E. L. Kolb

An hour or so after making our camp, we began to doubt the wisdom of our choice of a location, for a downpour of rain threatened to send a stream of water under the tent. The stream was easily turned aside, while a door and numerous boards found in the drift pile, made a very good floor for the tent and lifted our sleeping bags off the wet sand. We had little trouble in this section to find sufficient driftwood for fires. The pile at this camp was enormous, and had evidently been gathering for years.

We passed Loper's claim after resuming our journey the next day. His workings were a one-man proposition and very ingenious. We found a tunnel in the gravel a hundred feet above the river, and some distance back from the river bank. A track of light rails ran from the river bank to these workings; the gravel and sand was loaded into a car, and hauled or pushed to the bank, then dumped into a chute, which sent it down to the river's edge.

It is a dogged courage of which the author of this book is the serene possessor - shared equally by his daring brother; and evidence of this bravery is made plain throughout the following pages. Every youth who has in him a spark of adventure will kindle with desire to battle his way also from Green River to the foot of Bright Angel Trail; while every man whose bones have been stiffened and his breath made short by the years, will remember wistfully such wild tastes of risk and conquest that he, too, rejoiced in when he was young.

We camped that night at the Ute Ford, or the Crossing of the Fathers; a noted landmark of bygone days, when Escalante (in 1776) and others later followed the inter-tribal trails across these unfriendly lands. Later marauding Navajo used this trail, crossing the canyon to the north side, raiding the scattered Mormon settlements, bringing their stolen horses, and even sheep, down this canyon trail. Then they drove them across on a frozen river, and escaped with them to their mountain fastness.

This is a simple narrative of our recent photographic trip down the Green and Colorado rivers in rowboats - our observations and impressions. It is not intended to replace in any way the books published by others covering a similar journey. Major J.W. Powell's report of the original exploration, for instance, is a classic, literary and geological; and searchers after excellence may well be recommended to his admirable work.

We declined the offer of a roof that night, preferring to sleep in the open here, for the evening was quite warm. We went to work the next morning when the whistle sounded at the dredge. Beyond caulking a few leaks in the boats, little was done with them. The tin receptacles holding our photographic plates and films were carefully coated with a covering of melted paraffine; for almost anything might happen, in the one hundred miles of rapid water that separated us from our home.

Early in September of 1911 my brother Emery and I landed in Green River City, Wyoming, ready for the launching of our boats on our long-planned trip down the Green and Colorado rivers.

There was little of the spectacular in our work the next day as we slowly and laboriously dragged an empty boat upstream against the swift-running current, taking advantage of many little eddies, but finding much of the shore swept clean. I had ample opportunity to ponder on the wisdom of my attempt to save time by running the Soap Creek Rapid instead of making a portage, while we carried our loads over the immense boulders that banked the stream, down to a swift piece of water, past which we could not well bring the boats or while we developed the wet plates from the ruined plate-holders.

All this preparation - and still more, the vexatious delays - had been a heavy tax upon us. We needed a vacation. We took it - six pleasant care-free days - hunting and fishing as we drifted through the sixty miles of southern Wyoming. There were ducks and geese on the river to test our skill with the shot-gun. Only two miles below Green River City Emery secured our first duck, a promise of good sport to follow. An occasional cottontail rabbit was seen, scurrying to cover through the sage-brush, when we made a detour from the boats.

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