The Grand Canyon of Arizona: How to See It



Download 0.62 Mb.
Page1/16
Date19.05.2016
Size0.62 Mb.
  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   ...   16
The Grand Canyon of Arizona: How to See It

The Grand Canyon Of Arizona: How To See It

By

George Wharton James



Author of "In and Out of the Old Missions," "The Wonders of the Colorado Desert," "Through Ramona's Country," etc.

Revised Edition

Boston: Little, Brown, and Company

Kansas City: Fred Harvey

1912

PREFACE TO REVISED EDITION



Because of the completion of a new driveway along the Rim of the Grand Canyon, and of a new trail to the Colorado River, a second edition of this book is deemed necessary.

These improvements, which have recently been made by the Santa Fe Railway, are known as Hermit Rim Road and Hermit Trail. The first, said to be the most unique road in the world, is nine miles long on the brink of the Canyon, and the other, a wide and safe pathway down the south wall.

The contents of the volume has been revised, and descriptions of Hermit Rim Road and Hermit Trail have been added. There are also new portions describing the drives and trips that may be taken through the forest on the Rim and in the Canyon itself, each carefully planned so that the traveler may devote to sightseeing whatever amount of time he desires.

With these additions and alterations, the original plan to provide a convenient handbook for all travelers to the Grand Canyon is more complete.

FOREWORD

Upwards of ten years ago I sat on the south rim of the Grand Canyon and wrote "In and Around the Grand Canyon." In that book I included much that more than a decade of wandering up and down the trails of this great abyss had taught me. At that time the only accommodations for sightseers were stage lines or private conveyance from Flagstaff and Ash Fork, and, on arrival at the Canyon, the crude hotel-camps at Hance's, Grand View, Bright Angel, and Bass's. The railway north from Williams was being built. Everything was crude and primitive.

Now the railway is completed and has become an integral part of the great Santa Fe System, with at least two trains a day each way carrying Pullman sleepers, chair cars and coaches. At Bright Angel, where the railway deposits its passengers at the rim of the Canyon, stands El Tovar Hotel, erected by the railway company at a cost of over a quarter of a million dollars, which is equipped and conducted by Fred Harvey. Yet El Tovar is more like a country club than a hotel, in many respects, and, to that extent, is better.

Hence while nothing in the canyon itself has changed, and while my book, "In and Around the Grand Canyon," is still as helpful to the traveler and general reader as ever, there has been a growing demand for a new book which should give the information needed by the traveler who comes under the new conditions, telling him how he may best avail himself of them. This book is written to meet this demand. It therefore partakes more of the character of a guide book than the former volume, so it has been decided to make it lighter in weight and handier in form, so that it can be slipped into the pocket or handbag, and thus used on the spot by those who wish a ready reference handbook.

Used in connection with the earlier volume or alone for it is complete in itself in all its details--it cannot fail to give a clearer and fuller comprehension of this "Waterway of the Gods,"--the most incomparable piece of rugged scenery in the known world.

George Wharton James El Tovar, Grand Canyon, September, 1909.

CONTENTS

FOREWORD


I. THE GRAND CANYON OF ARIZONA

II. ON THE GRAND CANYON RAILWAY TO EL TOVAR

III. EL TOVAR AND ITS EQUIPMENTS

IV. THE GRAND CANYON AT EL TOVAR

V. THREE WAYS OF SPENDING ONE DAY AT THE CANYON

VI. HOW TO SPEND TWO TO FIVE DAYS AT EL TOVAR

VII. HOW FULLY TO SEE AND KNOW THE GRAND CANYON REGION

VIII. FROM EL TOVAR DOWN THE BRIGHT ANGEL TRAIL

IX. TO GRAND VIEW AND DOWN THE GRAND VIEW TRAIL

X. A NEW "RIM" ROAD AND TRAIL INTO THE SCENIC HEART OF THE CANYON

XI. FROM EL TOVAR TO BASS CAMP AND DOWN THE BASS TRAIL

XII. ACROSS THE GRAND CANYON TO POINT SUBLIME

XIII. HOW THE CANYON WAS FORMED

XIV. THE CANYON--ABOVE AND BELOW

XV. THE HOPI HOUSE

XVI. VISITING INDIANS AT EL TOVAR

XVII. THE NAVAHO AND HOPI BLANKET WEAVERS

XVIII. PUEBLO AND NAVAHO POTTERY AND SILVERWARE

XIX. THE HOPIS AND THEIR SNARE DANCE

XX. AN HISTORIC TRAIL ACROSS THE GRAND CANYON COUNTRY

XXI. THE NAVAHO AND HIS DESERT HOME

XXII. FROM EL TOVAR TO THE HAVASUPAI INDIANS AND THEIR WONDERFUL CATARACT CANYON HOMES

XXIII. THE FIRST DISCOVERERS AND INHABITANTS OF THE GRAND CANYON

XXIV. EL TOVAR AND CARDENAS AND THE MODERN DISCOVERY OF THE GRAND CANYON

XXV. FRAY MARCOS AND GARCES, AND THEIR CONNECTION WITH THE GRAND CANYON

XXVI. POWELL'S AND OTHER EXPLORATIONS OF THE GRAND CANYON

XXVII. INDIAN LEGENDS ABOUT THE GRAND CANYON

XXVIII. THE COLORADO RIVER FROM THE MOUNTAINS TO THE SEA

XXIX. CLIMATE AND WEATHER AT THE GRAND CANYON

XXX. THE GRAND CANYON FOR PLEASURE, REST AND RECUPERATION

XXXI. THE STORY OF A BOAT

XXXII. THE GRAND CANYON A FOREST RESERVE, GAME PRESERVE AND NATIONAL MONUMENT



CHAPTER I.

The Grand Canyon Of Arizona

Only One Grand Canyon. The ancient world had its seven wonders, but they were all the work of man. The modern world of the United States has easily its seven wonders--Niagara, the Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Natural Bridge, the Mammoth Cave, the Petrified Forest and the Grand Canyon of Arizona--but they are all the work of God. It is hard, in studying the seven wonders of the ancients, to decide which is the most wonderful, but now that the Canyon is known all men unite in affirming that the greatest of all wonders, ancient or modern, is the Grand Canyon of Arizona. Some men say there are several Grand Canyons, but to the one who knows there is but one Grand Canyon. The use of the word to name any lesser gorge is a sacrilege as well as a misnomer.

Not in the spirit of carping criticism or of reckless boasting are these words uttered. It is the dictum of sober truth. It is wrong to even unintentionally mislead a whole people by the misuse of names. Until made fully aware of the facts, the traveling world are liable to error. They want to see the Grand Canyon. They are shown these inferior gorges, each called the Grand Canyon, and, because they do not know, they accept the half-truth. The other canyons they see are great enough in themselves to claim their closest study, and worthy to have distinctive names bestowed upon them. But, as Clarence Dutton, the eminent geologist, has well said in his important scientific monograph written for the United States Geological Survey: "The name Grand Canyon repeatedly has been infringed for purposes of advertisement. The Canyon of the Yellowstone has been called 'The Grand Canyon.' A more flagrant piracy is the naming of the gorge of the Arkansas River 'The Grand Canyon of Colorado,' and many persons who have visited it have been persuaded that they have seen the great chasm. These river valleys are certainly very pleasing and picturesque, but there is no more comparison between them and the mighty chasm of the Colorado River than there is between the Alleghanies and the Himalayas.

Sublimity of the Grand Canyon. "Those who have long and carefully studied the Grand Canyon of the Colorado do not hesitate for a moment to pronounce it by far the most sublime of all earthly spectacles. If its sublimity consisted only in its dimensions, it could be set forth in a single sentence. It is more than two hundred miles long, from five to twelve miles wide, and from five thousand to six thousand feet deep. There are in the world valleys which are longer and a few which are deeper. There are valleys flanked by summits loftier than the palisades of the Kaibab. Still the Grand Canyon is the sublimest thing on earth. It is so not alone by virtue of its magnitudes, but by virtue of the whole its tout ensemble."

What, then, is this Grand Canyon, for which its friends dare to make so large and bold a claim?

It is a portion--a very small portion--of the waterway of the Colorado River, and it is so named to differentiate it from the other canyons of the same river. The canyon system of the Colorado River is as vast in its extent as is the Grand Canyon in its quality of sublimity. For it consists of such a maze of canyons--the main canyons through which the river itself runs; the canyons through which its tributaries run; the numberless canyons tributary to the tributary canyons; the canyons within canyons, that, upon the word of no less an authority than Major Powell, I assert that if these canyons were placed end for end in a straight line they would reach over twenty thousand miles! Is it possible for the human mind to conceive a canyon system so vast that, if it were so placed, it would nearly belt the habitable globe?

Impression on Beholders. And the principal member of this great system has been named The Grand Canyon, as a conscious and meaningful tribute to its vastness, its sublimity, its grandeur and its awesomeness. It is unique; it stands alone. Though only two hundred and seventeen miles long, it expresses within that distance more than any one human mind yet has been able to comprehend or interpret to the world. Famous word-masters have attempted it, great canvas and colormasters have tried it, but all alike have failed. It is one of the few things that man is utterly unable to imagine until he comes in actual contact with it. A strange being, a strange flower, an unknown reptile, a unique machine, or a strange and unknown anything, almost, within the ken of man, can be explained to another so that he will reasonably comprehend it; but not so with the Grand Canyon. I had an illustration of this but a few days ago. A member of my own household, keenly intelligent and well-read, who had heard my own descriptions a thousand and one times, and had seen photographs and paintings, without number, of the Canyon, came with me on her first visit to the camp where I am now writing. As the carriage approached the rim at Hotouta Amphitheatre and gave her the first glimpse of the Canyon, she drew back terrified, appalled, horror-stricken. Subsequent analysis of her emotions and the results of that first glimpse revealed a state of mind so overpowered with the sublimity, vastness, depth and power of the scene, that her impressions were totally inadequate, altogether lacking in detail and accuracy, and at complete variance with her habitual observations.



Whence came so utter a confusion of the senses? The Canyon is its own answer. It fills the soul of all responsive persons with awe. Explain it as one will, deny it if one will, sensitive souls are filled with awe at its superb majesty, its splendor, its incomprehensible sublimity. And in these factors we find the great source of its attractiveness, for, in spite of the awe and terror it inspires in the hearts of so many at first sight, it allures, attracts and holds those who have once gazed into its mysterious depths. Indeed, is it not to its very vastness, mystery, solitude and awe-inspiring qualities we owe its power over us? The human mind is so constituted that such qualities generally appeal to it. Hence the never-ceasing call the Canyon will make to the soul of man, so long as a susceptible mortal remains on earth.

Its Physical Features. Seen at any time it is bewildering and appalling to one's untrained senses; but especially in the very early morning, during the hours of dawn and the slow ascent of the sun, and equally in the very late afternoon and at sunset, are its most entrancing effects to be witnessed. At midday, with the sun glaring through into its depths, the reds and chocolates of the sandstones (which are the predominating colors) are so strong, and the relieving shadows so few, that it seems uninteresting. But let one watch it as I did last night, between the hours of seven and ten, and again this morning from five until eight of the clock. What revelations of forms, what richness of colors; what transformations of apparently featureless walls into angles and arches and recesses and facets and entablatures and friezes and facades. What lighting up of towers and temples and buttes and minarets and pinnacles and ridges and peaks and pillars of erosion! What exposures of detached and isolated mountains of rock, of accompanying gorges and ravines, deep, forbidding, black and unknown, the depths of which the foot of man has never trod! Turner never depicted such dazzling scenes, Rembrandt such violent and yet attractive contrasts. Here everything is massive and dominating. The colors are vivid; the shadows are purple to blackness; the heights are towering; the depths are appalling; the sheer walls are as if poised in mid-air; the towers and temples dwarf into insignificance even the monster works of man on the Nile. Here are single mountains of erosion standing as simple features of the vast sight spread out for miles before you, that are as high as the highest mountains of the Eastern States. A score of Mt. Washingtons find repose in the depths of this incomprehensible waterway, in the two hundred and seventeen miles of its length. In width it varies from ten to twenty miles, and at the point where I now sit writing, where the Canyon makes a double bow-knot in a marvelous bend, the north wall (which, in the sharp bend of the river, becomes the south wall of the reverse of the curve) is completely broken down, so that one has a clear and direct view across two widths of canyon and river to a distance of from thirty-five to forty miles. Who can really "take in" such a view? I have gazed upon the Canyon at this spot almost yearly, and often daily for weeks at a time, for about twenty years, yet such is the marvelousness of distance, that never until two days ago did I discover that a giant detached mountain, fully eight thousand feet high, and with a base ten miles square, which I had photographed from another angle on the north side of the Canyon, stood in the direct line of my sight and, as it were, immediately before me. The discovery was made by a peculiar falling of light and shadow. The heavens were filled with clouds which threw complete shadows on the far north wall. The sun happened to shine through the clouds and light up the whole contour of this Steamboat Mountain (so called because of its shape), so that it stood forth clearly outlined against the dark field behind. In surprise I called to my companion and showed her my discovery. Yet, such is the deceptiveness of distance that, to the unaided eye, and without being aware of the fact, even my observant faculties had never before perceived that this gigantic mass was not a portion of the great north wall, from which it is detached by a canyon fully eight miles wide.

No one can know the Grand Canyon, in all its phases. It is one of those sights that words cannot exaggerate. What does it matter how deep you say--in hundreds or thousands of feet--the Canyon is, when you cannot see to the bottom of it? Strict literalists may stick out for the exact figures in feet and inches from rim to river--elsewhere given as the scientists of the United States Geological Survey have recorded them--but to me they are almost valueless. Its depth is beyond human comprehension in figures, and so is its width. And the eye of the best trained man in the world cannot grasp all its features of wall and butte and canyon, of winding ridge and curving ravine, of fell precipice and rocky gorge, in a week, a month, a year, or a lifetime. Hence words can but suggest; nothing can describe the indescribable; nothing can picture what no man ever has seen in its completeness.

What Men Have Said of the Canyon. Men have stood before it and called it "an inferno, swathed in soft celestial fires;" but what is an inferno? And who ever saw the fires of heaven? Words! words! words! Charles Dudley Warner, versed in much and diverse world-scenery, mountain-sculpture, canyon-carvings, and plain-sweep, confessed: "I experienced for a moment an indescribable terror of nature, a confusion of mind, a fear to be alone in such a presence. With all its grotesqueness and majesty of form and radiance of color, creation seemed in a whirl." When the reader thinks of grotesqueness, what images come to his mind? A Chinese joss, perhaps; a funny human face on the profile of a rock, but nothing so vast, so awful, so large as this. The word "majesty" suggests a kingly presence, a large man of dignified mien, or a sequoia standing supreme over all other trees in the forest. But a thousand men of majesty could be placed unseen in one tiny rift in this gorge, and all the sequoias of the world could be planted in one stretch of this Canyon, and never be noticed by the most careful watcher on the rim.

Another, reaching the Canyon at night, declared that she and her companions seemed to be "standing in midair, while below, the dark depths were lost in blackness and mystery." Again mere words! words! For whoever stood in mid-air?

Still another calls it "the most ineffable thing that exists within the range of man," and later explains when he stands on the brink of it; "And where the Grand Canyon begins, words stop." Yet he goes on and uses about four more pages of words, and pictures after words have stopped, to tell what he felt and saw. And the remarkable thing is that his experience is that of all the wisest men who have ever seen it. They know they cannot describe it, but they proceed to exhaust their vocabularies in talking about it, and in trying to make clear to others what they saw and felt. And in this very fact what a wonderful tribute lies to the power of the Canyon; that a wise and prudent man is led to strive to do what he vows he will not do, and knows he cannot do.

One well-known poet exclaims: "It was like sudden death." yet she is still alive. Again, after breakfast, she wrote: "My courage rose to meet the greatness of the world." Then she "crawled half prostrate" to the barest and highest rocks she could find on the rim, and confessed: "It made a coward of me; I shrank and shut my eyes, and felt crushed and beaten under the intolerable burden of the flesh. For humanity intrudes here; in these warm and glowing purple spaces disembodied spirits must range and soar, souls purged and purified and infinitely daring." Yet here I have heard the wild brayings of hungry mules and the worse ravings of angry men--none of them impressed as was the soul of the poet.

One money-making business man declared that he went to the rim at night-time, and when he and his friends reached the spot they put forth their hands and found--"an absolute end. We clutched vainly at black space. To fathom this space we thrust over a big stone. No sound came back. The pit was bottomless--the grave of the world. The mystery fascinated, the void beckoned. We scarcely knew why we did not obey the summons--why we did not abandon the present, and, by following the big stone, escape to the future." And yet he had no urgent creditors bothering him. His financial position was secure and unquestioned. His family relations were all that could be desired. Wonderful, indeed, that a mere feature of natural scenery could have led him to wonder why he didn't leave all the luxuries and certainties of life, and leap into the unknown future! Yet that is just the way the Canyon affected a sober business man of steady judgment.

A well-known writer declares: "It is a paradox of chaos and repose, of gloom and radiance, of immeasurable desolation and enthralling beauty. It is a despair and a joy; a woe and an ecstasy; a requiem and a hallelujah; a world-ruin and a world-glory--everything in antithesis of such titanic sort." I agree with him, and regard his expressions as indicative of my own sensations.

Yet, when a reverend gentleman calls it a "delirium of nature," I cannot agree with him. The delirium might be in his own mind, but there is no delirium here. Neither does it seem to me that a certain university president expresses things with any more wisdom or effectiveness, when he says that it "impressed him with its infinite laziness." Lazy? When once, in the far-distant past, after rising from the primeval sea, it sank back again and deposited twelve thousand feet of strata, then lifted them out into the sunshine, carved eleven thousand feet of them away, and sent them dashing down the river to fill up the Gulf of California and make the Mohave and Colorado Deserts? Lazy? When, after that was done, it sank again, and allowed a thousand feet of Cambrian to be deposited; then two thousand feet of Carboniferous; then Permian, Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous, until the three thousand feet were increased to two miles of deposits. Then it began to lift itself up again. Lazy? When lifting up two miles' thickness of strata for the clouds and their children to carve away? And it lifted and lifted, until it destroyed a vast Eocene lake, which covered as large an area as perhaps half a dozen Eastern States, and at the same time carried away about twelve thousand feet of strata. Lazy? When you consider that from north to south, for a hundred or more miles, the whole region has been heaving and tossing, curving and buckling, arching and crumpling its strata, faulting by rising, faulting by sinking, until the geologist who would study the faults finds, in the area of one half-mile, near the mouth of Shinumo Creek, his work for a lifetime cut out for him.

No! No! Mr. College President! You must look more fully. You must guess again! The Canyon is not lazy. It is merely a gigantic natural representation of yourself. You are the embodiment of energy of body, mind and soul; yet you are never seen hurried or disturbed. You have the serenity of genius. So with the Canyon. It has done and is doing great things. It has been a persistent worker during the millions of years of its existence, but it has the calm serenity of consciousness of strength. What you took to be laziness is the restfulness of divine power.

When First Seen. These are some of the effects the Canyon has upon men. I once walked up to the rim with a lawyer, who to-day is one of the foremost figures of the San Francisco bar, a man of lion-like courage and almost reckless bravery. At the first glimpse he fell on his knees, clasped me around mine, and begged me to take him away, declaring that a gift of all Arizona would not lead him to take another glimpse into its awesome depths.

I know of one lady who, for weeks afterwards, would wake up almost every night, and feel herself falling into the fathomless gorge.

Yet the next day the lawyer went with me down to the river, and to this day declares it was the "most memorable trip of his life;" while the timid lady, to my own knowledge, has made over five trips to the Canyon.

Those of less susceptible nerves cannot conceive the effect the first sight of the Canyon produces upon such supersensitive natures as these to which I have referred. I have seen strong men fall upon their knees. I have seen women, driven up to the rim unexpectedly, lean away from the Canyon, the whole countenance an index of the terror felt within, gasp for breath, and though almost paralyzed by their dread of the indescribable abyss, refuse either to close their eyes or turn them away from it. Some few remain away for a day or two until their nerves become more steady. Yet I have never known one of these susceptible observers, these keenly sensitive natures that, on due consideration, has not been thankful for the experience, and in every case has either returned to fully enjoy the Canyon, or has longed to do so.

But, you ask, what is the Canyon for? The answer is simple, and reveals a very humble task as the main work of this vast and gorgeously-colored abyss. It merely acts as the home of a great river, that for hundreds of miles does not serve a single useful purpose to man.

Yet purely material uses are of the lowest kind. The Grand Canyon has a far higher mission than that I have spoken of, and others that are suggested in various chapters of this book. The Grand Canyon is God's greatest gift of His material handiwork in visible form on our earth. It is an expression of His divine thought; it is a manifestation of His divine love. It is a link, a wonderful connecting link, between the human and the Divine, between man and his Great Creator, his Loving Father, Almighty God.





Share with your friends:
  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   ...   16




The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2020
send message

    Main page