Mineral Guide > How the Earth was Formed > Grand Canyon Colorado

Grand Canyon Colorado

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

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

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

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

Last spring, I had a conversation with an old Indian named Par-ri-ats, 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, 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 papoose any more!".

Grand Canyon picture