CHAPTER X. FROM THE JUNCTION OF THE GRAND AND GREEN TO THE MOUTH OF THE LITTLE COLORADO.
July 18. - The day is spent in obtaining the time and spreading our rations, which we find are badly injured. The flour has been wet and dried so many times that it is all musty and full of hard lumps. We make a sieve of mosquito netting and run our flour through, it, losing more than 200 pounds by the process. Our losses, by the wrecking of the "No Name," and by various mishaps since, together with the amount thrown away to-day, leave us little more than two months' supplies, and to make them last thus long we must be fortunate enough to lose no more.
We drag our boats on shore and turn them over to recalk and pitch them, and Sumner is engaged in repairing barometers. While we are here for a day or two, resting, we propose to put everything in the best shape for a vigorous campaign.
July 19. - Bradley and I start this morning to climb the left wall below the junction. The way we have selected is up a gulch. Climbing for an hour over and among the rocks, we find ourselves in a vast amphitheater and our way cut off. We clamber around to the left for half an hour, until we find that we cannot go up in that direction. Then we try the rocks around to the right and discover a narrow shelf nearly half a mile long. In some places this is so wide that we pass along with ease; in others it is so narrow and sloping that we are compelled to lie down and crawl. We can look over the edge of the shelf, down 800 feet, and see the river rolling and plunging among the rocks. Looking up 500 feet to the brink of the cliff, it seems to blend with the sky. We continue along until we come to a point where the wall is again broken down. Up we climb. On the right there is a narrow, mural point of rocks, extending toward the river, 200 or 300 feet high and 600 or 800 feet long. We come back to where this sets in and find it cut off from the main wall by a great crevice. Into this we pass; and now a long, narrow rock is between us and the river. The rock itself is split longitudinally and transversely; and the rains on the surface above have run down through the crevices and gathered into channels below and then run off into the river. The crevices are usually narrow above and, by erosion of the streams, wider below, forming a network of "caves, each cave having a narrow, winding skylight up through the rocks. We wander among these corridors for an hour or two, but find no place where the rocks are broken down so that we can climb up. At last we determine to attempt a passage by a crevice, and select one which we think is wide enough to admit of the passage of our bodies and yet narrow enough to climb out by pressing our hands and feet against the walls. So we climb as men would out of a well. Bradley climbs first; I hand him the barometer, then climb over his head and he hands me the barometer. So we pass each other alternately until we emerge from the fissure, out on the summit of the rock. And what a world of grandeur is spread before us! Below is the canyon through which the Colorado runs. We can trace its course for miles, and at points catch glimpses of the river. From the northwest comes the Green in a narrow winding gorge. From the northeast comes the Grand, through a canyon that seems bottomless from where we stand. Away to the west are lines of cliffs and ledges of rock - not such ledges as the reader may have seen where the quarryman splits his blocks, but ledges from which the gods might quarry mountains that, rolled out on the plain below, would stand a lofty range; and not such cliffs as the reader may have seen where the swallow builds its nest, but cliffs where the soaring eagle is lost to view ere he reaches the summit. Between us and the distant cliffs are the strangely carved and pinnacled rocks of the Toom'pin wunear' Tuweap'. On the summit of the opposite wall of the canyon are rock forms that we do not understand. Away to the east a group of eruptive mountains are seen - the Sierra La Sal, which we first saw two days ago through the canyon of the Grand. Their slopes are covered with pines, and deep gulches are flanked with great crags, and snow fields are seen near the summits. So the mountains are in uniform, - green, gray, and silver. Wherever we look there is but a wilderness of rocks, - deep gorges where the rivers are lost below cliffs and towers and pinnacles, and ten thousand strangely carved forms in every direction, and beyond them mountains blending with the clouds.
Now we return to camp. While eating supper we very naturally speak of better fare, as musty bread and spoiled bacon are not palatable. Soon I see Hawkins down by the boat, taking up the sextant - rather a strange proceeding for him - and I question him concerning it. He replies that he is trying to find the latitude and longitude of the nearest pie.
July 20. - This morning Captain Powell and I go out to climb the west wall of the canyon, for the purpose of examining the strange rocks seen yesterday from the other side. Two hours bring us to the top, at a point between the Green and Colorado overlooking the junction of the rivers.