Later this month, members of my extended family and I (about 12 of us in all) are taking a family vacation, and one of the places we plan to visit is the Grand Canyon. I’m soooooo excited!! That’s one of the top places on my wish list of places to visit ‘one day’.
And of course, as soon as I found out we were going, I had to do some research into some of the history of the area. One of the things I discovered was the story of the 1869 expedition of Major John Wesley Powell and nine other men into the Grand Canyon.
The journey they took would involve traveling for three months to traverse nearly 1000 miles through previously uncharted canyons. And when they finally emerged at the mouth of theVirgin River, there were only six men remaining of the original ten.
Major Powell, the leader of this expedition, was a veteran of the Civil War, who had lost and arm during the battle of Shiloh. He returned to service as soon as he was able and only ‘mustered out’ when the war had ended. After the war he took the position of Professor of Geology and museum curator at the Wesleyan University at Bloomington Illinois. During this time he took several field trips out west and began to consider the feasibility of exploring theGrand Canyon.
Powell eventually recruited nine men to make the trip with him, and the ten set out from Green River Station in the Wyoming Territory on May 24 1869 with a cheering send off from a crowd of onlookers.
Early into their trip, however, disaster struck. One of their boats was lost at a rapids they appropriately christened Disaster Falls, and with it went many crucial supplies and provisions. Less than a month later, Frank Goodman, an Englishman and skilled boathandler who had joined the expedition looking for adventure, declared that he had had enough. He walked away and it is thought he spent the next several years living among the Indians in eastern Utah.
Later, three other men, fearful that they would perish if they continued to face the treacherous rapids, decided to leave the expedition together. Unfortunately, they did not fare as well as Goodman – they were killed by Indians who mistook them for a band of marauders. It was only two days later, on July 29, that Powell and the remaining men reached the mouth of theVirgin River. Powell had succeeded in what he set out to do – explore the length of the Grand Canyon and see its wonders for himself.
There are many other interesting stories surrounding the Grand Canyon, and I can’t wait to see the place for myself – or at least a part of it. I plan to take LOTS of pictures, so look for them on my facebook page later this month.
If you’ve been paying attention, then you know the Fillies are having a contest and giving away a Grand Prize of a $100 gift certificate to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble, along with gift cards worth $25 to two other lucky winners. Don’t forget to comment to get your name in the pot.
And here’s my contribution to the compilation of P&P Trivia: The brand spanking new header on our website is composed mostly of photos contributed by the Fillies themselves. My contribution is that picture on the left that shows the frilly lace skirt and cowboy boots. Its actually a cropped shot from one of my daughter’s wedding pics. I’ve attached the full shot for you below.