CHAPTER X. FROM THE JUNCTION OF THE GRAND AND GREEN TO THE MOUTH OF THE LITTLE COLORADO.
Late in the afternoon we pass to the left around a sharp point, which is somewhat broken down near the foot, and discover a flock of mountain sheep on the rocks more than a hundred feet above us. We land quickly in a cove out of sight, and away go all the hunters with their guns, for the sheep have not discovered us. Soon we hear firing, and those of us who have remained in the boats climb up to see what success the hunters have had. One sheep has been killed, and two of the men are still pursuing them. In a few minutes we hear firing again, and the next moment down come the flock clattering over the rocks within 20 yards of us. One of the hunters seizes his gun and brings a second sheep down, and the next minute the remainder of the flock is lost behind the rocks. We all give chase; but it is impossible to follow their tracks over the naked rock, and we see them no more. Where they went out of this rock-walled canyon is a mystery, for we can see no way of escape. Doubtless, if we could spare the time for the search, we should find a gulch up which they ran.
We lash our prizes to the deck of one of the boats and go on for a short distance; but fresh meat is too tempting for us, and we stop early to have a feast. And a feast it is! Two fine young sheep! We care not for bread or beans or dried apples to-night; coffee and mutton are all we ask.
July 28. - We make two portages this morning, one of them very long. During the afternoon we run a chute more than half a mile in length, narrow and rapid. This chute has a floor of marble; the rocks dip in the direction in which we are going, and the fall of the stream conforms to the inclination of the beds; so we float on water that is gliding down an inclined plane. At the foot of the chute the river turns sharply to the right and the water rolls up against a rock which from above seems to stand directly athwart its course. As we approach it we pull with all our power to the right, but it seems impossible to avoid being carried headlong against the cliff; we are carried up high on the waves - but not against the rock, for the rebounding water strikes us and we are beaten back and pass on with safety, except that we get a good drenching.
After this the walls suddenly close in, so that the canyon is narrower than we have ever known it. The water fills it from wall to wall, giving us no landing-place at the foot of the cliff; the river is very swift and the canyon very tortuous, so that we can see but a few hundred yards ahead; the walls tower over us, often overhanging so as almost to shut out the light. I stand on deck, watching with intense anxiety, lest this may lead us into some danger; but we glide along, with no obstruction, no falls, no rocks, and in a mile and a half emerge from the narrow gorge into a more open and broken portion of the canyon. Now that it is past, it seems a very simple thing indeed to run through such a place, but the fear of what might be ahead made a deep impression on us.
At three o'clock we arrive at the foot of Cataract Canyon. Here a long canyon valley comes down from the east, and the river turns sharply to the west in a continuation of the line of the lateral valley. In the bend on the right vast numbers of crags and pinnacles and tower-shaped rocks are seen. We call it Mille Crag Bend.
And now we wheel into another canyon, on swift water unobstructed by rocks. This new canyon is very narrow and very straight, with walls vertical below and terraced above. Where we enter it the brink of the cliff is 1,300 feet above the water, but the rocks dip to the west, and as the course of the canyon is in that direction the walls are seen slowly to decrease in altitude. Floating down this narrow channel and looking out through the canyon crevice away in the distance, the river is seen to turn again to the left, and beyond this point, away many miles, a great mountain is seen. Still floating down, we see other mountains, now on the right, now on the left, until a great mountain range is unfolded to view. We name this Narrow Canyon, and it terminates at the bend of the river below.
As we go down to this point we discover the mouth of a stream which enters from the right. Into this our little boat is turned. The water is exceedingly muddy and has an unpleasant odor. One of the men in the boat following, seeing what we have done, shouts to 'Dunn and asks whether it is a trout stream. Dunn replies, much disgusted, that it is "a dirty devil," and by this name the river is to be known hereafter.
Some of us go out for half a mile and climb a butte to the north. The course of the Dirty Devil River can be traced for many miles. It comes down through a very narrow canyon, and beyond it, to the southwest, there is a long line of cliffs, with a broad terrace, or bench, between it and the brink of the canyon, and beyond these cliffs is situated the range of mountains seen as we came down Narrow Canyon. Looking up the Colorado, the chasm through which it runs can be seen, but we cannot see down to its waters. The whole country is a region of naked rock of many colors, with cliffs and buttes about us and towering mountains in the distance.