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More than once have I been warned by the Indians not to enter this canon. They considered it disobedience to the gods and contempt for their authority, and believed that it would surely bring upon me their wrath.
For two years previous to the exploration, I had been making some geological studies among the heads of the canons leading to the Colorado, and a desire to explore the Grand Canyon itself grew upon me. Early in the spring of 1869, a small party was organized for this purpose. Boats were built in Chicago, and transported by rail to the point where the Union Pacific Railroad crosses the Green River. With these we were to descend the Green into the Colorado, and the Colorado down to the foot of the Grand Canon.
FEOM GEEEN EIVER CITY TO FLAMING GORGE
MAY 24,1869.—The good people of Green River City turn out to see us start. We raise our little flag, push the boats from shore, and the swift current carries us down.
Our boats are four in number. Three are built of oak; stanch and firm; doubleribbed, with double stem and stern posts, and further strengthened by bulkheads, dividing each into three compartments.
Two of these, the fore and aft, are decked, forming water-tight cabins. It is expected these will buoy the boats should the waves roll over them in rough water. The little vessels are twenty-one feet long, and, taking out the cargoes, can be carried by four men.
The fourth boat is made of pine, very light, but sixteen feet in length, with a sharp cut-water, and every way built for fast rowing, and divided into compartments as the others.
We take with us rations deemed sufficient to last ten months; for we expect, when winter comes on and the river is filled with ice, to lie over at some point until spring arrives; so we take with us abundant supplies of clothing. We have also a large quantity of ammunition and two or three dozen traps. For the purpose of building cabins, repairing boats, and meeting other exigencies, we are supplied with axes, hammers, saws, augers, and other tools, and a quantity of nails and screws. For scientific work, we have two sextants, four chronometers, a number of barometers, thermometers, compasses, and other instruments.
The flour is divided into three equal parts; the meat and all other articles of our rations in the same way. Each of the larger boats has an ax, hammer, saw, auger, and other tools, so that all are loaded alike. We distribute the cargoes in this way, that we may not be entirely destitute of some important article should any one of the boats be lost. In the small boat, we pack a part of the scientific instruments, three guns, and three small bundles of clothing only. In this, I proceed in advance, to explore the channel.
J. C. Sumner and William H. Dunn are my boatmen in the Emma Dean," then follows Kitty Clyde's Sister, manned by W. H. Powell ** and G. Y. Bradley;. next, the No Name, with O. G. Howland, Seneca Rowland, and Frank Goodman; and last comes the Maid of the Canyon, with W. R. Hawkins and Andrew Hall.
Our boats are heavily loaded, and only with the utmost care is it possible to float in the rough river without shipping water.
A mile or two below town, we run on a sand-bar. The men jump into the stream, and thus lighten the vessels, so that they drift over; and on we go. In trying to avoid a rock, an oar is broken on one of the boats, and, thus crippled, she strikes. The current is swift, and she is sent reeling and rocking into the eddy. In the confusion, two others are lost overboard and the men seem quite discomfited, much to the amusement of the other members of the party.
* Mrs. Powell's maiden name. (Ed.)
** Capt. Walter Powell, the Major's youngest brother. Besides the two Powells, Sumner, Bradley, and Hawkins were ex-soldiers. (Ed.)
Catching the oars and starting again, the boats are once more borne down the stream until we land at a small cottonwood grove on the bank, and camp for noon.
During the afternoon, we run down to a point where the river sweeps the foot of an overhanging cliff, and here we camp for the night. The sun is yet two hours high, so I climb the cliffs, and walk back among the strangely carved rocks of the Green River badlands. These are sandstones and shales, gray and buff, red and brown, blue and black strata in many alternations, lying nearly horizontal, and almost without soil and vegetation. They are very friable, and