Dripping Spring. It is a little over a mile to Dripping Spring, which is at about five thousand four hundred and ninety-three feet elevation. The trail descends easily at first through a beautiful wooded canyoncito, where it is completely hidden and embowered in foliage. Then it winds its way down and around the cherty limestone, to the top of the cross-bedded sandstone, down which zigzags and steps lead one to the spring itself. This is located in a picturesque spot. Picture a great, overhanging wall at the very bottom of the cross-bedded sandstone, from twelve to fifty and more feet high, the recess being perhaps thirty or forty feet back. From the rocks above, with a drop of about fifteen feet, seeping through a green cluster of maidenhair ferns, the pure water of the spring drips into a stone trough placed to receive it. Day and night, winter and summer, fair weather or foul, it seldom varies its quick, tinkling, merry drip, drip into the receptacle below. Below the trough, a natural cavity in the rocks receives the overflow, and here, within the pool and on its edges, aquatic and other plants grow in profusion. By the side of this ever-flowing water, Louis Boucher, the builder of the trail, has his simple home camp. Two tents, placed end to end, rest against the wall, well protected from sun and rain, though the morning's sun shines in freely. Below is a corral for horses, mules and burros used on the trail.
Hermit Basin. Here, after lunch, one continues on his trail trip to the river. For three miles the trail winds in and out of the recesses, on the easily rolling ground of the plateau. There are no sharp descents. For about half a mile the trail is in Dripping Spring Amphitheatre, an alcove on the edge of Hermit Basin, so named by Louis P. Brown, a miner and prospector, who, in the early eighties, made this basin his home while engaged in prospecting operations in the Canyon.
As the plateau passes across the basin and out to the open Canyon, the scene becomes more and more enlarged, until it is stupendous and vast beyond description. Down on the right, Hermit Creek cuts its narrow path deeper and deeper, until it reaches the red-wall limestone, where it makes a narrow gorge, that, from the elevation of the plateau, seems more like a mere slit in the rock than a gorge. Louis Boucher assures me that it is so narrow and deep that he has seen stars from its recesses at midday, and I record his statement in spite of the fact that eminent astronomers have told me that such a sight is impossible. Anyhow, the effect of that stupendous descent is such as to almost make the rider on the trail see stars, though there is no danger to any one with ordinarily steady nerves. Two miles out, one sees the continuation of one arm of the Bright Angel fault in the shattered strata of the red sandstone, some masses of which are toppled over at the base of Pima Point. It was this fault that made the talus slopes, down which the Boucher Trail descends, and also the great eroded recess of Hermit Basin.
Columbus Point. The nose of the plateau on which we have been traveling, now directly under Yuma Point, is named Columbus Point, and from this spot, where several noted American painters have made paintings destined to become memorable, the outlook in three directions, east, west, and north, forms one of the noblest of all the panoramas of the Canyon my eye has ever rested upon. Shiva's Temple is almost directly opposite, as we look towards the northeast. Stretches of the river are exposed east and west, where raging rapids send up their roar to us. Overhead is a great castellated structure, surmounted by a lesser building, with a round tower, embattlements and all the architectural accompaniments of an elaborately equipped castle of ancient Europe. An attempt to describe all the objects seen in the heart of the Canyon is needless. Suffice it to say that the panorama takes in every tower, temple, butte and structure, seen from Point Sublime on the north side; or any of the points on the south side, from Havasupai Point on the east, to Yavapai Point on the west; and includes Wotan's Throne, Vishnu Temple, and the wall of the Little Colorado to the faraway east.
On the Lower Trail to the River. The trail then winds under Yuma Point, and zigzags down the thinner strata of the red sandstones on to the red-wall limestones, where it affords more extended views on a lower plateau of lesser area, the rocky butte on the end of which is named Bunker Hill Monument. From this plateau another rapid descent is made through masses of rock to the bed of Long (or Boucher) Creek, where, at the distance of about a mile from the river, is located the lower camp. Here Boucher has planted a garden of all kinds of vegetables, and with seventy-five trees, which include oranges, figs, peaches, pears, apricots, apples, nectarines, and pomegranates; he boasts of his melons, canteloupes, beets, onions, tomatoes, chile, carrots, cucumbers, parsnips, etc., and I can vouch for the sweet and refreshing qualities of his melons. Tomatoes, ripe and green, covered his vines in January, and he has them throughout the year. It needs no comment to explain how delightful fresh vegetables are, after one has made this trail trip, especially if it should be in the hot summer months.
Good and comfortable beds and other camp accommodations are provided here, so that a stop may be made over night. In the morning, the river is visited, and the return trip accomplished in easy time for dinner. The distance from rim to river has not been measured, but it is estimated to be from eight to ten miles.
Boucher also has a copper mine, rich in mineral. He claims that it is a continuation of the copper ledge of Bass's mine, and is possibly the same deposit that continues east to the Canyon Copper Company's mine on the Berry Trail.
The return trip can be made over various routes, including the ascent of Bass or Bright Angel Trails, but a majority of visitors will wish to return by way of Hermit Trail, across Hermit Basin from Boucher Trail. In that way they will get the experience of using two trails with their different outlooks and a journey across the plateau down in the Canyon, as well as a drive back to El Tovar on Hermit Rim Road.
CHAPTER VII. How Fully To See And Know The Grand Canyon Region
Advantages of Camping Trips. The suggestions in this chapter are mainly for the strenuous and strong, though this by no means excludes members of the gentle sex. Many women and girls—some who have never before been on horseback—have made these extended trips, even those that have required weeks of rough camping. For detailed particulars of the scenery, those interested are referred to the various chapters devoted to the respective trails. The transportation department at El Tovar is under the control of competent men, and is thoroughly well equipped to send visitors on prolonged camping trips with everything needed for a week, a month, or six months. It is merely a question of time and meeting the necessary expense. On the occasion of my last visit to El Tovar, a small party of both sexes was equipped and started out for a trip to last fully three weeks. Reference to the chapter entitled "Across the Grand Canyon to Point Sublime," mainly written as her diary by an elderly lady, will give the ideas of a woman who had next to no previous experience of the hardships, as well as the immediate enjoyments of such a trip. But no one can estimate the continual source of delight and pleasure the memories of such a trip are to those who have resolutely faced and overcome the merely temporary discomforts entailed. The experiences with the burros, the surprises of the scenery, the exquisite delight of the perfect rest and dreamless sleep one enjoys, after the first few nights of novelty are worn off, the satisfaction of seeing and knowing much of the most sublime piece of natural scenery on earth, are compensations and satisfactions enough.
Down Bright Angel Trail. After one has gained the slight knowledge of the Canyon afforded by the easier trips described, let him plan to make the following as "a starter" in his more thorough investigation. With a good guide, pack animals carrying a full equipment of sleeping, cooking and eating necessities, plenty of water in canteens, one or two extra canvasses in case of rain, a note-book, and pencils or fountain pen, a compass and barometer for altitude readings, and the United States Geological Survey maps of the region, one is ready to make a "good start." Descend the Bright Angel Trail to the river, study the formations all the way down; get a clear idea of the relative positions of the strata, and learn to detect them by the individualistic appearances of wall, temple, butte, etc.; and examine the so-called cliff-dwellings hidden away in the Tonto sandstones before descending on the gneiss into Pipe Creek Canyon. Arrived at the river, spend a day there investigating the peculiar foldings and tiltings of the Algonkian strata. Sleep, as did Powell and his men for weeks, on the sands of the Colorado River, with the noise of the rapids ever in your ears. Breathe the pure air, and watch the solemn march of the stars.
Have you ever noticed how delicious the most ordinary food is, when cooked and eaten in the open air, after a day of reasonable exertion? Climbing, riding, and walking expand the lungs, and this means the absorption of immeasurably more oxygen. Weak stomachs, fickle appetites, dyspeptic symptoms, insomnia, blue devils and a score of the ills that human flesh is heir to, disappear before the floods of sunshine and oxygen that bathe the body, inside and out, of the man or woman who gladly accepts the outdoor life, even though only for a short time, in this Canyon region.
These philosophizings are aroused by the smell of bacon frying over the camp-fire, or the crack of a fine, mealy Arizona potato, roasting in the ashes, or a whiff from the coffee-pot, just about to topple over on the burning sticks. The fire is made of driftwood washed down possibly from some storm-swept region where a Mormon dwells with his numerous family; or, mayhap, from a forest where the elk of Wyoming still roam.
How real life in this Canyon now begins to be. It is opening up its secrets to us as we thus come into it. We are learning to love it, therefore it shows its heart to us. It no longer is a "thing" to be looked at; it is a real something, an individuality to love, to listen to, to question, to honor.
On the Tonto Trail. We are now ready to go over the old Tonto Trail the trail made centuries ago by mountain sheep, small bands of which are still to be found in the remoter corners of the Canyon—then followed by the Indians, whose moccasined feet made less impression upon it than did the hoofs of the sheep. And in the two or three decades just passed, a few white men trod it. Perhaps Powell, or some of his men, or Stanton, walked where we now walk, or ride, and surely some of those early mining prospectors of the Canyon—Ashurst, McClure, Marshall, Hance, Boucher, Berry, Brashear,—once went this way.
In and out of the recesses of the much carved walls, up and down the wavy ridges of the plateaus, sometimes descending into deep side gorges, we ride, our guide leading the way to the Grand View Trail, and our pack-mules and burros following, while we occupy the rear of the procession. We stop for noon lunch in one of the side canyons where is a spring of clear water. We take off the packs from the animals, and let them nibble away at the rich grama and gallinas grasses that flourish here after the summer rains.
Comfortable and contented after our meal, we lie on our backs under the shelter of a juniper or a friendly cottonwood, or in the shade of an immense block fallen from some cracked wall above. Already we are becoming familiar with the strata, and can call each one by name. The red wall limestone, we find, is known to the guides and miners as the "blue lime," owing to the fact that its capping stratum, where exposed, has a light blue color.
Cottonwood Creek and Horseshoe Mesa. In due time we reach Cottonwood Creek, which flows down to the left (west) of Grand View Point. Here the plateau opens out, but we leave it in order to follow the creek, on the Berry Trail down to the river. Perhaps we spend the night here, and in the morning ascend to the mesa on to the Tonto, then up the well-engineered trail to Grand View Cave (see description in chapter on Grand View Trail). Sending the pack animals on from here, we wait until some one descends from the near-by Horseshoe Mesa, where the camp of the Canyon Copper Company is located, with candles ready to conduct us through the wonders of this natural excavation in the red-wall limestone. This occupies the whole of our afternoon, so that when we reach the mesa, we are ready to partake of the substantial and cheery fare of the Camp, and then unroll our blankets, lie down, listen to the chat of the miners and guide, hear them recount some of their thrilling and exciting experiences, enjoy their singing of old-time melodies, with a peculiar western flavor to them, and then roll over to dreamless sleep.
Copper Mines. Half a day can be well spent on the morrow in the mines, and one is surprised to find here over half a mile of tunnels and shafts, with workings on seven levels, and ore so rich that under usual conditions it pays to mine, sort, pack on mules three miles or a little more to the rim, place in wagons, haul some fifteen or twenty miles to Apex, load on railway cars and ship—paying full freight, of course—about six hundred and eighty miles to El Paso, Texas, where it is "milled," and the copper, silver and gold extracted. These various processes are expensive. It costs to buy grain in Flagstaff, or Phoenix, and pay freight on it to Apex, and then haul it to the head of the trail, and thence to the stables on the plateau near the mine. Hay, too, has to come just as far. Every pound of the provisions used by the men has to be hauled in similar fashion over railroad, wagon road and canyon trail. Every pick, shovel, piece of iron or woodwork, every pound of powder, dynamite and fuse, every box of candles has to pay toll in like fashion, before it can be used in the mine. So we are not surprised to learn that the ore is rich, the first thousand tons mined going as high as thirty percent in copper, with several ounces of silver to the ton, and small but appreciable and valuable traces of gold. (At the time of this writing, the mines are temporarily shut down.)
To the Old Hance Trail. The mouth of the mine enters the face of the cliff to the east, and overlooks the trail down which we descend into Hance Creek, where the old Hance Trail to the river used to be. It is an old friend, for we have been down it more times than once, and can recall every feature. We rest awhile here, in order to go down to the place where the side canyon through which the creek flows "narrows up." We pass through, and on the other side stand before the shattered Tonto sandstones that Thomas Moran, years ago, named the Temple of Set, and even further on, where we used to leave the horses and climb down a boulder, and up the face of the cliff, and down the rope ladder over the archaean rocks—here a crystalline mica schist—and so on, all the way to the river. So another day passes, and we stretch out our blankets, and sleep on the very ledge on which we bunked years and years ago, when we made our first descent and camp in this canyon.
Red Canyon Trail. The next day we are ready to continue on to the west. We climb out of Hance Canyon, and cross the ridge into Mineral Canyon, ascend again, cross another ridge, and find ourselves in that wonderland of the geologist, the Red Canyon Trail.
What do I mean by the Wonderland of the Geologist? Ask of these tilted strata of red rock, that give the canyon its name, that the men wise in rocks call the non-conformable Algonkian strata! Ask of the folds, or, flexures, in the strata, which the untrained eye can readily discern!
The Algonkian. This is one of the spots that all geologists—from every part of the civilized world—aim for. They know it is one of the rare things of the known world, and they come here to see it. So make yourself as wise as you can while you are here and have the chance. Read Dr. Walcott's monograph from the fourteenth report of the United States Geological Survey, Volume No. 2, entitled "Pre-Cambrian Igneous Rocks of the Unkar Terrane." Then read Major Powell's luminous earlier descriptions of these rocks in his "Explorations of the Colorado River of the West." Learn from their own words what these geological masters say of these wonderful five hundred feet thick remnants of twelve thousand feet of strata that were once piled here above the archaean rocks. Imagine over two miles of strata thrust up into the air, and then pay strict attention as the scientists reason out their conclusions as to the how, why, where, and whence of the eleven thousand five hundred feet of washed away strata.
Asbestos Mines. If your guide knows how to compass it, cross the river here at the foot of the Red Canyon Trail, and visit the asbestos mines of the Hance Asbestos Mining Company of New York. Try to comprehend what asbestos is; how it is formed. See where it is located in these much burnt and much twisted strata.
If possible, go up and down the river, and see where the Inner Gorge—the granite or gneiss—really begins. It is not so very far away.
Then, when you are ready, watch the guide adjust the much-lightened pack, for the supply of "grub" is getting low; perhaps assist him swing the packs on the packsaddle, put on the canvas covering and throw the "diamond hitch," and then saddle your own horse—for by now you will have begun to feel some confidence and pride in doing things that the "tenderfoot" generally leaves to the guide—and soon you are climbing up the trail on your way to the rim. As soon as you are on "top," you "push on" the pack animals and "hit the trail hard" by way of Hance's Ranch, now owned by Martin Buggel, to Grand View, and over the familiar road back to El Tovar.
Eastern Points. Or, before returning, one day or several more days can be spent in visiting the salient promontories—Moran, Zuni, Papago, Pinal and Lipan Points—and then descending the most eastern trail of the Grand Canyon, known as the Tanner-French Trail.
Imagine the gain after such a trip. Count up the store of knowledge acquired; the health, vim, vigor added to one's store; the capacity for energetic life developed; the experiences accumulated; the hardships laughed at and overcome; and then tell me whether any similar outlay of cash elsewhere can produce equal benefits in results.
This is but one of many such trips which I will now briefly and succinctly name, each one of which is different from every other one.
To Havasu Canyon. One, two, or three weeks (or more) can profitably be spent in going westward (twenty-five miles) over the Topocobya Road to the head of the Topocobya Trail into Havasu (Cataract) Canyon. This is a drive of forty miles. Camp over night there, and then descend in the cool of the morning down either arm of this stupendous cliff (see chapter on Havasu Canyon) to Topocobya Spring, and on down the wash into Havasu Canyon, fifteen miles or so to the Havasupai village.
Camp near, or in, one of the fields of the Indians, where good alfalfa can be purchased for the animals and fresh vegetables and fruit (in season) for one's own use. If you are not too squeamish to see aboriginal man in his primitive dirt, study him in his home. Try to learn to look at things from his standpoint. If possible, witness one of his dances—a religious ceremony—and arrange to enter his primitive toholwoh or sweat-house, where he will give you a most effective and powerful Russo-Turkish bath. Swim in Havasu Creek to your heart's content, several times a day. Climb to the old fort, where the Havasupais used to retire to defend themselves when pressed too closely by their hereditary foes, the Apaches. Listen to the stones, the legends, the myths about the stone figures your eye cannot fail to see soon after you reach the village, which command the widest part of the Canyon, where the Indians live, and which are called by them Hue-puk-eh-eh and Hue-gli-i-wa. Get one of the storytellers to recite to you the deeds of Tochopa, their good god, and Hokomata, their bad god, and ask them for the wonderfully fascinating legend of the mother of their tribe—the daughter of Tochopa, from whom the whole human race descended. Ask one of the old men to tell you the stories of some of their conflicts with the Apaches, and why Tochopa placed the Hue-gli-i-wa in so prominent and salient a position. If you desire something of a different nature, engage some of the younger men to get up a horse race. The wise and judicious expenditure of a few dollars will generally produce the desired effect.
Then, when you are ready to travel again, get a Havasupai to guide you—no one else can—up to the fascinating spring called Pack-a-tha-true-ye-ba, or to some of their side canyons where cliff-dwellings, corn-storage houses and pictographs abound.
Bridal Veil Falls. On your return, descend to Bridal Veil Falls, and see where a capitalist spent many thousands of dollars in unnecessary work because he had been deluded into the belief that platinum existed here. Then forget men and their mad search for gold, and stand reverent before a secret shrine of beauty incomparable—this exquisite fall in its majestic setting. A day or more can be well spent here, and yet not exhaust the delight of this one fall. There are four ways of approach to it from the village above. Go over them all, as each has its own peculiar charm. Then strike off down the Canyon to Mooney Falls, and hear the story, as you cross and recross Havasu Creek, of the poor miner who was killed here and from whom the fall obtains its name. And finally, follow the winding of the pellucid stream until it is ejected through a narrow passageway into the turbulent Colorado.
Cushing's Story of the Havasupais. On returning from the Havasupai village, come out by the Wallapai Trail or ascend the steep cleft of the Hopi Trail. Both ought to be seen and gone over, in order to know something of the engineering skill of these Blue Water Indians. And if you can get hold of it, read Frank Hamilton Cushing's delightful account (in Volume 50 of the Atlantic Monthly) of his trip from Zuni and down the Hopi Trail to the village you have just left. Also, if you care to read more ancient history still, get Lieutenant Ives's fascinating report of his trip into this Canyon (published by the War Department) and, even earlier still, the diary of Padre Garces (see chapter on Garces), the man who camped with the ancestors of these hospitable Indians, while Jefferson, Adams, Washington and Hancock were defying the British and preparing to launch the Declaration of Independence.
To Powell Plateau and Point Sublime. Another two or three weeks' delightful experience can be gained by arranging to go down Bass's Trail, cross on his cable ferry, go up the Shinumo Trail to Powell Plateau, watch the herds of protected and preserved deer and antelope, look longingly upon the succulent and delicious pine-hens that live upon pinion nuts and roost in the branches of the pine trees of the Kaibab forest, and pleasantly saunter along out to Point Sublime. The guide will point out to you—or he is no guide—the spot where in 1873 Thomas Moran sat with Major Powell, and afterwards painted the memorable canvas of the Grand Canyon which now hangs in the Capitol at Washington. Sleep out on Point Sublime and remember Dutton, whose beautifully polished descriptions of the Canyon, written here, have thrilled thousands of civilized and cultured people. Then push on west to the Greenland Spring, over Walhalla Plateau to Naji Point, whence you can look down into Chuar Creek, where Dr. Walcott, with three Mormons, spent a snowy winter studying the Algonkian strata.
An Adventurous Trip. Or, better still, if you are ready for whatever adventure may befall on a seldom used trail, descend Dr. Walcott's old trail to the river, and there build a raft (it is perfectly feasible and not too dangerous, unless the river be at the flood) and cross to the other side, letting your horses swim over. Then come out by way of the Tanner Trail, after riding up and down the wide beach and sandy stretches of this part of the Canyon as far north and east as the Little Colorado.
Indeed you may walk up the boxed-in canyon of this side gorge—where few white men have trod—on your return.
Qver the Desert to Hopiland. A fascinating trip, not however connected with the Canyon, is suggested in the chapter on "An Historical Trail across the Grand Canyon Country." Arrange to go in mid-August, even though it be hot weather, if you have grown a little toughened, for then you will reach Hopiland at the time of the Snake Dance, which thrilling ceremony I have briefly, but truthfully, described in a special chapter.
Many such trips can be planned for those who really wish them, and he who is wise enough to take them will probably improve in health, gain a wonderful knowledge of one of the most fascinating regions of the earth, and fill the memory with treasures that nothing can destroy.
CHAPTER VIII. From El Tovar Down The Bright Angel Trail
The Start. Leaving El Tovar promptly at 8:30 A. M., fortified with a good breakfast, and suitably clothed, the trail party in a few minutes reaches the head of Bright Angel Trail near Bright Angel Camp. For three-quarters of a mile this trail descends, zigzagging back and forth until the top of the cross-bedded sandstone is reached.
Faulting in the Sandstones. Here the visitor should not fail to observe the faulting in the sandstone, there being a difference in the two sides of about two hundred feet. Without this fault there would have been no trail, for to the lifting up, or dropping down of the strata, is due their shattered condition, which alone makes trail-building possible. When about a mile down, the separation line between the cross-bedded sandstone and the upper red sandstone is clearly revealed to the left of the trail.
By this time all timidity has vanished, and you implicitly trust both mule and trail, even when going around that narrow ledge known as Cape Horn.
Now, immediately before us, the majestic pile known as the Battleship presents itself with new power. The ship itself is composed of the red sandstone. The base upon which it rests is the red-wall limestone.
A few feet further, and the cross-bedded sandstone may be seen far below on the right, out of plumb with the same mass on the left, to which it belongs, clearly showing that some convulsion of nature has either thrust the mass on the left up, or forced the mass on the right down.
From this spot a fine view is had of the red-wall limestone below and the Indian Garden; and, far below, at the end of Pipe Creek, the peculiar folding of the Algonkian strata. This folding is also to be seen on the other side of the river in the same rocks.
Trees, Flowers and Birds. While descending the first mile of trail, one sees plenty of flowers and shrubs, and many Douglas spruces. These do not exist on the rim, and, strange to say, the pines which abound there are never found on the trail. One will generally hear the sweet descending "pipe" of the canyon wren, and the harsh scolding of the blue-winged pinion jay. Hawks, owls, mocking-birds and robins are often seen. Butterflies, moths, and humming-birds wing their way to and fro and give a delicate touch of life to the stern rocky features. Time was when the visitor at El Tovar who went down the trail to the river might have seen mountain sheep, bear, deer, antelopes and coyotes.
Jacob's Ladder. When the "blue lime"—the top of the red-wall limestone—is reached, one may study a fine piece of real canyon trail-making, locally called Jacob's Ladder. Here steps have been cut in the slippery and solid rocks, in some places built up with timbers, and thus made perfectly safe. It is customary for everybody to dismount here, so as to lighten the load. The well-trained saddle mules of El Tovar stables go up and down this part of the trail without hesitation.
Red-Wall Limestone. Standing on the summit of the red-wall limestone, we are again forcefully reminded that it is the most prominent member of the Grand Canyon strata. Its insistent mass is a thousand feet in thickness. The face of this wall, close before us, is carved into numerous alcoves, and as we near its base, we observe to the right a vast double-cornered recess known as Angel Alcove. From here it is interesting to look up to the rim and observe the peculiar and varied contour of the many pinnacles cut by wind and storm out of the cherty limestone.
Buddha and Manu Temples. From this point, also, the first good view, from below the rim, of Buddha Temple (seven thousand two hundred and eighteen feet) is obtained. It is to the left of Bright Angel Creek. Now look carefully at the ridge that leads the eye from Buddha Temple to Bright Angel Creek. It appears to be a portion of the main wall of the Kaibab Plateau. In reality it is three miles from the Kaibab wall, and, under suitable conditions, may be seen as a massive temple, which has been named Manu Temple (seven thousand one hundred and ninety-two feet), after the great law-giver of the Hindoos.
Indian Garden and Cheops Pyramid. At the base of the red-wall limestone, the trail opens up a little, and permits easier breathing by the tyro on horseback; from now on to Indian Garden (three thousand eight hundred and seventy-six feet) we ride in a boulder bed, where large blocks of rock of every conceivable shape lie as they fell from the strata above. Small shrubs and plants abound, and tiny lizards and inquisitive swifts dart to and fro. Nearer to us is Cheops Pyramid (five thousand three hundred and fifty feet), a massive monument, though less ornately carved than Buddha.
Isis and Shiva Temples. Above it and farther to the left, is Isis Temple (seven thousand and twenty-eight feet), the cap of which, at this angle, presents the appearance of two acorn-like structures resting upon their cups, the taller of which is carved out of the cross-bedded sandstone. It is the eastern supporter of Shiva Temple (seven thousand six hundred and fifty feet), of which Captain Dutton, who named it, wrote eloquently and vividly.
Brahma and Zoroaster Temples. Now turn the eye away from Shiva, across to the east of Bright Angel Creek. There, outlined against the sky, are two noble-profiled buttes. The rear one is Brahma Temple (seven thousand five hundred and fifty-four feet), named after the first of the Hindoo triad, the Supreme Creator. The smaller butte, an angular mass of solid, unrelieved rock, sloping in a peculiarly oblique fashion, is Zoroaster Temple (seven thousand one hundred and thirty feet), thus adding to the Hindoo pantheon a fane for the founder of the religion of the Irano-Persians.
Deva Temple, Obi, and Komo Points. Behind Brahma can be seen, when at the right angle, a flat-topped detached mass (seven thousand three hundred and forty-four feet) named Deva Temple. Behind and above it are two points, Obi (eight thousand feet) to the right, and Komo, about the same height, to the left. These are the salient points on Walhalla Plateau, overlooking the Ottoman Amphitheatre, the chief temples of which I have already named.
Indian Garden. Passing now through the fertile Indian Garden, Angel Plateau is reached. The spring at Indian Garden is large enough to irrigate a small tract of ground. Experience has demonstrated that not only can vegetables of every kind be grown here, but all kinds of fruits, even oranges, lemons and grapefruit. For two miles after leaving the Garden, we ride over a fairly level plateau to its edge, where it overlooks the Granite Gorge. Here, standing on the Tonto sandstone (three thousand seven hundred and eight feet), we look down into the dark recesses of the inner gorge, and picture the events described by Major Powell, when he and his brave band of intrepid explorers passed through.
O'Neill Butte. Now looking back to the rim at Yaki Point, we see beneath it, and corresponding to the Battleship, an imposing structure. It has been named O'Neill Butte, in honor of "Bucky" O'Neill, one of Roosevelt's Rough Riders, who was slain during the heroic charge at San Juan Hill. He it was who interested Eastern capitalists in the Anita Mine, and was therefore indirectly responsible for the building of the Grand Canyon Railway.
Pipe Creek. Those who wish to go to the river now retrace a portion of the way to the Indian Garden, and then turn off eastward by the old-time Indian corn-storage houses. Here one obtains a fine view of the wild chaos of metamorphosed rocks of Pipe Creek. It is a veritable Pluto's workshop, where the rocks are twisted, burned, and tortured out of all semblance to their original condition. They are made into cruel and black jagged ridges, which seem eager to tear and rend you.
Falls of Willow Creek. In these forbidding rocks the Devil's Corkscrew Trail has been cut, winding and twisting down, down, twelve hundred feet, passing by a split in the rocks where the waters of Willow Creek make a waterfall of over two hundred feet.
The Colorado River. At last the Colorado River is reached, and we are but two thousand four hundred and thirty-six feet above the sea. El Tovar, above, is six thousand eight hundred and sixty-six feet, and we have thus descended four thousand four hundred and thirty feet, nearly a mile, from rim to river. And what a river it is! No one can form any idea of it, unless he stands on the very brink, almost deafened by the sound of its sullen roar and turbulent rapids. It is hungry, insatiable, murderous, cruel. Many a foolish mortal has had the breath dashed from his body by these powerful waves. Those who wish to cross to the other side can defy danger in the cable crossing, but only a skilled boatman should attempt to row across.
Colorado Salmon. Fish are caught in the river here at times. The chief variety is a scale-bearing fish, of silvery appearance, commonly known to the local dwellers as Colorado salmon. Specimens have been caught two feet eight inches in length, and sixteen inches in circumference, and a fortunate fisherman brought one up to El Tovar, which was nearly three feet in length.
Camping at the River. It is a delightful experience to remain over night and sleep on the river sand, especially if the moon be at its full. Then one sees great walking shadows—moving, living, palpable entities. Towers and buttes and temples take on new qualities under the softer luminary of the night.
Here, too, one gets to know the Canyon in a new phase. He is in the trough between two ranges of mountains. To the north and to the south are towering peaks. You forget that you have ridden down, down, to reach this spot. You are in a new country. A majestic range of glorious peaks soars away above you to the north. Now, by merely turning in the other direction, you see another and entirely different range, with peaks, canyons, ravines, gorges, points, ridges all its own.
The Return to El Tovar. Riding back to El Tovar, with thoughts like these, the visitor imagines himself riding to a City Celestial. He reaches the plateau, studies for a while the unique coloring of the Algonkian strata just above the Granite Gorge, and sees where the faulting has raised them above the Tonto sandstones. Then, steadily looking upward, he rides forward, climbing slowly but surely to the peaks above. Tired though he is, he feels a constant thrill of satisfaction as he rises higher and higher, and when, at last, his animal lifts him to the level of El Tovar, and he stands once more in his room at the hotel, he feels an exaltation vouchsafed only to those who have dared and done an unusual thing. And this the Canyon is! No matter how often the trip is made, the interest of it never tires; the wonder of it never grows less.
CHAPTER IX. To Grand View And Down The Grand View Trail
To Grand View. One may go by regular stages or by private conveyance from El Tovar to Grand View. The distance to the hotel is fourteen miles. The drive is through the glens and winding roads of the Coconino Forest, with junipers, pines, sage-brush, atriplex and the beautifully flowered Cowania Mexicana, or mountain mahogany, commonly known as the quinine tree, abounding on every hand. Though comparatively close to the Canyon, one seldom catches a glimpse of it, for the country slopes away from the rim. The ride is through a thickly forested region of giant pines.
Varieties of Flowers and Shrubs. During the season of flowers one will be surprised at the great diversity presented. There are varieties of artemisia or sage-brush, antennaria, columbine, the barberry, spiraea, Russian thistle, eriophyllous, chrysothamnus, plantago, dandelions, lepidium, chaenactic, linum, hosackia, cirsium, astragulus, ambrosia, euphorbia, pleustemon, achillea millefolium, erodium, or stork's bill, orthocarpous, vilia, solidago, lactuca, helianthus, erigeron, brickellia, malvastrum, ptelea or a desert hop-tree, polygonum, sphedra, lupines, castilleia, lathyrus, verbena and a score of others. I merely name those I saw on one day's drive to and from Grand View, so that the botanist, amateur or professional, may know the rich treat there is in store for him. For, under the peculiar climatic conditions here, many of these more common plants present singular variations.
When about half the distance is passed, the road enters Long Jim Canyon, so named after a well-known sheepherder of the early days who used to wander here with his sheep.
Pompey's Pillar and Thor's Hammer. Shortly before reaching Grand View Point, the road passes not far from the rim, where it curves into a small amphitheatre in which are two striking columns of erosion, Pompey's Pillar and Thor's Hammer.
Grand View Hotel. Grand View Hotel is directly upon the rim, and commands a fine outlook over the open portion of the Canyon at its very beginning. The hotel was built by and is under the management of P. D. Berry, whose homestead is near by. Mr. Berry was one of the discoverers of the mine below and one of the locators of the Grand View Trail.
Grand View Point. Grand View Point (elevation seven thousand four hundred and ninety-five feet) is about a mile from the hotel. It affords the most extensive view possible of this part of the Canyon. The highest point, too, is at the eastern end of the Canyon, being two hundred and eleven feet higher than Zuni Point (seven thousand one hundred and fifty-seven feet), one hundred and twenty-five feet higher than Pinal Point (seven thousand three hundred and seventy feet), and thirty feet higher than Navaho Point, all of them salient points to the east.
Cliff Dwellings. There are a number of cliff dwellings in this vicinity, which take from half a day to a day to visit. The best preserved of these are in the gulches of the Coconino Forest, on the rocks of which are also some interesting pictographs. There are remains of dwellings on Moran's Point, and at various places along the rim of the Canyon. A few miles to the east of Grand View Point is the junction of the Little Colorado with the Colorado River, as it flows out of the Marble Canyon into the Grand Canyon. Here, for nearly a score of miles, the strata have been shattered and carried away, so that the Canyon is opened up, as it were, more than in any other place. A vast number of pillars of erosion stand revealed in wonderful variety.
It should never be forgotten that the Canyon is so diversified that each point and each trail has its own distinctive charms, and he is wise, in the Canyon study, who sees it from as many points of vantage as he can.
The trip from Grand View Hotel to the plateau overlooking the Granite Gorge, three thousand five hundred feet below, and return, is made in one day. The old Grand View Trail leaves the rim about a mile from the hotel, winding its way down from one stratum to another, around points which command extensive outlooks.
Grand View Trail. A new trail from Grand View Point, one and a half miles north of the hotel, joins the old trail about a thousand feet below the rim, and continues to the top of what is locally known as the "blue limestone," two thousand five hundred feet below the rim, to the Horseshoe Mesa, where the Canyon Copper Company mine is located. Here also are the bunk-houses and boarding-houses of the miners, the corral for the burros used in packing ore to the surface, and several small sleeping cottages for travelers. The distance from the rim to the camp is three miles on the old trail, and about half a mile less by the new trail. To the mouth of the mine is another half mile. The trail was begun in June, 1892, and the first ore pack-train went over it in February, 1893. In 1901 the interests of Berry and his partners were bought by the Canyon Copper Company. The distinctive charm of the Grand View Trail is the wide and unobstructed outlook which one gets here nearly all the way down. It is not boxed in.
Horseshoe Mesa. The start from Grand View Hotel is generally made after lunch, so that one arrives at the camp of the Canyon Copper Company in time for supper, and lodges there over night. After supper, a visit is made to the edge of the Horseshoe Mesa for the sunset view. This is one of the more extended views afforded only from such a mesa or plateau thrust well out into the heart of the Canyon. Up, down, and around, there is scenic attraction. The river flows on in the deep Granite Gorge below. The best time, too, for seeing and knowing the Canyon is at the sunset (or sunrise) hour. Then the shadows are long, and the various objects stand out distinctly.
Grand View Caves. The following morning a visit may be made to the limestone caves or the Copper Company's mine. The former were discovered in 1897 by the camp cook, Joseph Gildner, and are well worthy an extended visit. The first cave is some three hundred feet long, and varies in height from ten to eighty or ninety feet. The second cave has about the same length, but is much higher and contains a far more diversified collection of stalactites, stalagmites and sheets of calcareous deposits, that hang like curtains before the more solid side walls. While appearing in the red-wall limestone, the rock of these caves is all of a creamy white, thus demonstrating that the formation itself is white, but that the exposed walls are stained by the red washed over them from the strata above.
Copper Mine. The mine is equally interesting, and to those who have never seen the operations of tunneling, stouping, driving shafts, winzes and the like, and the removal of the ore, it is an experience well worth while. (At this writing the mine is temporarily closed.)
A Fine Trip. From the Horseshoe Mesa, one may descend to the Lower Plateau on horseback, and then to the river on foot. Those who wish a more extended trip should ride from the camp, across the old Hance and Mineral Canyons into Red Canyon, stay over night at the river, at the foot of the Red Canyon Trail, and then return up the latter trail to the hotel. The trail is fairly good, and the three different side canyons traversed reveal a wonderful variety of rock scenery.
To Hance Canyon. To take this trip, the trail passes the mine, eastward, down a steep break in the red-wall limestone, zigzagging back and forth. Passing under overhanging cliffs, it leads down until the plateau is reached, where twenty years ago I saw bands of mountain sheep. From this plateau, the descent is steep into Hance Canyon, and the student of the dynamic forces of nature can here see (when about half-way down) a wonderful example of the shattering of the earth's crust. Here the immense mass of the "red-wall" has been shaken up, and is now rapidly disintegrating, to be washed down by the storms of succeeding years into the great river which will ultimately deposit it in the Gulf of California.
By and by Vishnu Temple, the grandest of the rocky structures, comes into sight, and a little further on one can see, at the base of Vishnu, and above the granite, the red tilted strata of the Algonkian.
The descent into Hance Canyon reveals a fine view of Ayer Peak, and as we look down we can see the peculiar shattering of the Tonto sandstones that Thomas Moran named the Temple of Set. It takes but a few minutes to ride or walk down to the temple, which is one of the distinctive features of the Hance Trail, down which most of the early visitors to the Canyon used to come.
Angel Gate. The ascent is now made on the eastern side of Hance Canyon, to the summit of the Tonto sandstones, and from this point a fine view of Angel Gate is to be had, its rich reds contrasting agreeably with the grays and olives of the Tonto series.
Mineral and Red Canyons. On the plateaus separating Hance Canyon from Mineral Canyon, and the latter from Red Canyon, one can see the rare Algonkian strata to fine advantage. Numerous faultings and flexurings may be observed, and on the last mile before reaching the foot of Red Canyon, the trail leads through a great boulder bed along the brink of the gorge immediately overhanging the river. Camp is made here at night.
The return ride up the Red Canyon Trail is made enjoyable by the brilliant colorings, the faultings and nonconformities of the strata, which are apparent even to the most undiscerning layman. Here the conglomerate appears above the blue limestone, while ordinarily it is found below it. The Algonkian also is largely in evidence. Across the river one may see the location of the asbestos deposits.
Moran Point. Grand View Point and the points east are all reached from the Grand View Hotel. The first of these is Moran Point, seven thousand one hundred and fifty-seven feet elevation, five miles east. The trip may be made in a vehicle, over a road from which the Canyon is not visible until the point is reached; or in the saddle, over a trail, the last two miles of which are along the rim. This is a unique trail, from the fact that it overlooks Hance Creek, and further along, gives commanding outlooks down Red Canyon.
Zuni Point. From Zuni Point, two miles further east, a still more extensive view is obtained. The trip to these two points may be made in half a day, but many prefer to give a full day.
Navaho Point and Desert View. Ten miles from Grand View is Navaho Point, over seven thousand feet elevation. The ride thither, after leaving Zuni Point, is through the Coconino Forest, without a trail. It is necessarily a saddle trip. The outlook is especially attractive, as it presents portions of the Painted Desert and the mouth of Marble Canyon.
Comanche Point, seven thousand and seventy-nine feet, and Cape Solitude, six thousand one hundred and fifty-seven feet, are respectively about seventeen and twenty miles east of Grand View, and may be visited in the saddle during a camping-out trip of two days. They both command views of the amphitheatre where the Colorado River makes an almost right angle curve from Marble Canyon into the Granite Gorge. The walls are precipitous to three thousand five hundred feet below, and the outlook afforded is about seventy miles in either direction, up and down the Canyon. In addition to the Canyon outlook, Cape Solitude, which might well be called Desert View, commands a fine expanse of the Painted Desert, extending a hundred miles in either direction, the colorings of which are especially dazzling at sunset. The Little Colorado River flows through this desert, one thousand five hundred feet below Cape Solitude, in a gorge of about two thousand five hundred feet in depth. From the narrow canyon of the Little Colorado, the desert rises to the east in three successive, gigantic steps of about one thousand feet each. This affords a panorama of glorious colorings at sunset, while the view in the opposite direction glows best in the early hours of dawn.
To those who wish to camp out, sleeping in the open for two or more nights, the trip may be extended to the Canyon of the Little Colorado. In this excursion, one gets a fine breath of the desert, a sight of the narrow and boxed-in Little Colorado Canyon, and extended desert views, passing by Cedar Mountain, one of the few spots where fragments of the almost vanished strata of the Permian age are still visible.
Tuba City and Moenkopi. Tuba City, sixty miles east of Grand View Hotel (a four days' saddle and camping-out trip), is situated in the Painted Desert, and is the headquarters of the Navaho Indians of this locality. Here also is located the United States Government Indian School, where the children of several tribes are being civilized. Two miles away is Moenkopi, a Hopi village, or pueblo, of some thirty homes, where this pastoral and home-loving people may be found engaged in their quiet agricultural pursuits, the women also busy at basket-making and the fashioning of pottery. At Tuba City there are many Navahos living in their hogans, where the rude silversmiths are at work creating their "arts and crafts" ware, and the looms of the blanket-weavers are incessantly busy.
Crater Mountain. Crater Mountain, thirty-nine miles south of Grand View Hotel, is an extinct volcano with one side eroded, leaving a sheer wall five hundred feet high in circular form, with a variety of pillars standing high above the bottom of the amphitheatre. Its red, yellow and black colors combine in a peculiar harmony, and novel effects are witnessed at sunset, or by moonlight. To enjoy this trip aright, one should drive there, and arrange to sleep in the amphitheatre, returning on the following day.
Extinct Volcanoes. Or, if a more extended trip is desired, one can drive on to the many cinder cones and extinct volcanoes that lie to the north and east of the San Francisco Mountains, including Sunset Crater and O'Leary Peak, and then into Flagstaff.
CHAPTER X. A New "Rim" Road And Trail Into The Scenic Heart Of The Canyon
Large corporate bodies do not always move with the same rapidity as do personal enterprises where one man controls. Many minds and many interests often have to be consulted. When, however, the way is clear, a corporate body, with its vast power, can accomplish in a short time what individuals could never compass in several successive lifetimes.
These remarks are exemplified in the action of the Santa Fe Railway Company at the Grand Canyon. It has taken several years for things to properly shape themselves for adequate development, so that all classes of travelers visiting the Grand Canyon could be suitably provided for. In hotel accommodations, El Tovar, and the equally well conducted but cheaper Bright Angel Camp, leave nothing to be desired. In transportation facilities, both on the railway and for drives, riding or the descent of the trails, provision is made to meet the most exacting demands.
Hermit Rim Road and Trail. These imperative necessities met, attention has been given to a further opening up of the scenic portions of the Canyon. In furtherance of this policy the Santa Fe Railway has built a new roadway from El Tovar and Hopi Point along the south rim of the Canyon to the head of Hermit Trail, nine miles west of El Tovar. It is called Hermit Rim Road.
This roadway is thirty feet in width, with a central driveway, fourteen feet wide, of crushed stone rolled hard and sprinkled with crude oil. It is so wide, so well macadamized, so level and so dustless that it may well be likened to a city boulevard in the wilderness.
The road ends at the head of Hermit Trail, a new pathway now being built down the south wall of the Canyon. Though this trail is being completed, it will not be opened for regular trail service until the summer of 1912. It leads down into the very heart of the Canyon and reveals innumerable scenic wonders and surprises.
Hermit Rim Road to Hermit Basin. Hermit Rim Road closely follows the rim from Hopi Point to the head of Hermit Basin and the top of Hermit Trail, —not too near the brink, but in and out among the trees, affording wonderful vistas of the Canyon and the cliffs of the opposite wall. Hermit Rim Road is perhaps the most unique highway in the world, for there is no other roadway on the brink of such a tremendous gorge. Startling views reveal depths of the Canyon on one side, and on the other are quiet scenes down long forest lanes. In places there is a sheer drop of 2,000 feet within a rod of the traveled track, and another drop almost as far below that, but there is no danger, so perfectly have the engineers of the road done their work.
Leaving El Tovar, the road quickly ascends El Tovar Hill, giving a view of the San Francisco Peaks and neighboring mountains standing high above the Tusayan Forest, and purple colored with the haze of seventy-five miles of distance. Then, down into Coconino Wash, up Tusayan Hill, past Maricopa Point, and Hopi Point, long noted for its unrivaled sunset view, is reached.
About a mile beyond Hopi Point is Mohave Point, standing in sheer and awful precipices above Monument Creek, and leaving that, a huge curve on top of Hopi Wall is traversed, and opposite this place the granite gorge is deepest.
Rounding Mohave Point on the next leg of the journey three and four-fifths miles to Pima Point, is the greatest curve on the road, and along this section there is much to claim the attention. First one and then another of the great interior rock temples seems to command the eye; the side canyons reaching far back into the Kaibab Plateau on the north, and that everywhere enter the main gorge, show depths of startling distance; the predominant colors—vermilion, blue, green, buff, and gray—are incomparable; and the wild river, roaring and tumbling, may be seen from different points, though from the roadway it seems but a mere ribbon of brown. At Pima Point the road curves to the southwest and continues for more than a mile on the rim of Hermit Basin, until the head of Hermit Trail is reached. Wide outlooks across the Cataract Canyon country and unusual views of the river are afforded on the final mile. The road ends where Hermit Trail, a new trail, like the road, wide and safe, begins.
Hermit Trail. The new trail is being built on the most approved engineering lines. It is four feet wide all the way, with a low protecting wall of rock on the outside, and is most carefully laid out. Cuts in the solid rock, likewise heavy stone walls built up as a support, are used wherever necessary for greater safety. It descends by easy grades and long zigzags for nearly five hundred feet to the top of the red limestone, where from wide shelves views may be obtained safely of the narrow cleft far down in which Hermit Creek flows. Further descent is made by easy steps to a level stratum, which is traversed by the trail on its way to the river; and the Canyon on either hand seems rapidly to open out, revealing wonders of scenic beauty. The northern extremity of the red sandstone under Pima Point is thus reached and on both sides of the river such a stupendous panorama is at once opened up that even superlatives cannot describe it. Under Yuma Point, on the left, an ornately sculptured butte, already seized by Moran, Leigh and other discerning artists as a piece de resistance, compels the eye.
On this point one may linger for hours, if time permits, and as the changing lights bring into prominence different mural features, or the moving clouds cast their revealing shadows on first one, then another, of the temples and towers, the reverent beholder feels that he is on holy ground. It is indeed superlative in color, in shadow, in form, in majesty, in variety and in general effect.
On the Plateau. The trail from this point descends to the plateau and continues to the river. A rest house is to be established providing ample accommodations both for eating and sleeping. This will be the first provision near the river for all travelers,—those who wish hotel luxuries and comforts as well as those who desire the experience of camp equipment.
All the way down, the strong scenic features of the Canyon remain in evidence, and the depths traversed by the trail but enhance their glory and beauty, as their outlines are projected against the perfect turquoise of the Arizona sky. Before returning to the rim one may wish to take advantage of the opportunity to spend some hours exploring for himself the foot of the greatwalls near by, or studying the geological formations.
Mountain Sheep. Perchance, also, one may see a band of mountain sheep, for now that they are so strictly preserved, a heavy penalty being exacted both by the state and federal governments for killing one, they are increasing in numbers. One of their usual haunts for years has been in the canyons and ravines north of Shiva Temple. It is not unreasonable to anticipate that they will often roam into view of visitors so near by on the other side of the river.
Hermit Trail Loop. On the return journey, provision is to be made for a choice of several routes, viz: up the Boucher Trail, which is on the other side of Hermit Basin; along the Tonto Trail just above the river, westward to Bass's and up the Bass Trail; or eastward to the Indian Garden, and up the Bright Angel Trail which route is known as the Hermit Trail Loop.
CHAPTER XI. From El Tovar To Bass Camp And Down The Bass Trail
Bass Station and Bright Angel Wash. Leaving El Tovar (elevation six thousand eight hundred and sixty-six feet), the road winds for over, five miles through the Coconino Forest, mainly following the railway track until Bass Station appears (elevation six thousand four hundred and seventeen feet). The road now enters a narrow defile known as the Bright Angel Wash, giving one a fine opportunity to learn the singular drainage system of the Canyon plateau, which, as has been explained elsewhere, is away from the Canyon for many miles. The Wash is picturesque and rugged, the side walls occasionally appearing as bare masses of rock, and again covered with fertile soil on which grow great pines, also ferns, mosses and flowers. The road is fairly easy, and the horses travel well. Six and a half miles away, the Coconino (Kohonino) Wash is passed on the left. A little further on, the Canyon widens somewhat, and a rude meadow, occasionally filled with rich and luscious natural grass, is crossed, after which the road makes a slight ascent to the plateau, and more open country is reached.
Over the Plateau. From this point, the ride is diversified. There are no steep hills, but the road aims directly for its objective point, taking the visitor through growths of pinion,—from which the Indians gather the delicious pine nuts,—juniper,—from the crushed berries of which they make a sweet and refreshing drink,—and over levels where rich grama grass grows side by side with the cactus, the amole and the yucca, brightened and vivified by the Indian paintbrush, sunflowers, lupines and scores of other gorgeously colored flowers.
Midway between Bass Station and Bass Camp, ten miles each way, the road passes a United States Geological Survey monument, which records the fact that here the plateau is six thousand three hundred and seventy-two feet above sea level.
The Surrounding Mountains. On the journey, glimpses are had of the San Francisco peaks, and Mounts Sitgreaves, Kendricks, and Floyd, while, in the far-away west and south, the blue ridges of the plateau, descending to the lower levels, are clearly discernible. To the north and west, Mounts Emma and Trumbull and other peaks of the Uinkarets appear like deep blue clouds on the horizon. They lie on the further side of the Canyon, and are seen more distinctly from Bass Camp.
Hotouta Amphitheatre. When fifteen miles from El Tovar, the first gaze into the Canyon is afforded at Hotouta Amphitheatre, a deep indentation in the walls of the south rim. The road here runs close to the rim. This amphitheatre receives its name from Hotouta, the son of Navaho, the last great Havasupai chief. Hotouta was an enlightened Indian, friendly to the better class of whites, clear-headed and honorable in his dealings with them.
The Cisterns. Thence to Bass Camp the drive is entirely through pinions and junipers. About a mile before the destination is reached, the road passes "The Cisterns," where the horses are watered.
Bass Camp. Bass Camp consists of one small central building, containing a dining-room, sitting-room, kitchen and several bedrooms. Around are tent-houses and tents for the further accommodation of guests, with stable and saddle-house, etc. Almost immediately in front of the main building the trail begins.
Powell Plateau and Dutton Point. Taking a seat at the head of the trail, let us now give our undivided attention to the scene spread out before us. The predominating feature is the great uplift of the opposite wall, and the aggressiveness of its salient promontory. Here is a break in the continuity of the wall of the Kaibab Plateau. This break affords an immediate view of the highest portions of the Canyon's walls. To the right of the break is the Kaibab Plateau, its highest portion being eight thousand three hundred feet above sea level. To the left is Powell Plateau, seven thousand six hundred and fifty feet elevation. The great point, nearest to us, was named Dutton Point, after the poet-geologist, whose monograph on the Canyon will ever be a memorial to his love of the place, his scientific accuracy of observation, and his poetic eloquence of description. It is between Kaibab and Powell Plateaus that Bass's Trail to Point Sublime climbs its circuitous and winding way,—this portion being called "The Saddle." The dark growths which crown the plateaus are in reality pine trees, which, on the north rim of the Canyon, attain immense size. They, and lesser tree growths, descend to the bottom of the second mass of talus.
The Rocks of the North Wall. The rock bands on the opposite walls, a large part of the way down, are like those found on the same north wall seen from El Tovar. First there is the band of cherty limestone, from which a sloped talus leads to the creamy sugary sandstone. Immediately below this begins the "red," which descends in strata of varying width and color down to a rather narrow-appearing slope of red talus, which leads the eye to the widest member of all the Grand Canyon strata. This is the so-called red-wall limestone. All these strata, from the rim down, are said to be in the Upper and Lower Carboniferous Systems.
Below this majestic wall appear the variegated strata of the Cambrian, in grays, buffs, olives, greens and yellows.
The Tilts. Now we see a large exposure of the nonconformable strata, which, on account of their very markedly tilted condition, have been named "The Tilts." Below this is found the Archaean rock.
It is hard for any but the well-trained observer to realize that practically the same conditions that exist on the north wall, exist on the south wall, directly under his feet, except that the Algonkian is absent. The talus shuts off the view, and it seems impossible that there can be such great precipice walls as the opposite mural face reveals. It is not as high, however, on this side as it is on the other, by fully one thousand six hundred and fifty feet. The difference is caused by the great upthrust in the earth's crust, which detached Powell's Plateau from the Kaibab Plateau.
One may approximately estimate the various strata of the wall of the Kaibab as follows:
Colorado River, say. . . 2400 feet above sea level Archaean . . . . . . . . 1000 " thick Algonkian . . . . . . . 1100 " " Cambrian . . . . . . . . 1000 " " Carboniferous . . . . . 2750 " " ————- Total level above sea. . 8250
Bass Tomb or Holy Grail Temple. The great north wall is not featureless. There are a number of architectural forms, of wonderfully varied shape, resting upon bases of massive solidity. The most striking of these is a squarebased monumental mass,—Holy Grail Temple, formerly Bass Tomb,—on which rests a well-shaped pyramid, crowned with a red and white circular shaft. The whole butte is well proportioned, having a base of sixteen square miles, and rising to a height of six thousand seven hundred and ten feet.
King Arthur Castle. Slightly to the east of it is another majestic butte, inferior only in size. The crowning shaft is missing here, but a castellated structure of red rock suitably dominates it. It bears the name King Arthur Castle, and is seven thousand three hundred and fifteen feet elevation.
Guinevere Castle. Still further to the east a winding ridge of rock, standing over one of the many oblique gorges within the main gorge, leads up to a third dominating figure of rock sculpture. This is Guinevere Castle, seven thousand two hundred and fifty-five feet.
Huethawali. Now let the eye rest upon the objects immediately before it, and more in the center of the Canyon. The chief object is an almost detached mountain, crowned with irregular cross-bedded layers of white sandstone. The Indians call this mountain Hue-tha-wa-li, (the final "i" being pronounced as "e,") which signifies White Rock Mountain. This is now the name they give to Bass Camp, and the Havasupais at El Tovar, who are starting for their Canyon home, will often remark: "We go Huethawali tonight." Its elevation is six thousand two hundred and eighty feet.
Darwin Plateau. The main plateau before us is named Darwin Plateau, after the learned evolutionist. Take this plateau as a rude and misshapen hand, imagine the thumb and little finger gone, and it will be seen that the other three fingers radiate from Darwin Plateau in the shape of three irregularly contoured, but fairly level plateaus, Huethawali resting like a great wart upon the base of the middle one of the three. To these plateaus have been given the following names: the one to the right is Grand Scenic Divide, the middle one is named Huxley Terrace, and the one to the left (the west) is Spencer Terrace.
For a few moments let us look at each of these plateaus, and grasp such features as the eyes may observe.
Grand Scenic Divide and Dick Pillar. Grand Scenic Divide was so named because it is the point where the granite of the Inner Gorge disappears from the Grand Canyon, and this disappearance makes as vast and wonderful a difference in the Canyon scenery as it is possible to find in its whole two hundred and seventeen miles of length. To the right of the Divide, looking eastward, where the granite is still in evidence, one can see the temples, buttes and towers that make the view from El Tovar and Grand View Points so interesting. Looking westward, the whole aspect changes, so markedly, indeed, that one scarcely can believe it to be the same Canyon. Hence the appropriateness of the name. At the extreme end of this plateau, a detached rocky pillar stands peering down into the deepest recesses of the Inner Gorge. This bears the name Dick Pillar, from Robert Dick, the baker-geologist of Thurso, Scotland, who gave such material assistance to Hugh Miller in his studies of the Old Red Sandstone.
Huxley Terrace. Huxley Terrace is the center plateau. At its end is an eroded mass of red sandstone, to which the name of the noted naturalist and evolutionist, Wallace, has been attached. Still nearer the end, and belonging to the marble wall, is a pagoda named Tyndall Dome.
Spencer Terrace. Spencer Terrace is the most western of the plateaus, and is where the Mystic Spring used to be, which for many years gave its name to Bass's Trail—the Mystic Spring Trail.
These three plateaus vary in width from a quarter of a mile to over a mile wide; they are dotted with what seem to be patches of grass, but which in reality are juniper and pinion trees from ten to forty feet in height.
Terraces of the Explorers. About a quarter of a mile to the west of Bass Camp is the amphitheatre in which my earlier book, "In and Around the Grand Canyon," and a large part of the present book were written. From this restful spot I have looked out thousands of times across the great bend of the river and Garnet Canyon to the five terraces named after the early-day Spanish explorers, Marcos, De Vaca, Tovar, Alarcon, and Garces.
Points of the Explorers. To the west stands out Chemehuevi Point, six thousand six hundred and twenty-six feet, while across the river, terminating Powell Plateau, are Wheeler Point, six thousand seven hundred and fifty feet, and just beyond it Ives Point, six thousand six hundred feet.
To the north of Ives Point, but hidden from view, are Beale Point, six thousand six hundred and ninety-five feet, Thompson Point, six thousand seven hundred and thirty feet, and Newberry Point, six thousand seven hundred and fifty feet, all named after early Arizona explorers and geologists.
Conquistadore Aisle and Steamboat Mountain. The dark chasm of the river itself, where it moves almost due west, has been named Conquistadore Aisle, in honor of the men whose names are attached to the terraces above. Here the river again curves, and its course is seen to be to the northeast, as if doubling behind Powell Plateau. It then turns back upon itself, and goes to the southwest. If the conditions are favorable, one may see, to the left of Ives Point, a majestic butte, detached from the further wall of the Canyon, and generally known as Steamboat Mountain. It is an object of great interest, when seen from the saddle on the north rim by those who have crossed the Canyon and are journeying to Point Sublime.
The Scenic Divide. Now let the observer compare the view to the left with that which he has carefully examined on the right. There, in the latter view, are towers and buttes, detached monuments, and a perfect bewilderment of scenic features; here, to the left, save for the aisles, terraces and further wall, there is little to attract attention. The view, comparatively, is uninteresting. The reason for this is clear. The granite of the Inner Gorge has disappeared. Here is the Scenic Divide, the natural line of demarcation between two distinctive portions of the Canyon, the scenery of which is markedly diverse. Where the granite is in evidence, the stratified rocks resting upon it are carved into varied forms: Where the river flows through the stratified rocks, and no granite appears, there are few or no buttes, no towers, no monuments. Nowhere else, in the accessible portions of the Canyon, is this difference seen, for at Grand View, the head of the old Hance Trail, the Red Canyon Trail, Boucher's and the Bright Angel Trails, the outlooks are over areas where the granite has thrust itself out of the bowels of the earth.
Bass's Cable Crossing. The ride down Bass's Trail is an interesting one, passing on the way two prehistoric water-pockets and several cliff-dwellings. On the plateau below, forty miles of trail riding, almost on the level, may be indulged in, before one descends the narrow Canyon to Bed Rock Camp and the river. Here a ferry and cable crossing have been established, the former for use during low water, while, after the flood season begins, the latter enables travelers and stock to make a safe passage in the cage suspended from the cable.
CHAPTER XII. Across The Grand Canyon To Point Sublime
Point Sublime. Point Sublime is one of the most important promontories on the north rim. It was here that the geologist-poet, Clarence Dutton, wrote many of his descriptions of Canyon scenery. He says: "The supreme views are to be obtained at the extremities of the long promontories, which jut out between the recesses far into the gulf. Sitting upon the edge we contemplate the most sublime and awe-inspiring spectacle in the world. The length of canyon revealed clearly and in detail at Point Sublime is about twenty-five miles in each direction. Towards the northwest the vista terminates behind the projecting mass of Powell's Plateau. But again to the westward may be seen the crests of the upper walls reaching through the Kanab and Uinkaret Plateaus, and finally disappearing in the haze above Seventy-five miles away.
"The space under immediate view from our standpoint, fifty miles long and ten to twelve wide, is thronged with a great multitude of objects so vast in size, so bold and majestic in form, so infinite in their details, that as the truth gradually reveals itself to the perceptions, it arouses the strongest emotions."
Several times I had started to Point Sublime, but there were difficulties about the trail. Sometime before 1900, Mr. Bass completed a trail on the north side of the river, up under the shoulders of Powell Plateau and out to the desired location.
Starting for Point Sublime. In August, 1901, a party was arranged, consisting of Mrs. J. B. Gayler, of Ridgewood, New Jersey, a learned doctor from St. Louis, Mr. Bass and myself. On Sunday, September 1st, after loading three pack animals with provisions and bedding needed for the trip, we set out down the trail, headed for Point Sublime. To the ferry nothing of particular interest occurred.
From this point on I shall use the diary of Mrs. Gayler as the basis of my descriptions, adding thereto or condensing when necessary. It is written in the present tense, which will be preserved throughout.
At the River. She says: "The sight of the river rouses me to a considerable pitch of enthusiasm. How dirty and muddy a river it is, and how it roars and rages. There is a great rapid a quarter of a mile above where we cross. While we are to cross in still water, the current is strong and bears one on to the worst rapid in the whole river. It is named Stanton Rapid, for at that point one of his boats was dashed to splinters. He numbered it No. 241.
"We part with our animals near a little shelter at the top of the Archaean rocks and scramble down a slippery trail.
Crossing the River. "With some trepidation I enter the boat; a few articles are thrown in, Dad takes the oars, some one pushes us off and we are fairly on the stream. The boat soon strikes the sandy landing on the other side, a considerable distance below, and Dad hands me out with care and courtesy. I occupy myself looking at the structure of the rocks. There are many curious faults and flexures. The river very strange; walls black, gloomy and precipitous. The landing on the south side was solid rock, here a bit of sandy beach between bars of rock. The Doctor is already here. He makes a fire of driftwood near the wall of black rock under which is the stretch of sand. I pick out my sleeping place and begin the making of my bed.
"James, Bass and Dad go back and forth across the river many times to bring our stuff, and daylight is entirely gone long before the job is completed.
Supper on the Sand. "I try to help in carrying things up the bank but am too tired to be of much use. Gather wood for fire. The men had prepared supper by firelight, which we take crouching, sitting or lying down on the sand. The air is mild and soft.
Moonlight. "Monday, Sept. 2, 1901. 3 A.M. Writing by moonlight. The roar of the rapids is constant. One hears it even in sleep. There are occasionally little swirling, flapping noises. What a wonderful place for me—a quiet, New Jersey woman—to be sleeping in.
To the Shinumo. "When Mr. Bass awakes he shows me a large pool of river water in the rocks. It has settled and is clear and cold. After breakfast, the doctor and I scramble up the rocky trail to the plateau above, mount two of the burros and start for the Shinumo Camp. It is 6:30 when we start—quite early I should call it—and we reach camp at 8.00 A. M. A stiff climb nearly all the way.
"What a clear mountain torrent the Shinumo is. It is like our Eastern creeks. Its rocky sides are lined with willows or other green trees and it comes splashing and dashing down as pure and sweet as can be.
Shinumo Camp and Garden. "The camp is a novelty to me. Part tent, part wood, part rock,—part indoors, part outdoors. The fireplace is of stone and out of doors, and the table is a great slab of red sandstone resting on two heavy rock supports. It would hold a ton. There are two good beds. Across the stream a little way down is the Shinumo garden. It seems incredible that there can be a garden here with excellent melons, cantaloupes, radishes, onions, corn, squash, beans, and with fair-sized peach and other trees. They tell me it is a prehistoric garden and that it was discovered by following the ruins of ancient irrigating ditches down to the spot. In the wall beyond are several small cliff-dwellings and storage houses for corn and other vegetables. There are tremendous tilts and flexures in the rock walls on each side.
"Mr. Bass and Dad go off to hunt for the horses and mules we are to use on the trip. The burros will not travel fast enough, though they are going to put me on a large burro they name Belshazzar.
"After lunch each spends the afternoon as he chooses. Mr. James invites me to come and visit a snuggery that he has established, where I find him writing. He reads what he has written, also part of Browning's 'Rabbi Ben Ezra.'
"Tuesday, Sept. 3, 1901. At and preparing to leave Shinumo. The magnitude of the undertaking appalls me. It is so much more tremendous than I anticipated.
The Start. "The saddling and packing of the animals occupies much time. We start about nine o'clock with nine animals, six burros, two horses and one mule. My Belshazzar is slow but very sure. Mr. James rides the mule, a red creature, very nervous and excitable and which they tell me is not well broken and does not like to be ridden.
Ascending the Trail. "We go up a long trail over a ridge, with loose soil, quite barren. The ascent is not very steep but the hillside across which the trail passes slopes down to canyons and precipices which suggest unfathomable depths. At one place the trail, for about fifty feet, is over ashes or some exceedingly loose material that allows the animals to slide very quickly down towards the deep precipice on the right and the sight is most trying to my nerves, but Belshazzar's deliberate walk and sure-footedness soon restore my usual equanimity.
"From this we pass into a canyon or series of canyons where one can plainly see that in the remote past a torrent has poured down, tearing away the soil and tossing huge boulders about. Many naked rocky ledges show, and my burro is occasionally required to carry me up stone steps.
Muav Canyon. "Presently we enter a narrow canyon through which flows a clear, cool stream. Walls of red rock on both sides with, much gray stone. Many large sycamores, cottonwoods and alders, grass and flowers, with maidenhair ferns on the rocks. We stop for lunch under a big cottonwood tree. About four thousand five hundred feet elevation. We leave this lovely spot and go up the canyon which makes a sharp turn to the left. This is Muav Canyon.
Climbing Higher. "After a little distance we emerge from this canyon and leave the stream. Then begins a tremendous climb which I accomplish by clinging to the coat tails of the guide with one hand and sometimes with both hands, he holding tight to the burro's tail ahead of him. Belshazzar accepts this—to me—novel situation with accustomed cheerfulness and does his best to haul us up the mountain, stopping occasionally to recover his breath. Finishing this part of the ascent, we come to a fertile plateau with trees in great number and variety. At an angle of the canyon below, nearly opposite the steep trail up which we have just climbed, is the eroded terminus of a great promontory, carved into a high and slender pedestal upon which stands a rude figure not unlike one of the wooden statues seen in the old Franciscan missions of California. Below this the rock strata are curved and twisted into all kinds of shapes. In one place there is a fold where the strata seem to have been curved and forced almost into a circle.
"On this plateau we still see the canyon with its perpendicular gray stone walls. It falls below our trail and we ride along the brink of it and down in the bottom see the black entrance to a cave. Then we come to the dry bed of a stream which we follow until we come to water. The quantity is small but it is sweet and pure. We camp here; elevation six thousand one hundred feet.
"The canyon walls are steep and the bottom narrow. We are in a heap together,—rolls of bedding, camp-fire, burros, horses, mules, men, kyacks containing food, saddles and packs, myself, etc., all in a very small space.
The Charm of the North Side. "The north side of the canyon is much more beautiful and diversified than the other, and no one can really know the canyon who does not cross and climb to the summit on this side. There is a greater variety of fine views, a good proportion of fertile country and a far better opportunity for studying the geological formation.
"Wednesday, Sept. 4, 1901. We have had a very cold night and though my bed was most comfortable I awake feeling rather miserable. My courage almost fails and I talk of giving up, but after awhile feel better and decide to go on.
"A discussion goes on as to the time we shall spend on the trip and the determination is finally reached that, if possible, we shall return to this spot from Point Sublime in four days.
"The little stream, which failed in the night, now runs freely, the result of condensation of moisture in the atmosphere above. We start again and ascend a steep, loose trail in the manner of yesterday. The trail is very pleasant here, springs of excellent water coming out from under the cross-bedded sandstone and trees of considerable size shadowing the way.
The Saddle. "At the Saddle there is a long pause for repacking the burros. I am started up the next and last steep climb on my burro. After a little the trail becomes very steep and dangerous looking and I am ordered to dismount and finish the climb on my feet with the aid of Belshazzar's tail. He is in a hurry and sometimes very unceremonious with me.
On the Kaibab. "We are now on the top of the north side,—really on the summit of the Kaibab Plateau. Dutton Point, the great salient promontory of Powell Plateau, seen so clearly from Bass Camp on the south rim, is close before me, and views and vistas in every direction are glorious and sublime. We ride on to Swamp Point. The views are magnificent, but who shall attempt to describe them? We soon enter a pine forest. Tall pine trees and Douglas spruces are the principal trees, with many beautiful groups of white aspen. Rich grass and wild oats and great quantities of beautiful flowers. We see many deer. We stop for lunch and some photographing is done.
Kanab Unats. "After lunch we start for Kanab Unats and pass through many grassy valleys leading into one another with many windings. We have some difficulty in keeping the right trail. Mr. Bass has an excellent general knowledge of the right direction but he has had to wander to and fro in his desire to find water and dare not leave us, so we have to accompany him in his searches. The result is we cannot reach Kanab Unats to-night. We go up one very picturesque part of the trail where a deep gulch lies on the right filled with old pine trees and many fallen ones, a true specimen of the primeval forest. We see a small band of cattle grazing. After luncheon I attempt to walk alone in the forest and immediately lose my sense of direction. After some yelling on my part the men come to my rescue. We start on again, the doctor putting the saddle on Belshazzar for me. When I dismount, the result of unskilled effort appears, for, as soon as I throw my weight over to the left, the saddle turns and I am dumped upon the ground. We camp at an altitude of eight thousand feet; short of water.
Short of Water. "Thursday, Sept. 5, 1901. Near Kanab Unats. 6 A. M. Very cold. Breakfast is prepared. I am allowed two tablespoonfuls of water for toilet purposes. I help a little with the cooking. We are to a thick wood. It is a fine, clear, sunny day, but a chilling wind is blowing.
Off for Water. "We make a late start, and go on to Kanab Unats where we expect to find water. We arrive there about ten. Soon afterwards three cattlemen come by. A conference with them is held. They talk doubtfully about water, but tell where they think it may be found. They are much surprised to hear that I have crossed the Canyon. With their consent I kodak them. After they depart Mr. Bass and Mr. James start off for water, Mr. Bass with one horse and all the canteens to a spring he knows of where fine water is to be had, and Mr. James with all the animals to a place where water fit for stock may be found. They both return in about two hours, pack the animals, and we start again about 3:20 P.M. for Point Sublime. We go through several grassy, well-wooded ravines, very nearly on a level, through much fallen timber and thickets. Then we cross several of them. I scramble down off Belshazzar and down a very steep hill. Mount again and go on by myself, zigzagging up a steep hill. This is mostly through an oak thicket without a trail. Over another ravine and I am sure now we are near the end of our journey. Up another slight ascent and we come in sight of the Canyon. We have left the tall trees and the thick grass, and now have only mesquites, cedars, yucca and cactus. But we have a good trail.
On Point Sublime. "At last we are on the Point itself. So ardently desired, and with only an hour of daylight left, we begin to study the wonderful panorama. I am photographed rounding up the burros. I am given a sheltered place under a juniper tree for my bed, and make an arrangement with my canvas to keep off the wind. A very comfortable bed. This Point runs out far into the chasm, is narrow for a considerable distance, sides very precipitous and the edges describing a very irregular line. Very near the extreme end is a clump of cedars, with trunks and lower branches so densely matted together as to form a good shelter on two sides from the wind (which blows furiously). It is in this shelter that I place my bed, making with my canvas a protection against the wind on the third side so that my sleeping place is as cozy and warm as can be.
"Friday, Sept. 6, 1901. At Point Sublime. I sleep well and wake refreshed. Many photographs are taken. The men go to explore another point not far off and I stay in camp. I rest as well as I can in the face of such a stupendous spectacle. Dutton's descriptions are wonderfully vivid and accurate—yet words, do not convey ideas to those whose imagination is not large enough to realize the full meaning of the words.
On the Return. "We start on the return at eleven o'clock having spent about seventeen hours on the Point. At first we follow the trail by which we came. Then our leader disregards the trail and makes our course in a more direct line. We go over ridges, some of them terribly steep. We go through several lovely valleys with the ridges that overlook the canyon on our left. The air is still and cool down where we are, but we can see the tops of the trees that show above the ridges tossed about in a violent wind and can hear its roaring through the forest. We camp about three-quarters of a mile from a spring, and by orders I sleep under a tree in company with many beetles. It is very cold. Camp-fire is comforting.
Into the Canyon Again. "Saturday, Sept. 7, 1901. We leave camp at 8:20. I put out fire while men are packing. Find track of small five-toed animal on the trail. We go by cattle-trails a short cut to Swamp Point through the forest, over ridges, through thickets and some of the grassy valleys. Out on Swamp Point again I am shown Bass Camp on the south rim. It is scarcely discernible even with glasses, the distance is so vast. We all walk down the steep descent from this Point and make quick time to the place where we camped Sept. 3. We descend one thousand nine hundred feet in one hour and twenty minutes. After lunch, the men then cache much of the remaining provisions and cooking outfit for future use, and we go on riding as fast as possible down the dry bed of the stream. Then out of this, through a narrow canyon, past the gray-rock walls and gulch with black cave at bottom and slide in the talus above, over the fertile plateau, long descent on foot, where as I zigzag I see the men and the burros what seem to be hundreds of feet below.
"On down another dry stream bed, many stony descents in a shut-in canyon. Out of this into more open country, but over ridges, up and down. We come down to that part of the trail which I feared most in daylight and now we have only the starlight to enable us to descend. Mr. Bass takes me in charge and Mr. James goes up over the ridges to round up the burros which have been left to their own devices. A torch of sage-brush is lighted to find the trail. At last we reach the bottom. The men throw some blankets on the ground for me and I fall upon them. They go down to the Shinumo, which is only a few yards away, prepare supper and bring a cup of hot coffee for me. I return with them, make my bed, eat a hearty supper and then fall asleep with the roar of the Shinumo in my ears. My bed is comfortable and I have a feeling of perfect safety and confidence.
Watermelons in the Canyon. "Sunday, Sept. 8, 1901. We are on the Shinumo, and only half an hour's ride above the camp. What a beautiful stream it is; cataracts, still reaches, rapids, sandy shoals, deep pools, and the water so pure, blue and clear. We cross and re-cross many times, through thickets of willow and mesquite. I am many times scratched and my hat is forcibly snatched from my head. At camp I feed watermelon rinds to Belshazzar who receives them as gratefully as I did the melons. How strange to find them growing here,—so ripe, rich and delicious. I feel very weary but deeply regret having to leave this lovely place. We start for the river. When the others arrive the packs, etc., are taken across in three loads. The four of us go over in the last load. Scramble up the Archaean by myself and sit in the shade, near the shelter tent, until I am put on the burro Joe and started off with the doctor.
Back at Bass Camp. "Dad had brought the burros here to receive us, all the animals we had ridden to Point Sublime having been left on the north side. At Bed Rock Camp we all have lunch; and then at 4:00, the others with the burros having gone on ahead, we follow. I remain on my burro all the way up, save at three places, where Mr. James deems it best for me to dismount. At last, we make the final ascent, I see the tent above my head, then the roof of the house at Bass Camp, and in another moment or two the most memorable and wonderful trip of my life is over."
CHAPTER XIII. How The Canyon Was Formed*
* This chapter, while in manuscript, was read by Dr. Charles D. Walcott, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and formerly Director of the United States Geological Survey, and also by Professor Matthis, of the Survey. It may therefore be accepted as a fairly accurate and authoritative presentation of the geological conditions existent at the Canyon, with their explanations, as accepted by the leading scientists of to-day.
The beginning of land. In the long ago centuries, when the world was "without form and void," waters covered the face of the earth, and darkness brooded over the waters. As the earth's crust began to shrink under the water, in the process of cooling, the first masses to crumple up, to wrinkle, were the first to arise above the surface of the vast, primeval, shoreless ocean. They appeared as tiny islands, pinnacles, or ridges thrust up, exactly as we see them sometimes on the coast,—hidden at high tide; appearing again at low tide.
The Laurentian Hills. Nature had plenty of time before her, so she did not hurry her work, and it took long centuries before there was any large amount of land thrust up out of the bosom of the sea. The scientists are able to tell us, with some definiteness, which came forth first. They say that on the continent of America the earliest born land was a mass of granitic rock in Canada,—the Laurentian Hills. The next to peer above the surface and feel the warmth of the sun were peaks and ridges that made islands of themselves, in what are now known as the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians. Now, at last, the great waves of the sea and the resistless storms had something to play with, and they pounced down upon the land as with tooth and claw. They rubbed and pounded, raged and smashed for a thousand years, and then another thousand, and still another, while Mother Earth uneasily thrust forth her rocky children out of the ocean into the light of day. Surprised at such treatment by the storms and seas, the newly born earth masses began to crumble and "weather." The detached fragments slipped back, or were washed back, into the deeper or shallower parts of the ocean, and were there tossed back and forth, pounded and ground into sand and silt, into pebbles and boulders, while more land was slowly being thrust out for the angry sea to work upon. Layer by layer, the ground-up masses were deposited in the inner ocean bed, parts of which were now practically shut off from the vast ocean beyond. How many centuries of centuries this process continued geologists do not tell us. Time is so vast, so long, that they cannot divide those early days into weeks, months and years, as we now do.
The Continent is born. After many millions of tons had been thus ground up and tossed about and mingled with the waters of the seas, the earth, in a fit of fiery anger, turned and baked them, with intense heat, out of all semblance to their former appearance. These baked masses, in the course of time, were thrust up out of the seas, mashed and macerated once more, again deposited as sand, silt, pebbles and boulders, and again burned. These processes followed each other, how many times we do not know, the earth all the while keeping up her steady uplift of the children of her bosom out of the great sea. Higher and higher came the land. Further and further receded the sea, until, in due course, the sun shone upon a vast area of land that was the rude skeleton of what is now the continent of North America.
It would have taken a keen eye, however, to have imagined from that which we see to-day what was there. The Gulf of California reached far up, even into Nevada, and covered what are now the Mohave and Colorado Deserts; there was no California Coast Range; the Gulf of Mexico was vastly larger than it is to-day, covering all Florida, and reaching up the Mississippi Valley half-way to the Great Lakes.
The First Strata. It was just preceding the last uplift of this epoch that the era of deposition of rock debris was so prolonged that twelve thousand feet of strata were washed into the bed of the sea, in the region now known as the Grand Canyon Country. It was at the time when life was beginning to dawn, for in the remnants of the strata are found fossils of the earliest known life. These strata, therefore, are of immense interest to the geologist, as they are the first known rocks containing life to emerge from the primeval sea. Within the last few years, they have been called the Algonkian Series, and later I shall speak of them more freely.
Prior to the deposition of these Algonkian strata, the Laurentian rocks (the granite) upon which they rest were subject to a long period of "planation,"—as the grinding down and leveling of rock surfaces is termed. After this planation was complete, a subsidence occurred; the whole area became the bed of an inland sea, and upon the planed-down granite, the debris that formed the Algonkian strata was washed.
While they were being deposited, the whole region was the scene of several seismic and volcanic disturbances, for great dykes and "chimneys" of lava are found, showing clearly that, by some means or other, the strata were broken and shattered, cracked and seamed, and that through these cracks the molten lava oozed—forced up from the interior of the earth. It spread out over the Algonkian rocks in small sheets or blankets, which here and there are still to be found to-day.
Tilting of the Algonkian Strata. Slowly this twelve thousand feet of strata emerged into the sunlight. In the uplifting processes, the surface of the earth, where they were, became tilted, and these strata therefore "dipped" or "tilted" away from the perpendicular. As they emerged, weathering and erosion began. It is most probable that this process of degradation began and continued while the topmost strata were at or near sea level, so that it was a simultaneous process with the uplift.
Erosion of the Algonkian. How many centuries this weathering and washing away process consumed no one knows. At the close of this epoch, however, the Algonkian strata had been eroded almost away, owing to its tilted condition, so that in some places even the surface of the Archaean was exposed, and suffered the planing-down process. Figure 1 on plate facing page 98 is a suggestion as to the possible appearance of the rocks at this time.
Even then, in those far-away, early ages of history, if one had been present to measure these strata, he would have discovered the astounding fact that, although he had measured them and found twelve thousand feet before they began to emerge from the ocean, there were but about five hundred feet of them left. This is one of the interesting facts in geology,—that an observant reader can deduce so much from so little.
The twelve thousand feet deposit. "But," asks the layman, "I cannot possibly see how, if only five hundred feet of strata are left, any one could ever tell that there were once twelve thousand feet. If eleven thousand five hundred feet are gone, how do you know they ever existed?"
A very reasonable question and one very easily answered. Refer to the sketch. Let the bracket on the right show the present width of the remaining strata, viz: five hundred feet. Now observe the tilted condition of the remnants. To get the original height of the depositions begin with No. 1, the stratum nearest the Archaean and measure that. Suppose it gives us five hundred feet. No. 2 gives two hundred feet; No. 3, five hundred feet; No. 4, one hundred and seventy-five; and so on up to No. 14. As these strata were deposited horizontally, all we have to do is to mentally replace them in their horizontal position. Throw the tilted strata back again into their original condition, and by this method of measurement it is seen that the twelve thousand feet can be made up. Figure 2, facing page 98.