Thursday, October the 19th. We embarked again with two of our new-found friends on board as passengers for a short ride, their intention being to hunt as they walked back. They left us at a ranch beside the San Rafael River, a small stream entering from the west. They left some mail with us to be delivered to Mr. Wolverton, whose son we had met above. About 20 miles below Green River we reached his home. Judging by a number of boats - both motor and row boats - tied to his landing, Mr. Wolverton was an enthusiastic river-man. After glancing over his mail, he asked how we had come and was interested when he learned that we were making a boating trip. He was decidedly interested when he saw the boats and learned that we were going to our home in the Grand Canyon. His first impression was that we were merely making a little pleasure trip on the quiet water.

Going carefully over the boats, he remarked that they met with his approval with one exception. They seemed to be a little bit short for the heavy rapids of the Colorado, he thought. He agreed that our experience in the upper rapids had been good training, but said there was no comparison in the rapids. We would have a river ten times as great as in Lodore to contend with; and in numerous places, for short distances, the descent was as abrupt as anything we had seen on the Green. Wolverton was personally acquainted with a number of the men who had made the river trip, and, with the one exception of Major Powell's expeditions, had met all the parties who had successfully navigated its waters. This not only included Galloway's and Stone's respective expeditions, which had made the entire trip, but included two other expeditions which began at Green River, Utah, and had gone through the canyons of the Colorado.[4] These were the Brown-Stanton expedition, which made a railroad survey through the canyons of the Colorado; and another commonly known as the Russell-Monnette expedition, two of the party making the complete trip, arriving at Needles after a voyage filled with adventure and many narrow escapes. Mr. Wolverton remarked that every one knew of those who had navigated the entire series of canyons, but that few people knew of those who had been unsuccessful. He knew of seven parties that had failed to get through Cataract Canyon's forty-one miles of rapids, with their boats, most of them never being heard of again.

These unsuccessful parties were often miners or prospectors who wished to get into the comparatively flat country which began about fifty miles below the Junction of the Green and the Grand rivers. Here lay Glen Canyon, with 150 miles of quiet water. Nothing need be feared in this, or in the 120 miles of good boating from Green River, Utah, to the junction. Between these two points, however, lay Cataract Canyon, beginning at the junction of the two rivers. Judging by its unsavory record, Cataract Canyon was something to be feared.

Among these parties who had made short trips on the river was one composed of two men. Phil Foote was a gambler, stage robber, and bad man in general. He had broken out of jail in Salt Lake City and, accompanied by another of similar character, stole a boat at Green River, Utah, and proceeded down the river. Soon after entering Cataract Canyon, they lost their boat and provisions. Finding a tent which had been washed down the river, they tore it into strips and constructed a raft out driftwood, tying the logs together with the strips of canvas. Days of hardship followed, and starvation stared them in the face; until finally Foote's partner gave up, said he would drown himself. With an oath Foote drew his revolver, saying he had enough of such cowardice and would save him the trouble. His companion then begged for his life, saying he would stick to the end, and they finally got through to the Hite ranch, which lay a short distance below. They were taken care of here, and terminated their voyage a short distance beyond, going out over land. Foote was afterwards shot and killed while holding up a stage in Nevada.

The Hite ranch also proved to be a place of refuge for others, the sole survivors of two other parties who were wrecked, one person escaping on each occasion. Hite's ranch, and Lee's Ferry, 140 miles below Hite, had mail service. We had left instructions at the post-office to forward our mail to one or the other of these points. These were also the only places on our 425-mile run to Bright Angel Trail where we could expect to see any people, so we were informed. We were about to descend into what is, possibly, the least inhabited portion of the United States of America.

A party of civil engineers working here, joined us that evening at Wolverton's home. A young man in the party asked us if we would consent to carry a letter through with us and mail it at our destination. He thought it would be an interesting souvenir for the person to whom it was addressed. We agreed to do our best, but would not guarantee delivery. The next morning two letters were given us to mail, and were accepted with this one reservation. Before leaving Mr. Wolverton showed us his motor boat with much pardonable pride. On this boat he sometimes took small parties down to the beginning of the Colorado River, and up the Grand, a round trip of three hundred miles or more. The boat had never been taken down the Colorado for the simple reason that the rapids began almost immediately below the junction.

Wolverton, while he had never been through the rapids in a boat, had followed the river on foot for several miles and was thoroughly familiar with their nature. On parting he remarked,

"Well, boys, you are going to tackle a mighty hard proposition, but I'm sure you can make it if you are only careful. But look out and go easy."

Wolverton was no novice, speaking from much experience in bad water, and we were greatly impressed by what he had to say.

Five uneventful days were spent in Labyrinth and Stillwater canyons, through which the Green peacefully completed its rather violent descent. In the upper end we usually found rough water in the canyons and quiet water in the open sections. Here at least were two canyons, varying from 300 feet at their beginning to 1300 in depth, both without a rapid. The first of these was Labyrinth Canyon, so named from its elaborately winding course as well as its wonderful intricate system of dry, lateral canyons, and its reproduction in rock of architectural forms, castles, arches, and grottos; even animals and people were represented in every varying form.

Our Sunday camp was beside what might be called a serpentine curve or series of loops in the river. This was at the centre of what is known as the Double Bow Knot, three rounded loops, very symmetrical in form, with an almost circular formation of flat-topped rock, a mile or more in diameter in the centre of each loop. A narrow neck of rock connects these formations to the main mesa, all being on the same level, about 700 feet above the river. The upper half of the rock walls was sheer; below was a steep boulder-covered slope. The centre formation is the largest and most perfect, being nearly two miles in diameter and almost round; so much so, that a very few minutes are necessary to climb over the narrow neck which connects this formation to the mesa. It took 45 minutes of hard rowing on a good current to take us around this one loop. The neck is being rapidly eroded, two hundred feet having disappeared from the top, and at some distant day will doubtless disappear entirely, making a short cut for the river, and will leave a rounded island of rock standing seven hundred feet above the river. A bird's-eye view of the three loops would compare well in shape to the little mechanical contrivance known as the "eye" in the combination of "hook and eye." All women and many men will get a clear idea the shape of the Double Bow Knot from this comparison.

We recorded an interesting experiment with the thermometer at this camp, showing a great variety of temperatures, unbelievable almost to one who knows nothing of conditions in these semi-arid plateaus. A little ice had formed the night before. Under a clear sky the next day at noon, our thermometer recorded 54 degrees in the shade, but ran up to 102 degrees in the sun. At the same time the water in the river was 52 degrees Far. The effect of being deluged in ice-cold waves, then running into deep sunless canyons with a cold wind sweeping down from the snow on top, can be easier imagined than described. This is what we could expect to meet later.

The colouring of the rocks varied greatly in many localities, a light red predominating. In some places the red rock was capped by a gray, flint-like limestone; in others this had disappeared, but underneath the red were regular strata of various-coloured rocks, pink, brown, light yellow, even blue and green being found in two or three sections.

The forms of erosion were as varied as the rock itself, each different-coloured rock stratum presenting a different surface. In one place the surface was broken into rounded forms like the backs of a herd of elephants. In others we saw reproductions of images, carved by the drifting sands - a Diana, with uplifted arm, as large as the Goddess of Liberty; a Billiken on a throne with a hundred worshippers bowed around. Covered with nature-made ruins and magnificent rock structures, as this section is, it is not entirely without utility. It is a grazing country. Great numbers of contented cattle, white-faced, with red and white, or black and white patches of colour on their well-filled hides, were found in the open spaces between the sheer-walled cliffs. Dusty, well-beaten trails led down through these wide canyons, trails which undoubtedly gained the top of the level, rocky plateau a few miles back from the river. As is usual in a cattle country at the end of the summer season, the bunch-grass, close to the water supply - which in this case happened to the river - was nibbled close to the roots. The cattle only came here to drink, then travelled many miles, no doubt, to the better grazing on the upper plateaus. The sage, always gray, was grayer still, with dust raised by many passing herds. There was a band of range horses too, those splendid wild-eyed animals with kingly bearing, and wind-blown tails and manes, lean like a race-horse, strong-muscled and tough-sinewed, pawing and neighing, half defiant and half afraid of the sight of men, the only thing alive to which they pay tribute.

It is a never ending source of wonder, to those unacquainted with the semi-arid country, how these animals can exist in a land which, to them, seems utterly destitute and barren. To many such, a meadow carpeted with blue grass or timothy is the only pasture on which grazing horses or grazing cattle can exist; the dried-out looking tufts of bunch-grass, scattered here and there or sheltered at the roots of the sage, mean nothing; the grama-grass hidden in the grease-wood is unnoticed or mistaken for a weed.

But if the land was bare of verdure, the rock saved it from being monotonous. Varied in colour, the red rock predominated - blood-red at mid-day, orange-tinted at sunset, with gauze-like purple shadows, and with the delicate blue outlines always found in the Western distances; such a land could never be called uninteresting.

The banks of the stream, here in the open, were always green. From an elevation they appeared like two emerald bands through a land of red, bordering a stream the tint of the aged pottery found along its shores. We were continually finding new trees and strange shrubs. Beside the cottonwoods and the willows there was an occasional wild-cherry tree; in the shrubs were the service-berry, and the squaw-berry, with sticky, acid-tasting fruit. The cacti were small, and excepting the prickly pear were confined nearly altogether to a small "pin-cushion" cactus, growing a little larger as we travelled south. And always in the mornings when out of the deep canyons the moist, pungent odour of the sage greeted our nostrils. It is inseparable from the West. There is no stuffy germ-laden air there, out in the sage; one is glad to live, simply to breathe it in and exhale and breathe again.

In Stillwater Canyon the walls ran up to 1300 feet in height, a narrow canyon, with precipitous sides. Occasionally we could see great columns of rock standing on top of the mesa. Late one evening we saw some small cliff dwellings several hundred feet above the river, and a few crude ladders leaning against the cliff below the dwellings. A suitable camp could not be made here, or we would have stopped to examine them. The shores were slippery with mud and quicksands, and there was no fire-wood in sight. From here to the end of the canyons we would have to depend almost entirely on the drift-piles for fire-wood.

A landing was finally made where a section of a cliff had toppled from above, affording a solid footing leading up to the higher bank. We judged from our maps that we were within a very few miles of the Colorado River. Here some footprints and signs of an old boat landing, apparently about a week old, were seen in the sand. This surprised us somewhat, as we had heard of no one coming down ahead of us.