soon we passed some tunnels on both sides
of the river where the Mormon miners had tapped a copper ledge. At
4.15 P.M. we were at the end of the Tanner Trail, the outlet of the
Little Colorado Trail to the rim above. It had taken seven hours of
toil to cover the same ground we now sped over in an hour and a
quarter. Major Powell, in 1872, found here the remnant of a very small
hut built of mesquite logs, but whether the remains of an Indian's or
white man's shelter cannot be stated. The trail, without doubt was
used by the Indians before the white man invaded this region.

The canyon had changed again from one which was very narrow to one
much more complex, greater, and grander. The walls on top were many
miles apart; Comanche Point, to our left, was over 4000 feet above us;
Desert View, Moran Point, and other points on the south rim were even
higher. On the right we could see an arch near Cape Final on Greenland
Point, over 5000 feet up, that we had photographed, from the top, a
few years before. Pagoda-shaped temples--the formation so typical of
the Grand Canyon--clustered on all sides. The upper walls were similar
in tint to those in Marble Canyon, but here at the river was a new
formation; the algonkian, composed of thousands of brilliantly
coloured bands of rock, standing at an angle--the one irregularity to
the uniform layers of rock--a remnant of thousands of feet of rock
which once covered this region, then was planed away before the other
deposits were placed. All about us, close to the river, was a deep,
soft sand formed by the disintegration of the rocks above, as
brilliantly coloured as the rocks from which they came. What had been
a very narrow stream above here spread out over a thousand feet wide,
ran with a good current, and seemed to be anything but a shallow
stream at that.

We had travelled far that day but still sped on,--with a few rapids
which did not retard, but rather helped us on our way, and with a good
current between these rapids,--only stopping to camp when a
three-hundred foot wall rose sheer from the river's edge, bringing to
an end our basin-like river bottom, where one could walk out on either
side. It was not necessary to hunt for driftwood this evening, for a
thicket of mesquite--the best of all wood for a camp-fire--grew out of
the sand-dunes, and some half-covered dead logs were unearthed from
the drifted sand, and soon reduced to glowing coals.

Meanwhile, we were enjoying one of those remarkable Arizona desert
sunsets. Ominous clouds had been gathering in the afternoon, rising
from the southwest, drifting across the canyon, and piling up against
the north wall. A few fleecy clouds in the west partially obscured the
sun until it neared the horizon, then a shaft of sunlight broke
through once more, telegraphing its approach long before it reached
us, the rays being visibly hurled through space like a javelin, or a
lightning bolt, striking peak after peak so that one almost imagined
they would hear the thunder roll. A yellow flame covered the western
sky, to be succeeded in a few minutes by a crimson glow. The sharply
defined colours of the different layers of rock had merged and
softened, as the sun dropped from sight; purple shadows crept into the
cavernous depths, while shafts of gold shot to the very tiptop of the
peaks, or threw their shadows like silhouettes on the wall beyond.
Then the scene shifted again, and it was all blood-red, reflecting
from the sky and staining the rocks below, so that distant wall and
sky merged, with little to show where the one ended and the other
began. That beautiful haze, which tints, but does not obscure,
enshrouded the temples and spires, changing from heliotrope to
lavender, from lavender to deepest purple; there was a departing flare
of flame like the collapse of a burning building; a few clouds in the
zenith, torn by the winds so that they resembled the craters of the
moon, were tinted for an instant around the crater's rims; the clouds
faded to a dove-like gray; they darkened; the gray disappeared; the
purple crept from the canyon into the arched dome overhead; the day
was ended, twilight passed, and darkness settled over all.

We sat silently by the fire for a few minutes, then rose and resumed
our evening's work. This camp was at a point that could be seen from
the Grand View hotel, fourteen miles from our home. We talked of
building a signal fire on the promontory above the camp, knowing that
the news would be telephoned to home if the fire was seen. But we gave
up the plan. Although less than twenty miles from Bright Angel Trail,
we were not safely through by any means. Two boats had been wrecked or
lost in different rapids less than six miles from this camp. The
forty-foot fall in the Hance or Red Canyon Rapid was three miles below
us; the Sockdologer, the Grapevine, and other rapids nearly as large
followed those; we might be no more fortunate than the others, and a
delay after once giving a signal would cause more anxiety than no
signal at all we thought, and the fire was not built.

Particular attention was paid to the loading of the boats the next
morning. The moving-picture film was tucked in the toes of our
sleeping bags, and the protecting bags were carefully laced. We were
not going to take any chances in this next plunge--the much-talked-of
entrance to the granite gorge. A half-hour's run and a dash through
one violent rapid landed us at the end of the Hance Trail--unused for
tourist travel for several years--with a few torn and tattered tents
back in the side canyon down which the trail wound its way. We half
hoped that we would find some of the prospectors who make this section
their winter home either at the Tanner or the Hance Trail, but there
was no sign of recent visitors at either place, unless it was the
numerous burro tracks in the sand. These tracks were doubtless made by
some of the many wild burros that roam all the lower plateaus in the
upper end of the Grand Canyon.

After a careful inspection of the Hance Rapid we were glad the signal
fire was not built. It was a nasty rapid. While reading over our notes
one evening we were amused to find that we had catalogued different
rapids with an equal amount of fall as "good," "bad," or "nasty," the
difference depending nearly altogether on the rocks in the rapids. The
"good rapids" were nothing but a descent of "big water," with great
waves,--for which we cared little, but rather enjoyed if it was not
too cold,--and with no danger from rocks; the "bad rapids" contained
rocks, and twisting channels, but with half a chance of getting
through. A nasty rapid was filled with rocks, many of them so
concealed in the foam that it was often next to impossible to tell if
rocks were there or not, and in which there was little chance of
running through without smashing a boat. The Hance Rapid was such a

Such a complication of twisted channels and protruding rocks we had
not seen unless it was at Hell's Half Mile. It meant a
portage--nothing less--the second since leaving that other rapid in
Lodore. So we went to work, carrying our duffle across deep, soft
sand-dunes, down to the middle of the rapid, where quieted for a
hundred yards before it made the final plunge. The gathering dusk of
evening found all material and one boat at this spot, with the other
one at the head of the rapid, to be portaged the next day. But we did
not portage this boat. A good night's rest, and the safeguard of a
boat at the bottom of the plunge made it look much less dangerous, and
five minutes after breakfast was finished, this boat was beside its
mate, and we had a reel of film which we hoped would show just how we
successfully ran this difficult rapid. While going over the second
section, on the opposite side of the river, Emery was thrown out of
his boat for an instant when the _Edith_ touched a rock in a
twenty-five mile an hour current, similar to my first upset in the
Soap Creek Rapid--the old story: out again; in again; on
again--landing in safety at the end of the rapid not one whit the
worse for the spill.

This rapid marks the place where the granite, or igneous rock,
intrudes, rising at a sharp angle, sloping upward down the stream,
reaching the height of 1300 feet about one mile below. It marks the
end of the large deposit of algonkian. The granite, when it attains
its highest point, is covered with a 200-foot layer of sedimentary
rock called the tonto sandstone. The top of this formation is exposed
by a plateau from a quarter of a mile to three miles in width, on
either side of the granite gorge; the same walls which were found in
Marble Canyon rise above this. The temples which are scattered through
the canyon--equal in height, in many cases, to the walls--have their
foundation on this plateau. These peaks contain the same stratified
rock with a uniform thickness whether in peak or wall, with little
displacement and little sign of violent uplift, nearly all this canyon
being the work of erosion: 5000 feet from the rim to the river; the
edges of six great layers of sedimentary rock laid bare and with a
narrow 1300-foot gorge through the igneous rock below--the Grand
Canyon of Arizona.

The granite gorge seemed to us to be the one place of all others that
we had seen on this trip that would cause one to hesitate a long time
before entering, if nothing definite was known of its nature. Another
person might have felt the same way of the canyons we had passed,
Lodore or Marble Canyon, for instance. A great deal depends on the
nerves and digestion, no doubt; and the same person would look at it
in a different light at different times, as we found from our own
experiences. Our digestions were in excellent condition just at that
time, and we were nerved up by the thought that we were going "to the
plate for a home run" if possible, yet the granite gorge had a
decidedly sinister look. The walls, while not sheer, were nearly so;
they might be climbed in many places to the top of the granite; but
the tonto sandstone wall nearly always overhangs this, breaks sheer,
and seldom affords an outlet to the plateaus above, except where
lateral canyons cut through. The rocks are very dark, with dikes of
quartz, and with twisting seams of red and black granite, the great
body of rock being made up of decomposed micaceous schists and gneiss,
a treacherous material to climb. The entrance to this gorge is made on
a quiet pool with no shore on either side after once well in.

But several parties had been through since Major Powell made his
initial trip, so we did not hesitate, but pushed on with the current.
Now we could truly say that we were going home. The Hance Rapid was
behind us; Bright Angel Creek was about twelve miles away. Soon we
were in the deepest part of the gorge. Great dikes and uplifts of
jagged rocks towered above us; and up, up, up, lifted the other walls
above that. Bissell Point, on the very top, could plainly be seen from
our quiet pool.

Then came a series of rapids quite different from the Hance Rapid, and
many others found above. Those others were usually caused in part by
the detritus or deposit from side canyons, which dammed the stream,
and what might be a swift stream, with a continuous drop, was
transformed to a succession of mill-ponds and cataracts, or rapids. In
nearly every case, in low water such as we were travelling on, the
deposit made a shore on which we could land and inspect the rapid from
below. The swift water invariably makes a narrow channel if it has no
obstruction in its way; it is the quiet stream that makes a wide
channel. But the rapids we found this day were nearly all different.
They were seldom caused by great deposits of rock, but appeared to be
formed by a dike or ledge of hard rock rising from the softer
rock--the same intrusion being sometimes found on both sides of the
stream--forming a dam the full width of the channel, over which the
water made a swift descent, with a long line of interference waves
below. But for a cold wind which swept up the stream, this style of
rapid was more to our fancy. These were "good rapids," the "best" we
had seen. There were few rocks to avoid. Some of the rapids were
violent, but careful handling took us past every danger. There was
little chance to make a portage at several of these places had we
desired to do so. We gave them but a glance from the decks of the
boats, then dropped into them. In one instance I saw the _Edith_
literally shoot through a wave bow first, both ends of the boat being
visible, while her captain was buried in the foam.

We had learned to discriminate by its noise, long before we could see
a rapid, whether it was filled with rocks, or was merely a descent of
big water. The latter, often just as impressive as the former, had a
sullen, steady boom; the rocky rapids had the same sound, punctuated
by another sound, like the crack of regiments of musketry. All were
greatly magnified in sound by the narrow, echoing walls. We became so
accustomed to this noise that we almost forgot it was there, and it
was only after the long, quiet stretches that the noise was noticed In
a few instances only we noticed the shattering vibration of air that
is associated with waterfalls. Still there is noise enough in many
rapids so that their boom can be heard several miles away from the top
of the canyons.

Guided by these sounds, and aided by our method of holding the boat in
mid-stream, while making a reconnaissance, we were quite well aware of
what we were likely to find before we anchored above a rapid. We were
never fearful of being drawn into a cataract without having a chance
to land somewhere. The water is strangely quiet, to a comparatively
close distance above nearly all rapids. We usually tied up anywhere
from fifty feet to a hundred yards above a drop, before inspecting it.
If it was a "big-water" rapid, we usually looked it over standing on
the seat in the boats, then continued. By signals with the hands, the
one first over would guide the other, if any hidden rocks or dangerous
channel threatened. While we did not think much about it, we usually
noted the places where one might climb out on the plateau. Little
could be told about the upper walls from the river.

A chilling wind swept up the river, penetrating our soaked garments.
But we paid little attention to this, only pulling the harder, not
only to keep the circulation going, but every pull of the oars put us
that much nearer home. We never paused in our rowing until we anchored
at 4.30 P.M. under Rust's tramway, close to the mouth of Bright Angel
Creek. According to the United States Geological Survey there is a
descent of 178 feet from the head of the Hance Rapid to the end of
Bright Angel Trail one mile below the creek. We would have a very
moderate descent in that mile. The run from the Hance Rapid had been
made in less than five hours.

Our boats were tied in the shadow of the cage hanging from a cable
sixty feet above. It stretched across a quiet pool, 450 feet
across--for the river is dammed by debris from the creek below, and
fills the channel from wall to wall. Hurriedly we made our way up to
Rust's camp,--closed for the winter; for heavy snows would cover the
North Rim in a few days or a few weeks at the farthest, filling the
trails with heavy drifts and driving the cougar into the canyon where
dogs and horses cannot follow. But the latch-string was out for us, we
knew, had we cared to use the tents. Our signal fire was built a mile
above the camp, at a spot that was plainly visible on a clear day from
our home on the other side, six miles away as the crow flies. We had
often looked at this spot, with a telescope, from the veranda of our
studio, watching the hunting and sight-seeing parties ride up the bed
of the stream. We rather feared the drifting clouds and mists would
hide the fire from view, but now and then a rift appeared, and we knew
if they were looking they could see its light. Camp No. 51 was made
close to Bright Angel Creek, that evening, Thursday, October the 16th,
two months and eight days from the time we had embarked on our

Three or four hours were spent in packing our material the next
morning, so it could be stored in a miners' tunnel, near the end of
the trail. We would pack little of this out, as we intended to resume
our river work in a week or ten days. A five-minute run took us over
the rapid below Bright Angel Creek, and down to a bend in the river,
just above the Cameron or Bright Angel Trail. Two men--guides from the
hotel--called to us as our boats swept into view. We made a quick dash
over the vicious little drop below the bend,--easy for our boats, but
dangerous enough for lighter craft on account of a difficult
whirlpool,--and were soon on shore greeting old friends. Up on the
plateau, 1300 feet above, a trail party of tourists and guides called
down their welcome. The stores were put in the miners' tunnel as we
had planned, and the boats were taken above the high-water mark;
placed in dry dock one might say.

The guides had good news for us and bad news too. Emery's wife had
been ill with appendicitis nearly all the time we were on our journey.
We had received letters from her at every post-office excepting Lee's
Ferry, but never a hint that all was not well. She knew it would break
up the trip. Pretty good nerve, we thought!

Ragged and weary, but happy; a little lean and over-trained, but
feeling entirely "fit,"--we commenced our seven-mile climb up the
trail, every turn of which seemed like an old friend. When 1300 feet
above the river, our little workshop beside a stream on the
plateau--only used at intervals when no water can be had on top, and
closed for three months past--gave us our first cheerless greeting.
Although little more than a hundred feet from the trail, we did not
stop to inspect it. Cameron's Indian Garden Camp was also closed for
the day, and we were disappointed in a hope that we could telephone to
our home, 3200 feet above. But the tents, under rows of waving
cottonwoods, and surrounded by beds of blooming roses and glorious
chrysanthemums, gave us a more cheerful welcome than our little
building below. We only stopped to quench our thirst in the bubbling
spring, then began the four-mile climb that would put us on top of the
towering cliff. Soon we overtook the party we had seen on the plateau.
Some of the tourists kindly offered us their mules, but mules were too
slow for us, and they were soon far below us. Calls, faint at first,
but growing louder as we advanced, came floating down from above. On
nearing the top our younger brother Ernest, who had come on from
Pittsburg to look after our business, came running down the trail to
greet us. One member of a troupe of moving-picture actors, in cowboy
garb, remarked that we "didn't look like moving-picture explorers";
then little Edith emerged from our studio just below the head of
Bright Angel Trail and came skipping down toward us, but stopped
suddenly when near us, and said smilingly: "Is that my Daddy with all
those whiskers?"



Naturally we were very impatient to know just what success we had met
with in our photographic work. Some of the motion pictures had been
printed and returned to us. My brother, who meanwhile had taken his
family to Los Angeles, sent very encouraging reports regarding some of
the films.

Among the Canyon visitors who came down to inspect the results of our
trip were Thomas Moran, the famous artist, with his daughter, Miss
Ruth, whose interest was more than casual. Thomas Moran's name, more
than any other, with the possible exception of Major Powell's, is to
be associated with the Grand Canyon. It was his painting which hangs
in the capital at Washington that first acquainted the American public
with the wonders of the Canyon. This painting was the result of a
journey he made with Major Powell, from Salt Lake City to the north
side of the Canyon, thirty-eight years before. In addition he had made
most of the cuts that illustrated Major Powell's government report;
making his sketches on wood from photographs this expedition had taken
with the old-fashioned wet plates that had to be coated and developed
on the spot--wonderful photographs, which for beauty, softness, and
detail are not excelled, and are scarcely equalled by more modern
plates and photographic results. The only great advantage of the dry
plates was the fact that they could catch the action of the water with
an instantaneous exposure, where the wet plates had to have a long
exposure and lost that action.

Thomas Moran could pick up almost any picture that we made, and tell
us at once just what section it came from and its identifying
characteristics. His daughter, Miss Ruth, was just as much interested
in our trip and its results. She was anxious to know when we would go
on again and planned on making the trail trip down to the plateau to
see us take the plunge over the first rough rapid. She was just a
little anxious to see an upset, and asked if we could not promise that
one would occur.

A month passed before my brother returned from Los Angeles. His wife,
who had remained there, was in good health again, and insisted on his
finishing the trip at once. We were just as anxious to have it
finished, but were not very enthusiastic about this last part on
account of some very cold weather we had been having. On the other
hand, we feared if the trip was not finished then it might never be
completed. So we consoled ourselves with the thought that it was some
warmer at the bottom than it was on top, and prepared to make the
final plunge--350 miles to Needles, with a 1600-foot descent in the
185 miles that remained of the Grand Canyon.

A foot of snow had fallen two nights before we planned on leaving. The
thermometer had dropped to zero, and a little below on one occasion,
during the nights for a week past. Close to the top the trail was
filled with drifts. The walls were white with snow down to the
plateau, 3200 feet below; something unusual, as it seldom descends as
snow lower than two thousand feet, but turns to rain. But a week of
cold, cloudy weather, accompanied by hard winds, had driven all warmth
from the canyon, allowing this snow to descend lower than usual. Under
such conditions the damp cold in the canyon, while not registered on
the thermometer as low as that on top, is more penetrating. Very
little sun reaches the bottom of the inner gorge in December and
January. It is usually a few degrees colder than the inner plateau
above it, which is open, and does get some sun. These were the
conditions when we returned to our boats December the 19th, 1911, and
found a thin covering of ice on small pools near the river.

Our party was enlarged by the addition of two men who were anxious for
some river experience. One was our younger brother, Ernest. We agreed
to take him as far as the Bass Trail, twenty-five miles below, where
he could get out on top and return to our home. The other was a young
man named Bert Lauzon, who wanted to make the entire trip, and we were
glad to have him. Lauzon, although but 24 years old, had been a quartz
miner and mining engineer for some years. Coming from the mountains of
Colorado, he had travelled over most of the Western states, and a
considerable part of Mexico, in his expeditions. There was no question
in our minds about Lauzon. He was the man we needed.

To offset the weight of an extra man for each boat, our supplies were
cut to the minimum, arrangements having been made with W.W. Bass--the
proprietor of the Bass Camps and of the Mystic Springs Trail--to have
some provisions packed in over his trail. What provisions we took
ourselves were packed down on two mules, and anything we could spare
from our boats was packed out on the same animals. As we were about
ready to leave a friendly miner said: "You can't hook fish in the
Colorado in the winter, they won't bite nohow. You'd better take a
couple of sticks of my giant-powder along. That will help you get 'em,
and it may keep you from starving." Under the circumstances it seemed
like a wise precaution and we took his giant-powder, as he had

The river had fallen two feet below the stage on which we quit a month
before. A scale of foot-marks on a rock wall rising from the river
showed that the water twenty-seven feet deep at that spot. No
measurement was made in the middle of the river channel. The current
here between two small rapids flows at five and three-fourths miles
per hour. The width of the stream is close to 250 feet. The high-water
mark here is forty-five feet above the low-water stage, then the river
spreads to five hundred feet in width, running with a swiftness and
strength of current and whirlpool that is tremendous. The highest
authentic measurement in a narrow channel, of which we know, is one
made by Julius F. Stone in Marble Canyon. He recorded one spot where
the high-water mark was 115 feet above the low-water mark. These
figures might look large at first, but if they are compared with some
of the floods on the Ohio River, for instance, and that stream were
boxed in a two hundred foot channel the difference would not be great,
we imagine.

One of the young men who greeted us when we landed came down with a
companion to see us embark. On the plateau 1300 feet above, looking
like small insects against the sky-line, was a trail party, equally
interested. They did not stand on the point usually visited by such
parties but had gone to a point about a mile to the west, where they
had a good view of a short, rough rapid, the little rapid below the
trail, while it was no place that one would care to swim in, had no
comparison with this other rapid in violence. We had promised the
party that we would run this rapid that afternoon, so we spent little
time in packing systematically, but hurriedly threw the stuff in and
embarked. Less than an hour later we had made the two-mile run and the
dash through the short rapid, to the entire satisfaction of all

We camped a short distance below the rapid, just opposite a grave of a
man whose skeleton had been found halfway up the granite, five years
before. Judging by his clothes and hob-nailed shoes he was a
prospector. He was lying in a natural position, with his head resting
on a rock. An overcoat was buttoned tightly about him. No large bones
were broken, but he might have had a fall and been injured internally.
More likely he became sick and died. The small bones of the hands and
feet had been taken away by field-mice, and no doubt the
turkey-buzzards had stripped the flesh. His pockets contained Los
Angeles newspapers of 1900; he was found in 1906. The pockets also
contained a pipe and a pocket-knife, but nothing by which he could be
identified. The coroner's jury--of which my brother was a
member--buried him where he was found, covering the body with rocks,
for there was no earth.

Such finds are not unusual in this rugged country. These prospectors
seldom say where they are going, no track is kept of their movements,
and unless something about their clothes tells who they are, their
identity is seldom established. The proximity of this grave made us
wonder how many more such unburied bodies there were along this river.
We thought too of our friend Smith, back in Cataract Canyon, and
wondered if we would hear from him again.

Our helpers got a lot of experience in motion-picture making the next
day, while we ran our boats through a number of good, strong rapids,
well known locally as the Salt Creek Rapid, Granite Falls or Monument
Rapid, the Hermit, the Bouchere, and others. This was all new to the
boys, and provided some thrilling entertainment for them. When a
difficult passage was safely made Bert would wave his hat and yell
"Hoo" in a deep, long call that would carry above the roar of the
rapids, then he and Ernest would follow along the shore with their
cameras, as these rapids all had a shore on one side or the other. The
sun shone on the river this day, and we congratulated ourselves on
having made the most of our opportunities.

In our first rapid the next morning, we had to carry our passengers
whether we wanted to or not. There was no shore on either side. In
such plunges they would lie down on the deck of the boat behind the
oarsman, holding to the raised bulkhead, ducking their heads when an
oncoming wave prepared to break over them. Then they would shake
themselves as a water-spaniel does, and Bert with a grin would say,
"Young fellows, business is picking up!"

Ernest agreed, too, that he had never seen anything in Pittsburg that
quite equalled it. If the rapid was not bad, they sat upright on the
deck, but this made the boats top-heavy, and as much of the oarsman's
work depended on swinging his weight from side to side, it was
important that no mistake should be made about this distribution of
weight. Often the bottom of a boat would show above the water as it
listed to one side. At such a time a person sitting on the raised deck
might get thrown overboard.

Before starting on this last trip we had thought it would be only
right to give our younger brother a ride in a rapid that would be sure
to give him a good ducking, as his experience was going to be short.
But the water and the wind, especially in the shadows, was so very
cold that we gave this plan up, and avoided the waves as much as
possible. He got a ducking this morning, however, in a place where we
least expected it. It was not a rapid, just smooth, very swift water,
while close to the right shore there was one submerged rock with a
foot of water shooting over it, in such a way that it made a "reverse
whirl" as they are called in Alaska--water rolling back upstream, and
from all sides as well, to fill the vacuum just below the rock. This
one was about twelve feet across; the water disappeared as though it
was being poured down a manhole.

The least care, or caution, would have taken me clear this place; but
the smooth water was so deceptive, and was so much stronger than I had
judged it to be, that I found myself caught sideways to the current,
hemmed in with waves on all sides of the boat, knocked back and forth,
and resisted in all my efforts to pull clear. The boat was gradually
filling with the splashing water. Ernest was lying on the deck,
hanging on like grim death, slipping off, first on one side, then on
the other, and wondering what was going to happen. So was I. To be
held up in the middle of a swift stream was a new experience, and I
was not proud of it. The others passed as soon as they saw what had
happened, and were waiting in an eddy below. Perhaps we were there
only one minute, but it seemed like five. I helped Ernest into the
cockpit. About that time the boat filled with splashing water and sunk
low, the stream poured over the rock and into the boat, and she upset

Ernest had on two life-preservers, and came up about thirty feet
below, swimming very well considering that he was weighted with heavy
clothes and high-topped shoes. The boys pulled him in before he was
carried against a threatening wall. Meanwhile, I held to the boat,
which was forced out as soon as she was overturned, and climbed on
top, or rather on the bottom. I was trying to make the best of things
and was giving a cheer when some one said, "There goes your hatch
cover and you've lost the motion-picture camera."

Perhaps I had. My cheering ceased. The camera had been hurriedly
shoved down in the hatch a few minutes before.

On being towed to shore, however, we found the camera had not fallen
out. It had been shoved to the side less than one inch, but that
little bit had saved it. It was filled with water, though, and all the
pictures were on the unfinished roll in the camera, and were ruined.
We had been in the ice-cold water long enough to lose that glow which
comes after a quick immersion and were chilled through; but what
bothered me more than anything else was the fact that I had been
caught in such a trap after successfully running the bad rapids above.
We made a short run after that so as to get out of sight of the
deceptive place, then proceeded to dry out. The ruined film came in
handy for kindling our camp-fire.

We were now in the narrowest part of the upper portion of the Grand
Canyon, the distance from rim to rim at one point being close to six
miles. The width at Bright Angel varied from eight to fourteen miles.
The peaks rising from the plateau, often as high as the canyon walls,
and with flat tops a mile or more in width, made the canyon even
narrower, so that at times we were in canyons close to a mile in
depth, and little over four miles across at the tops.

In this section of the granite there were few places where one could
climb out. Nearly all the lateral canyons ended quite a distance above
the river, then fell sheer; the lower parts of the walls were quite
often smooth-surfaced, where they were polished by the sands in the
stream. The black granite in such cases resembled huge deposits of
anthracite coal. Sections of the granite often projected out of the
water as islands, with the softer rock washed away, the granite being
curiously carved by whirling rocks and the emery-like sands. Holes
three and four feet deep were worn by small whirling rocks, and
grooves were worn at one place by growing willows working back and
forth in the water, the sand, strange to say, having less effect on
the limbs than it had on the hard rocks.

About noon of the day following this upset we reached the end of the
Bass Trail and another cable crossing, about sixty feet above the
water. Three men were waiting for us, and gave a call when we rowed in
sight of their camp. One was Lauzon's brother, another was Cecil Dodd,
a cowboy who looked after Bass' stock, and the breaking of his horses,
the third was John Norberg, an "old timer" and an old friend as well,
engaged at that time in working some asbestos and copper claims.

The granite was broken down at this point, and another small deposit
of algonkian was found here. There were intrusions, faults, and
displacements both in these formations and in the layers above. These
fractures exposed mineral seams and deposits of copper and asbestos on
both sides of the river, some of which Bass had opened up and located,
waiting for the day when there would be better transportation
facilities than his burros afforded.

This was not our first visit to this section. On other occasions we
had descended by the Mystic Spring (or Bass) Trail, on the south side,
crossed on the tramway and were taken by Bass over some of his many
trails, on the north side. We had visited the asbestos claims, where
the edge of a blanket formation of the rock known as serpentine,
containing the asbestos, lay exposed to view, twisting around the head
of narrow canyons, and under beetling cliffs. We went halfway up the
north rim trail, through Shinumo and White canyons, our objective
point on these trips being a narrow box canyon which contained a large
boulder, rolled from the walls above, and wedged in the flume-like
gorge far above our heads. This trail continues up to the top, going
over the narrow neck which connects Powell's Plateau--a segregated
section of thickly wooded surface several miles in extent--with the
main extent of the Kaibab Plateau.

Ernest, though slightly affected with tonsillitis, was loath to leave
us here. It was zero weather on top, we were told, and it looked it.
The walls and peaks were white with snow. He would not have an easy
trip. The drifted snow was only broken by the one party that we found
at the river, and quite likely it would be very late when he arrived
at the ranch. John went up with him a few miles to get a horse for the
ride home the next day. Ernest took with him a few hurriedly written
letters and the exposed plates. The film we were going to save was
lost in the upset.

On inspecting the provisions which were packed in here we found the
grocers had shipped the order short, omitting, besides other
necessities, some canned baked beans, on which we depended a great
deal. This meant one of two things. We would have to make a quicker
run than we had planned on, or would have to get out of the canyon at
one of the two places where such an exit could easily be made.

The M. P. as our motion-picture camera was called--and which was
re-christened but not abbreviated by Bert, as "The Member of
Parliament"--had to be cleaned before we could proceed. It took all
this day, and much of the next, to get the moisture and sand out of
the delicate mechanism, and have it running smoothly again. After it
was once more in good condition Emery announced that he wanted to work
out a few scenes of an uncompleted "movie-drama." The action was
snappy. The plot was brief, but harmonized well with the setting, and
the "props." Dodd, who was a big Texan, was cast for the role of horse
thief and bad man in general. Bert's brother, Morris Lauzon, was the
deputy sheriff, and had a star cut from the top of a tomato can to
prove it. John was to be a prospector. He would need little rehearsing
for this part. In addition, he had not been out where he could have
the services of a barber for six months past, which was all the
better. John had a kind, quiet, easy-going way that made friends for
him on sight. He was not consulted about the part he was to play, but
we counted on his good nature and he was cast for the part. Emery, who
was cast for the part of a mining engineer, arrived on the scene in
his boat, after rounding the bend above the camp, tied up and climbed
out over the cliffs to view the surrounding country.

The hidden desperado, knowing that he was being hunted, stole the boat
with its contents, and made his escape. The returning engineer arrived
just in time to see his boat in the middle of the stream, and a
levelled rifle halted him until the boat was hidden around the bend.
At that moment the officer joined him, and a hurried consultation was
held. Then the other boat, which had been separated from its
companion, pulled into sight, and I was hailed by the men on shore.
They came aboard and we gave chase. Could anything be better? The
thief naturally thought he was safe, as he had not seen the second
boat! After going over a few rapids, he saw a fire up in the cliffs,
on the opposite side of the river. He landed, and climbed up to the
camp where John was at work. John shared his camp fare with him, and
directed him to a hidden trail. The pursuers, on finding the abandoned
boat, quietly followed the trail, and surprised Dodd in John's camp.
He was disarmed and sent across the river in the tramway, accompanied
by the deputy, and was punished as he richly deserved to be.

This was the scenario. Bert handled the camera. Emery was the
playwright, director, and producer. All rights reserved.

Everything worked beautifully. The film did not get balled up in the
cogs, as sometimes happened. The light was good. Belasco himself could
not have improved on the stage-setting. The trail led over the
wildest, and most picturesque places imaginable. Dodd made a splendid
desperado, and acted as if he had done nothing but steal horses and
dodge the officers all his life. A pile of driftwood fifty feet high
and with a tunnel underneath made a splendid hiding place for him
while the first boat was being tied. Being a cowpuncher, it may be
that he did not handle the oars as well as an experienced riverman,
but any rapid could be used for an insert. The deputy, though
youthful, was determined and never lost sight of the trail. The
engineer acted his part well and registered surprise and anger, when
he found how he had been tricked. John, who had returned, humoured us,
and dug nuggets of gold out of limestone rocks, where no one would
have thought of looking for them. The fact that the tramway scene was
made before any of the others did not matter. We could play our last
act first if we wanted to. All we had to do was to cut the film and
fasten it on to the end. Emery was justly proud of his first efforts
as a producer. We were sorry this film had not been sent out with

This thrilling drama will not be released in the near future. One day
later we found that a drop of water had worked into the lens cell at
the last upset. This fogged the lens. We focussed with a scale and had
overlooked the lens when cleaning the camera. Nothing but a very faint
outline showed on the film. We had all the film we needed for a week
after this, for kindling our fires.



In recording our various mishaps and upsets in these pages, it may
seem to the reader as if I have given undue prominence to the part I
took in them. If so, it has not been from choice, but because they
happened in that way. No doubt a great deal of my trouble was due to
carelessness. After I had learned to row my boat fairly well I
sometimes took chances that proved to be anything but advisable,
depending a good deal on luck, and luck was not always with me. My
brother was less hasty in making his decisions, and was more careful
in his movements, with the result that his boat had few marks of any
kind, and he had been more fortunate than I with the rapids.

It is my duty to record another adventure at this point, in which we
all three shared, each in a different manner. This time I am going to
give my brother's record of the happenings that overtook us about four
o'clock in the afternoon of December the 24th, less than three hours
after we left our friends at the Bass Trail with "best wishes for a
Merry Christmas," and had received instructions from John "to keep our
feet dry"

My brother's account follows:

"The fourth rapid below the Bass Trail was bad, but after
looking it over we decided it could be run. We had taken
chances in rapids that looked worse and came through
unharmed; if we were successful here, it would be over in a
few minutes, and forgotten an hour later. So we each made
the attempt."

"Lauzon had gone near the lower end of the rapid, taking the
left shore, for a sixty-foot wall with a sloping bench on
top rose sheer out of the water on the right. The only shore
on the right was close to the head of the rapid, a small
deposit or bank of earth and rock. The inner gorge here was
about nine hundred feet deep."

"Ellsworth went first, taking the left-hand side. I picked
out a course on the right as being the least dangerous; but
I was scarcely started when I found myself on a nest of
jagged rocks, with violent water all about me, and with
other rocks, some of them submerged, below me. I climbed out
on the rocks and held the boat."

"If the others could land below the rapid and climb back,
they might get a rope to me and pull me off the rocks far
enough to give me a new start, but they could not pull the
boat in to shore through the rough water. A person thinks
quickly under such circumstances, I had it all figured out
as soon as I was on the rocks. The greatest trouble would be
to hold the boat if she broke loose."

"Then I saw that the _Defiance_ was in trouble. She caught
in a reverse whirl in the very middle of the pounding rapid,
bouncing back and forth like a great rubber ball. Finally
she filled with the splashing water, sank low, and the water
pouring over the rock caught the edge of the twelve-hundred
pound boat and turned her over as if she were a toy; my
brother was holding to the gunwale when she turned. Still
she was held in the whirl, jumping as violently as ever,
then turned upright again and was forced out. Ellsworth had
disappeared, but came up nearly a hundred feet below,
struggling to keep on top but going down with every breaking
wave. When the quieter water was reached, he did not seem to
have strength enough to swim out, but floated, motionless,
in a standing position, his head kept up by the
life-preservers. The next rapid was not over fifty yards
below. If he was to be saved it must be done instantly."

"I pried the boat loose, jumped in as she swung clear, and
pulled with all my might, headed toward the centre of the
river. I was almost clear when I was drawn over a dip, bow
first, and struck a glancing blow against another rock I had
never seen. There was a crash, and the boards broke like
egg-shells. It was all done in a few moments. The _Edith_
was a wreck, I did not know how bad. My brother had
disappeared. Lauzon was frantically climbing over some large
boulders trying to reach the head of the next rapid, where
the boat was held in an eddy. My boat was not upset, but the
waves were surging through a great hole in her side. She was
drawn into an eddy, close to the base of the wall, where I
could tie up and climb out. It seemed folly to try the lower
end with my filled boat. Climbing to the top of the rock, I
could see half a mile down the canyon, but my brother was
nowhere to be seen and I had no idea that he had escaped. I
was returning to my wrecked boat when Bert waved his arms,
and pointed to the head of the rapid. Going back once more,
I saw him directly below me at the base of the sheer rock,
in an opening where the wall receded. He had crawled out
twenty feet above the next rapid. Returning to my wrecked
boat, I was soon beside him. He was exhausted with his
struggle in the icy waves; his outer garments were frozen. I
soon procured blankets from my bed, removed the wet clothes,
and wrapped him up. Lauzon, true to our expectations of what
he would do when the test came, swam out and rescued the
_Defiance_ before she was carried over the next rapid. He
was inexperienced at the oars and had less than two hours
practice after he had joined us. It was a tense moment when
he started across, above the rapid. But he made it! Landing
with a big grin, he exclaimed, 'Young fellows, business is
picking up!' then added, 'And we're losing lots of good

"These experiences were our Christmas presents that year.
They were not done up in small packages."

"We repaired the boat on Christmas day. Three smashed side
ribs were replaced with mesquite, which we found growing on
the walls. The hole was patched with boards from the loose
bottom. This was painted; canvas was tacked over that and
painted also, and a sheet of tin or galvanized iron went
over it all. This completed the repair and the _Edith_ was
as seaworthy as before."

This is Emery's account of the "Christmas Rapid."

I will add that the freezing temperature of the water and the struggle
for breath in the breaking waves left me exhausted and at the mercy of
the river. An eddy drew me out of the centre of the stream when I had
given up all hope of any escape from the next rapid. I had seen my
brother on the rock below the head of the rapid and knew there was no
hope from him. As I was being drawn back into the current, close to
the end of the sheer wall on the right, my feet struck bottom on some
debris washed down from the cliff. I made three efforts to stand but
fell each time, and finally crawled out on my hands and knees. I had
the peculiar sensation of seeing a rain-storm descending before my
eyes, although I knew no such thing existed; every fibre in my body
ached and continued to do so for days afterward; and the moment I
would close my eyes to sleep I would see mountainous waves about me
and would feel myself being whirled head over heels just as I was in
that rapid; but this rapid, strange to say, while exceedingly rough
and swift, did not contain any waves that we would have considered
large up to this time. In other words, it depended on the
circumstances whether it was bad or not. When standing on the shore,
picking a channel, it appeared to be a moderately bad rapid, in which
a person, aided with life-preservers, should have little difficulty in
keeping on top, at least half the time. After my battle, in which, as
far as personal effort went, I had lost, and after my providential
escape, that one rapid appeared to be the largest of the entire

It is difficult to describe the rapids with the foot-rule standard,
and give an idea of their power. One unfamiliar with "white water"
usually associates a twelve-foot descent or a ten-foot wave with a
similar wave on the ocean. There is no comparison. The waters of the
ocean rise and fall, the waves travel, the water itself, except in
breakers, is comparatively still. In bad rapids the water is whirled
through at the rate of ten or twelve miles an hour, in some cases much
swifter; the surface is broken by streams shooting up from every
submerged rock; the weight of the river is behind it, and the waves,
instead of tumbling forward, quite as often break upstream. Such

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