CHAPTER XX. ONE MONTH LATER
Naturally we were very impatient to know just what success we had met with in our photographic work. Some of the motion pictures had been printed and returned to us. My brother, who meanwhile had taken his family to Los Angeles, sent very encouraging reports regarding some of the films.
Among the Canyon visitors who came down to inspect the results of our trip were Thomas Moran, the famous artist, with his daughter, Miss Ruth, whose interest was more than casual. Thomas Moran's name, more than any other, with the possible exception of Major Powell's, is to be associated with the Grand Canyon. It was his painting which hangs in the capital at Washington that first acquainted the American public with the wonders of the Canyon. This painting was the result of a journey he made with Major Powell, from Salt Lake City to the north side of the Canyon, thirty-eight years before. In addition he had made most of the cuts that illustrated Major Powell's government report; making his sketches on wood from photographs this expedition had taken with the old-fashioned wet plates that had to be coated and developed on the spot - wonderful photographs, which for beauty, softness, and detail are not excelled, and are scarcely equalled by more modern plates and photographic results. The only great advantage of the dry plates was the fact that they could catch the action of the water with an instantaneous exposure, where the wet plates had to have a long exposure and lost that action.
Thomas Moran could pick up almost any picture that we made, and tell us at once just what section it came from and its identifying characteristics. His daughter, Miss Ruth, was just as much interested in our trip and its results. She was anxious to know when we would go on again and planned on making the trail trip down to the plateau to see us take the plunge over the first rough rapid. She was just a little anxious to see an upset, and asked if we could not promise that one would occur.
A month passed before my brother returned from Los Angeles. His wife, who had remained there, was in good health again, and insisted on his finishing the trip at once. We were just as anxious to have it finished, but were not very enthusiastic about this last part on account of some very cold weather we had been having. On the other hand, we feared if the trip was not finished then it might never be completed. So we consoled ourselves with the thought that it was some warmer at the bottom than it was on top, and prepared to make the final plunge - 350 miles to Needles, with a 1600-foot descent in the 185 miles that remained of the Grand Canyon.
A foot of snow had fallen two nights before we planned on leaving. The thermometer had dropped to zero, and a little below on one occasion, during the nights for a week past. Close to the top the trail was filled with drifts. The walls were white with snow down to the plateau, 3200 feet below; something unusual, as it seldom descends as snow lower than two thousand feet, but turns to rain. But a week of cold, cloudy weather, accompanied by hard winds, had driven all warmth from the canyon, allowing this snow to descend lower than usual. Under such conditions the damp cold in the canyon, while not registered on the thermometer as low as that on top, is more penetrating. Very little sun reaches the bottom of the inner gorge in December and January. It is usually a few degrees colder than the inner plateau above it, which is open, and does get some sun. These were the conditions when we returned to our boats December the 19th, 1911, and found a thin covering of ice on small pools near the river.
Our party was enlarged by the addition of two men who were anxious for some river experience. One was our younger brother, Ernest. We agreed to take him as far as the Bass Trail, twenty-five miles below, where he could get out on top and return to our home. The other was a young man named Bert Lauzon, who wanted to make the entire trip, and we were glad to have him. Lauzon, although but 24 years old, had been a quartz miner and mining engineer for some years. Coming from the mountains of Colorado, he had travelled over most of the Western states, and a considerable part of Mexico, in his expeditions. There was no question in our minds about Lauzon. He was the man we needed.
To offset the weight of an extra man for each boat, our supplies were cut to the minimum, arrangements having been made with W.W. Bass - the proprietor of the Bass Camps and of the Mystic Springs Trail - to have some provisions packed in over his trail. What provisions we took ourselves were packed down on two mules, and anything we could spare from our boats was packed out on the same animals. As we were about ready to leave a friendly miner said: "You can't hook fish in the Colorado in the winter, they won't bite nohow. You'd better take a couple of sticks of my giant-powder along. That will help you get 'em, and it may keep you from starving." Under the circumstances it seemed like a wise precaution and we took his giant-powder, as he had suggested.