CHAPTER V. FROM GREEN RIVER CITY TO FLAMING GORGE.
In the summer of 1867, with a small party of naturalists, students, and amateurs like myself, I visited the mountain region of Colorado Territory. While in Middle Park I explored a little canyon through which the Grand River runs, immediately below the now well-known watering place, Middle Park Hot Springs. Later in the fall I passed through Cedar Canyon, the gorge by which the Grand leaves the park. A result of the summer's study was to kindle a desire to explore the canyons of the Grand, Green, and Colorado rivers, and the next summer I organized an expedition with the intention of penetrating still farther into that canyon country.
As soon as the snows were melted, so that the main range could be crossed, I went over into Middle Park, and proceeded thence down the Grand to the head of Cedar Canyon, then across the Park Range by Gore's Pass, and in October found myself and party encamped on the White River, about 120 miles above its mouth. At that point I built cabins and established winter quarters, intending to occupy the cold season, as far as possible, in exploring the adjacent country. The winter of 1868-69 proved favorable to my purposes, and several excursions were made, southward to the Grand, down the White to the Green, northward to the Yampa, and around the Uinta Mountains. During these several excursions I seized every opportunity to study the canyons through which these upper streams run, and while thus engaged formed plans for the exploration of the canyons of the Colorado. Since that time I have been engaged in executing these plans, sometimes employed in the field, sometimes in the office. Begun originally as an exploration, the work was finally developed into a survey, embracing the geography, geology, ethnography, and natural history of the country, and a number of gentlemen have, from time to time, assisted me in the work.
Early in the spring of 1869 a party was organized for the exploration of the canyons. Boats were built in Chicago and transported by rail to the point where the Union Pacific Railroad crosses the Green River. With these we were to descend the Green to the Colorado, and the Colorado down to the foot of the Grand Canyon.
May 24, 1869. - The good people of Green River City turn out to see us start. We raise our little flag, push the boats from shore, and the swift current carries us down.
Our boats are four in number. Three are built of oak; stanch and firm; double-ribbed, with double stem and stern posts, and further strengthened by bulkheads, dividing each into three compartments. Two of these, the fore and aft, are decked, forming water-tight cabins. It is expected these will buoy the boats should the waves roll over them in rough water. The fourth boat is made of pine, very light, but 16 feet in length, with a sharp cutwater, and every way built for fast rowing, and divided into compartments as the others. The little vessels are 21 feet long, and, taking out the cargoes, can be carried by four men.
We take with us rations deemed sufficient to last ten months, for we expect, when winter comes on and the river is filled with ice, to lie over at some point until spring arrives; and so we take with us abundant supplies of clothing, likewise. We have also a large quantity of ammunition and two or three dozen traps. For the purpose of building cabins, repairing boats, and meeting other exigencies, we are supplied with axes, hammers, saws, augers, and other tools, and a quantity of nails and screws. For scientific work, we have two sextants, four chronometers, a number of barometers, thermometers, compasses, and other instruments.
The flour is divided into three equal parts; the meat, and all other articles of our rations, in the same way. Each of the larger boats has an axe, hammer, saw, auger, and other tools, so that all are loaded alike. We distribute the cargoes in this way that we may not be entirely destitute of some important article should any one of the boats be lost. In the small boat we pack a part of the scientific instruments, three guns, and three small bundles of clothing, only; and in this I proceed in advance to explore the channel.
J. C. Sumner and William H. Dunn are my boatmen in the "Emma Dean"; then follows "Kitty Clyde's Sister," manned by W. H. Powell and G. Y. Bradley; next, the "No Name," with O. G. Howland, Seneca Howland, and Frank Goodman; and last comes the "Maid of the Canyon," with W. E. Hawkins and Andrew Hall.
Sumner was a soldier during the late war, and before and since that time has been a great traveler in the wilds of the Mississippi Valley and the Rocky Mountains as an amateur hunter. He is a fair-haired, delicate-looking man, but a veteran in experience, and has performed the feat of crossing the Rocky Mountains in midwinter on snowshoes. He spent the winter of 1886-87 in Middle Park, Colorado, for the purpose of making some natural history collections for me, and succeeded in killing three grizzlies, two mountain lions, and a large number of elk, deer, sheep, wolves, beavers, and many other animals. When Bayard Taylor traveled through the parks of Colorado, Sumner was his guide, and he speaks in glowing terms of Mr. Taylor's genial qualities in camp, but he was mortally offended when the great traveler requested him to act as doorkeeper at Breckenridge to receive the admission fee from those who attended his lectures.
Dunn was a hunter, trapper, and mule-packer in Colorado for many years. He dresses in buckskin with a dark oleaginous luster, doubtless due to the fact that he has lived on fat venison and killed many beavers since he first donned his uniform years ago. His raven hair falls down to his back, for he has a sublime contempt of shears and razors.