In the mud at Kanab Canyon we saw an old footprint of some person who had come down to the river through this narrow, gloomy gorge. It was here that Major Powell terminated his second voyage, on account of extreme high water. A picture they made showed their boats floated up in this side canyon. Our stage was much lower than this. F.S. Dellenbaugh, the author of "A Canyon Voyage," was a member of this second expedition. This book had been our guide down to this point; we could not have asked for a better one. Below here we had a general idea of the nature of the river, and had a set of the government maps, but we had neglected to provide ourselves with detailed information such as this volume gave us.

Evening of the following day found us at Cataract Creek Canyon, but with a stage of water in the river nearly fifty feet lower than that which we had seen a few years before. The narrow entrance of this great canyon gives no hint of what it is like a few miles above.

The Indian village is in the bottom of a 3000-foot canyon, half a mile wide and three miles long, covered with fertile fields, peach and apricot orchards. It even contained a few fig trees. Below the village the canyon narrowed to a hundred yards, with a level bottom, covered with a tangle of wild grape vines, cactus, and cottonwood trees. This section contained the two largest falls, and came to an end about four miles below the first fall. Then the canyon narrowed, deep and gloomy, until there was little room for anything but the powerful, rapidly descending stream. At the lower end it was often waist deep and fifteen or twenty feet wide. It was no easy task to go through this gorge. The stream had to be crossed several times. The canyon terminated in an extremely narrow gorge 2500 feet deep, dark and gloomy, one of the most impressive gorges we have ever seen. The main canyon was similar, with a few breaks on the sides, those breaks being ledges, or narrow sloping benches that would extend for miles, only to be brought to an abrupt end by side canyons. There are many mountain-sheep in this section, but we saw none either time. We could see many fresh tracks where they had followed these ledges around, and had gone up the narrow side canyon. It was cold in the main canyon, and no doubt the sheep could be found on the plateaus, which were more open, and would get sun when the sun shone. This plateau was 2500 feet above us. At the turn of the canyon we could see the other walls 2000 feet above that. The rapids in the section just passed had been widely separated and compared well with those of Marble Canyon, not the worst we had seen, but far from being tame. There was plenty of shore room at each of these rapids.

Cactus of different species was now a feature of the scenery. The ocotilla or candlewood with long, lash-like stalks springing from a common centre - that cactus, which, when dried, needs only a lighted match to set it afire - flourishes in the rocky ledges. A species of small barrel-cactus about the size of a man's head, with fluted sides, or symmetrical vertical rows of small thorned lumps converging at the top of the "nigger-head," as they are sometimes called, grows in great numbers in crevices on the walls. The delicate "pin cushion" gathered in clusters of myriad small spiny balls. The prickly pear, here in Ha Va Su Canyon, were not the starved, shrivelled, mineral-tinted cactus such as we found at the beginning of our trip. Instead they were green and flourishing, with large fleshy leaves joining on to each other until they rise to a height of three feet or more and cover large patches of ground to the utter exclusion of all other growth. What a display of yellow and red these desert plants put forth when they are in bloom! A previous visit to Ha Va Su was made in the month of May when every group of prickly pear was a riot of pure colour. All this prolific growth is made possible by the extreme heat of the summer months aided in the case of those plants and trees which flourish in the fertile soil of Ha Va Su by the sub-irrigation and the spray from the fall.

After making an inventory of our provisions we concluded not to try the tedious and uncertain trip up Cataract Creek. With care and good fortune we would have enough provisions to last us to Diamond Creek.

With our run the next day the inner gorge continued to deepen, the walls drew closer together, so that we now had a narrow gorge hemming us in with 3000-foot walls from which there was no escape. They were about a fourth of a mile apart at the top. A boat at the foot of one of these walls was merely an atom. The total depth of the canyon was close to 4500 feet. There is nothing on earth to which this gorge can be compared. Storm-clouds lowered into the chasm in the early morning. The sky was overcast and threatening. We were travelling directly west again, and no sunlight entered here, even when the sun shone. The walls had lost their brighter reds, and what colour they had was dark and sombre, a dirty brown and dark green predominating. The mythology of the ancients, with their Inferno and their River Styx, could hardly conjure anything more supernatural or impressive than this gloomy gorge.

There were a few bad rapids. One or two had no shore, others had an inclination to run under one wall and had to be run very carefully. If we could not get down alongside of a rapid, we could usually climb out on the walls at the head of the rapid and look it over from that vantage point. The one who climbed out would signal directions to the others, who would run it at once, and continue on to the next rapid. They would have its course figured out when the last boat arrived.

One canyon entered from the left, level on the bottom, and about one hundred feet wide; it might be a means of outlet from this canyon, but it is doubtful, for the marble has a way of ending abruptly and dropping sheer, with a polished surface that is impossible to climb.

New Year's Eve was spent in this section. The camp was exceptionally good. A square-sided, oblong section of rock about fifty feet long had fallen forward from the base of the cliff. This left a cave-like opening which was closed at one end with our dark-room tent. High water had placed a sandy floor, now thoroughly dry, in the bottom. Under the circumstances we could hardly ask for anything better. Of driftwood there was none, and our camp-fires were made of mesquite which grew in ledges in the rocks; in one case gathered with a great deal of labour on the shore opposite our camp, and ferried across on our boats. If a suitable camp was found after 3.30 P.M., we kept it, rather than run the risk of not finding another until after dark.

Another day, January 1, 1912, brought us to the end of this gorge and into a wider and more open canyon, with the country above covered with volcanic peaks and cinder cones. Blow-holes had broken through the canyon walls close to the top of the gorge, pouring streams of lava down its sides, filling the bottom of the canyon with several hundred feet of lava. This condition extended down the canyon for twenty miles or more. Judging by the amount of lava the eruption must have continued for a great while. Could one imagine a more wonderful sight - the turbulent stream checked by the fire flood from above! What explosions and rending of rocks there must have been when the two elements met. The river would be backed up for a hundred miles! Each would be shoved on from behind! There was no escape! They must fight it out until one or the other conquered. But the fire could not keep up forever, and, though triumphant for a period, it finally succumbed, and the stream proceeded to cut down to the original level.

Two miles below the first lava flow we saw what we took to be smoke and hurried down wondering if we would find a prospector or a cattle rustler. We agreed, if it was the latter, to let them off if they would share with us. But the smoke turned out to be warm springs, one of them making quite a stream which fell twenty feet into the river. Here in the river was a cataract, called Lava Falls, so filled with jagged pieces of the black rock that a portage was advisable. The weather had not moderated any in the last week, and we were in the water a great deal as we lifted and lined the boats over the rocks at the edge of the rapids. We would work in the water until numbed with the cold, then would go down to the warm springs and thaw out for a while. This was a little quicker than standing by the fire, but the relief was only temporary. This portage was finished the next morning.

Another portage was made this same day, and the wide canyon where Major Powell found some Indian gardens was passed in the afternoon. The Indians were not at home when the Major called. His party felt they were justified in helping themselves to some pumpkins or squash, for their supplies were very low, and they could not go out to a settlement - as we expected to do in a day or two - and replenish them.

We found the fish would not bite, just as our friend, the miner, had said, but we did succeed in landing a fourteen-pound salmon, in one of the deep pools not many miles from this point, and it was served up in steaks the next day. If our method of securing the salmon was unsportsmanlike, we excused ourselves for the methods used, just as Major Powell justified his appropriation of the Indians' squash. If that fish was ever needed, it was then, and it was a most welcome addition to our rapidly disappearing stock of provisions. We were only sorry we had not taken more "bait."

The next day we did see a camp-fire, and on climbing the shore, found a little old prospector, clad in tattered garments, sitting in a little dugout about five feet square which he had shovelled out of the sand. He had roofed it with mesquite and an old blanket. A rapid, just below, made so much noise that he did not hear us until we were before his door. He looked at the rubber coats and the life-preservers, then said, with a matter-of-fact drawl, "Well, you fellows must have come by the river!" After talking awhile he asked: "What do you call yourselves?" This question would identify him as an old-time Westerner if we did not already know it. At one time it was not considered discreet to ask any one in these parts what their name was, or where they were from. He gave us a great deal of information about the country, and said that Diamond Creek was about six miles below. He had come across from Diamond Creek by a trail over a thousand foot ridge, with a burro and a pack mule, a month before. He had just been out near the top on the opposite side, doing some assessment work on some copper claims, crossing the river on a raft, and stated that on a previous occasion he had been drawn over the rapid, but got out.

When he learned that we had come through Utah, he stated that he belonged near Vernal, and had once been upset in the upper canyons, about twenty years before. He proved to be the Snyder of whom we had heard at Linwood, and also from the Chews, who had given him a horse so he could get out over the mountains. Yet here was, a thousand miles below, cheerful as a cricket, and sure that a few months at the most would bring him unlimited wealth. He asked us to "share his chuck" with him, but we could see nothing but a very little flour, and a little bacon, so pleaded haste and pushed on for Diamond Creek.

The mouth of this canyon did not look unlike others we had seen in this section, and one could easily pass it without knowing that it ran back with a gentle slope for twenty miles, and that a wagon road came down close to the river. It contained a small, clear stream. The original tourist camp in the Grand Canyon was located up this canyon. We packed all our plates and films, ready to take them out. The supplies left in the boats when we went out the next morning were:

     5 pounds of flour, partly wet and crusted. 
     2 pounds mildewed Cream of Wheat. 
     3 or 4 cans (rusty) of dried beef. 
     Less than one pound of sugar.

We carried a lunch out with us. This was running a little too close for comfort.

The mouth of Diamond Creek Canyon was covered with a growth of large mesquite trees. Cattle trails wound through this thorny thicket down to the river's edge. The trees thinned out a short distance back, and the canyon widened as it receded from the river. A half mile back from the river was the old slab building that had served as headquarters for the campers. Here the canyon divided, one containing the small stream heading in the high walls to the southeast; while the other branch ran directly south, heading near the railroad at the little flag-station of Peach Springs, twenty-three miles distant. It was flat-bottomed, growing wider and more valley-like with every mile, but not especially interesting to one who had seen the glory of all the canyons. Floods had spoiled what had once been a very passable stage road, dropping 4000 feet in twenty miles, down to the very depths of the Grand Canyon. Some cattle, driven down by the snows, were sunning themselves near the building. Our appearance filled them with alarm, and they "high tailed it" to use a cattle man's expression, scampering up the rocky slopes.

A deer's track was seen in a snow-drift away from the river. On the sloping walls in the more open sections of this valley grew the stubby-thorned chaparral. The hackberry and the first specimens of the palo verde were found in this vicinity. The mesquite trees seen at the mouth of the canyon were real trees - about the size of a large apple tree - not the small bushes we had seen at the Little Colorado. All the growth was changing as we neared the lower altitudes and the mouth of the Grand Canyon, being that of the hot desert, which had found this artery or avenue leading to the heart of the rocky plateaus and had pushed its way into this foreign land.

Even the animal life of the desert has followed this same road. Occasional Gila monsters, which are supposed to belong to the hot desert close to the Mexico line, have been found at Diamond Creek, and lizards of the Mojave Desert have been seen as far north as the foot of Bright Angel Trail.

But we saw little animal life at this time. There were occasional otters disporting themselves near our boats, in one instance unafraid, in another raising a gray-bearded head near our boat with a startled look in his eyes. Then he turned and began to swim on the surface until our laughter caused him to dive. Tracks of the civet-cat or the ring-tailed cat - that large-eyed and large-eared animal, somewhat like a raccoon and much resembling a weasel - were often seen along the shores. The gray fox, the wild-cat, and the coyote, all natives of this land, kept to the higher pinon-covered hills. The beaver seldom penetrates into the deep canyons because of the lack of vegetation, but is found in all sections in the open country from the headwaters to the delta in Mexico.

We went out by this canyon on January the 5th, and returned Sunday, January the 8th, bringing enough provisions to last us to the end of the big canyon. We imagined we would have no trouble getting what we needed in the open country below that. We sent some telegrams and received encouraging answers to them before returning. With us were two brothers, John and Will Nelson, cattle men who had given us a cattle man's welcome when we arrived at Peach Springs. There was no store at Peach Springs, and they supplied us with the provisions that we brought back. They drove a wagon for about half the distance, then the roads became impassable, so they unhitched and packed their bedding and our provisions in to the river. The Nelsons were anxious to see us run a rapid or two.

We found the nights to be just as cold on top as they ever get in this section - a little below zero - although the midday sun was warm enough to melt the snow and make it slushy. I arrived at the river with my feet so swollen that I had difficulty in walking, a condition brought on by a previous freezing they had received, being wet continually by the icy water in my boat - which was leaking badly since we left Bright Angel - and the walk out through the slush. I was glad there was little walking to do when once at the river, and changed my shoes for arctics, which were more roomy and less painful.

On the upper part of our trip there were occasional days when Emery was not feeling his best, while I had been most fortunate and had little complaint to make; now things seemed to be reversed. Emery, and Bert too, were having the time of their lives, while I was "getting mine" in no small doses.[6]

We had always imagined that the Grand Canyon lost its depth and impressiveness below Diamond Creek. We were to learn our mistake. The colour was missing, that was true, for the marble and sandstone walls were brown, dirty, or colourless, with few of the pleasing tones of the canyon found in the upper end. But it was still the Grand Canyon. We were in the granite again - granite just as deep as any we had seen above, it may have been a little deeper, and in most cases it was very sheer. There was very little plateau, the limestone and sandstone rose above that, just as they had above Kanab Canyon. The light-coloured walls could not be seen.

Many of the rapids of this lower section were just as bad as any we had gone over; one or two have been considered worse by different parties. Two hours after leaving the Nelsons we were halted by a rapid that made us catch our breath. It was in two sections - the lower one so full of jagged rocks that it meant a wrecked boat. The upper part fell about twenty feet we should judge and was bad enough. It was a question if we could run this and keep from going over the lower part! If we made a portage, our boats would have to be taken three or four hundred feet up the side of the cliff. The rapid was too strong to line a boat down. We concluded to risk running the first part. Bert climbed to the head of the second section of the rapid, where a projecting point of granite narrowed the stream, and formed a quiet eddy just above the foaming plunge. If we could keep out of the centre and land here we would be safe. Our shoes were removed, our trousers were rolled to our knees and we removed our coats. If we had to swim there, we were going to be prepared. The life-preservers were well inflated, and tied; then we made the plunge, Emery taking the lead, I following close behind. Our plan was to keep as near the shore as possible. Once I thought it was all over when I saw the Edith pulled directly for a rock in spite of all Emery could do to pull away. Nothing but a rebounding wave saved him. I went through the same experience. Several times we were threatened with an upset, but we landed in safety. The portage was short and easy. Flat granite rocks were covered with a thin coat of ice. The boats were unloaded and slid across, then dropped below the projecting rock. The Defiance skidded less than two feet and struck a projecting knob of rock the size of a goose egg. It punctured the side close to the stern, fortunately above the water line, and the wood was not entirely broken away.

Two miles below this we found another bad one. This was lined while Bert got supper up in a little sloping canyon; about as uncomfortable a camp as we had found. Many of the rapids run the next day were violent. The river seemed to be trying to make up for lost time. We passed a canyon coming from the south containing two streams, one clear, and one muddy. The narrowest place we had seen on the river was a rapid run this day, not over forty feet wide. Evening brought us to a rapid with a lateral canyon coming in from each side, that on the right containing a muddy stream. The walls were sheer and jagged close to the rapid, with a break on the rugged slopes here and there. A sloping rock in the middle of the stream could be seen in the third section of the rapid. This was Separation Rapid, the point where the two Howland brothers and Dunn parted company with Major Powell and his party.

From our camp at the left side we could easily figure out a way to the upper plateau. Above that they would have a difficult climb as far as we could tell. That they did reach the top is well known. They met a tragic fate. The second day after getting out they were killed by some Indians - the Shewits Utes - who had treated them hospitably at first and provided them with something to eat. That night a visiting Indian brought a tale of depredations committed by some miners against another section of their tribe. These men were believed to be the guilty parties, and they were ambushed the next morning. Their fate remained a mystery for a year; then a Ute was seen with a watch belonging to one of the men. Later a Mormon who had a great deal of influence with the Indians got their story from them, and reported to Major Powell what he had learned. It was a deplorable and a tragic ending to what otherwise was one of the most successful, daring, and momentous explorations ever undertaken on this continent.

We find there is a current belief that it was cowardice and fear of this one rapid that caused these men to separate from the party. The more one hears of this separation, the more it seems that it was a difference of opinion on many matters, and not this one rapid, that caused them to leave. These men had been trappers and hunters, one might say pioneers, and one had been with Major Powell before the river exploration. They had gone through all the canyons, and had come through this far without a fatality. They had seen a great many rapids nearly as bad as this, and several that were worse, if one could judge by its nature when we found it. They were not being carried by others, but had charge of one boat. They did smash one boat in Disaster Rapid in Lodore Canyon, and at that time they claimed Major Powell gave them the wrong signal. This caused some feeling.

At the time of the split, the food question was a serious one. There were short rations for a long time; in fact there was practically no food. After an observation, Major Powell informed them that they were within forty-five miles of the Virgin River, in a direct line. Much of the country between the end of the canyon and the Virgin River was open, a few Mormon settlements could be found up the Virgin Valley. He offered them half of the small stock of provisions, when they persisted in leaving, but they refused to take any provisions whatever, feeling sure that they could kill enough game to subsist on. This one instance would seem to be enough to clear them of the stigma of cowardice. The country on top was covered with volcanic cinders. There was little water to be found, and in many ways it was just as inhospitable as the canyon. The cook had a pan of biscuits, which he left on a rock for them, after the men had helped the party lift the boats over the rocks at the head of the rapid. After landing in safety around a bend which hid them from sight, the boating party fired their guns, hoping they would hear the report, and follow in the abandoned boat. It is doubtful if they could hear the sound of the guns, above the roar of the rapid. If they did, they paid no attention to it. The younger Howland wished to remain with the party, but threw his lot with his brother, when he withdrew.

While these men did not have the Major's deep scientific interest in the successful completion of this exploration, they undoubtedly should have stayed with their leader, if their services were needed or desired. It is more than likely that they were insubordinate; they certainly made a misguided attempt, but in spite of these facts it scarcely seems just to brand them as cowards. Two days after they left, the boating party was camped at the end of the canyons.