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And their captain never left his post:

"O Pilot, see you yet the strait that leads to the Eastern Sea?" "I see but the rocks and the barren shore; no strait is there,"

quoth he.

They sailed to the North- they sailed to the South

And at last they rounded an arm of sand

Which held the sea from a harbor's mouth –

The loveliest in the land;

They kept their course across the bay,

And the shore before them fell away:

O Pilot, see you not the strait that leads to the Eastern Sea?" "Hold the rudder true! Praise Christ Jesu! the strait is here," said he.

Onward they glide with wind and tide,
Past marshes gray and crags sun-kissed;
They skirt the sills of green-clad hills,

And meadows white with mist

But alas! the hope and the brave, brave dream!

For rock and shallow bar the stream:

"O Pilot, can this be the strait that leads to the Eastern Sea?" "Nay, Captain, nay; 'tis not this way; turn back we must,” said he.

Full sad was Hudson's heart as he turned

The Half Moon's prow to the South once more;

He saw no beauty in crag or hill,

No beauty in curving shore;

For they shut him away from that fabled main

He sought his whole life long, in vain;

"O Pilot, say, can there be a strait that leads to the Eastern Sea?"

"God's crypt is sealed! 'Twill stand revealed in His own good time," quoth he.



May-August, 1869


The Colorado River is formed by the junction of the Grand and the Green. These streams, born in the gloomy solitudes of the upper mountain region, have a strange and eventful history as they pass down through gorges, tumbling in cascades and cataracts until they reach the hot, arid plains of the lower Colorado, where the waters that were so clear above, empty muddy floods into the Gulf of California. Early in the spring of 1869, a small party, of which I made one, was organized to explore the Grand Canyon of the Colorado. Boats were built for us in Chicago and transported by rail to the point where the Union Pacific Railroad crosses Green River. In these we were to descend the Green River into the Colorado, and then follow the Colorado down through to the foot of the Grand Canyon.

On the twenty-fourth of May the good people of Green River City turned out to see us start. We raised our little flag, pushed the boats from the shore, and the swift current carried us down.

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Our boats were four in number three built of oak, stanch and strong, double-ribbed with double stern and stern-posts, and further strengthened by bulkheads, dividing each boat into three compartments. The fore and aft bulkheads were decked over, thus forming water-tight cabins. Each of these little vessels was twenty-one feet long, was capable of carrying about four thousand pounds and, without the cargo, could be transported by four men. The fourth boat was made of pine, very light, only sixteen feet in length,

with a sharp cut-water, and in every way built for fast rowing, and was divided into compartments like the others. We carried rations deemed sufficient to last ten months, expecting to stop over for the winter at some point about midway down the stream. We also took tools for repairing

boats and building cabins.

The flour, meat, and other articles of our rations were divided into three equal parts, one part being stowed in each of the larger boats, which were equipped with an axe, hammer, saw, auger, and other tools; so that all were loaded alike. We distributed the cargoes in this way, that we might not find ourselves without some important article if any one of the boats should be lost. In the small boat we packed a part of the scientific instruments, three guns, and three small bundles of clothing, only. In this boat I proceeded in advance, to explore the channel.

J. C. Sumner and William H. Dunn were my boatmen in the Emma Dean. Then followed Kitty Clyde's Sister, manned by W. H. Powell and G. Y. Bradley. Next, the No Name, with O. G. Howland, Seneca Howland, and Frank Goodman; and last came the Maid of the Canyon, with W. R. Hawkins and Andrew Hall.

Sumner had been a soldier during the recent war; Dunn had been a hunter, trapper, and mule-packer in Colorado for many years; Captain Powell was an officer of artillery; Bradley, a lieutenant; O. G. Howland was a printer by trade, editor by profession, and hunter by choice; Seneca Howland, his brother, was a quiet, pensive young man, and a great favorite with all; Goodman was a stranger to us a stout, willing Englishman, with florid face, and more florid anticipations of a glorious trip; Billy Hawkins, the cook, was a soldier, and Hall was a Scotch boy, nineteen years old, with

what seemed to us a "second-hand head," which doubtless had come down to him from some knight who might have worn it during the Border Wars.

For nearly fifty miles our way lay through the Green River Bad Lands, a region of desolation, and the journey to the foot of the mountains was made with no more important incident than the breaking of an oar in an ugly rapid, or the killing of a mountain sheep on a cliff that overhangs the river.

On the thirtieth of May we approached the mysterious canyons with some anxiety. The old mountaineers had told us they could not be run; we had heard the Indians say: "Water heap catch 'em!" But all of us were eager for the trial.

Entering Flaming Gorge, we quickly ran through it on a swift current, and emerged into a little park. Half a mile below, the river wheeled sharply to the left, and we turned into another canyon cut into the mountain. We entered the narrow passage; on either side the walls rapidly increased in altitude until, on the left, were overhanging ledges and cliffs five hundred, a thousand, fifteen hundred feet high; while on the right, the rocks were broken and ragged. The water filled the channel from cliff to cliff.

Then the river turned abruptly around a point to the right, and the water plunged swiftly down among the great rocks. Here we had our first experience with canyon rapids. I stood up on the deck of my boat to seek a way between the wave-beaten rocks. All untried as we were with such waters, the moments were filled with intense anxiety. Soon our boats reached the swift current; a stroke or two, now on this side, now on that, and we threaded the narrow passage with exhilarating velocity, mounting the high waves whose

foaming crests dashed over us, and plunging into the troughs until we reached the quiet water below. Then came a feeling of great relief; our first rapid was run. Another mile and we came out into the valley again.

Now and then we had an exciting ride; the river rolled down at a wonderful rate and, where there were no rocks in the way, we made almost railroad speed. Here and there the water rushed into a narrow gorge, where the rock walls rolled up great waves, over which the boats went bounding like things of life. Sometimes the waves would break over the boats, which made much bailing necessary, and even obliged us to stop occasionally for that purpose. At one time we made a run of twelve miles in an hour, including stoppages.

During the previous spring, I had talked with an old Indian, who told me about one of his tribe attempting to run this canyon: "The rocks," he said, holding his hands above his head, his arms vertical, and looking between them to the heavens, "the rocks h-e-a-p, h-e-a-p high; the water go h-oo-woogh, h-oo-woogh; water-pony [boat] h-e-a-p buck; water catch 'em! no see 'em Injun any more! no see 'em squaw any more! no see 'em pappoose any more!" Those who have seen these wild Indian ponies, rearing alternately before and behind, or "bucking," as it is called, will appreciate his description.

One day we came to calm water, when we heard a threatening roar in the distance below. Slowly approaching the point from which the sound issued, we came near a falls and tied up just above it on the left. Here we were compelled to make a portage. Unloading the little boat, we fastened long lines to the bow and to the stern and moored her close to the brink of the fall. The bow line was carried

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