Mancos mapmaker chronicles John Wesley Powell’s epic 1869 journey

Southwest Life

Mancos mapmaker chronicles John Wesley Powell’s epic 1869 journey

In John Wesley Powell’s time, the Grand Canyon began at the confluence of the Grand (now the Colorado) River with the Little Colorado River. In his most famous lines from his book, he wrote that at that location on Aug. 13, 1869, “We are now ready to start our way down the Great Unknown ... we have an unknown distance yet to run, an unknown river to explore. What falls there are, we know not. What rocks beset the channel, we know not ...”
This painting shows the six men who survived John Wesley Powell’s epic 1869 boat trip through the Grand Canyon. Later, Powell took a train eastward from Salt Lake City and returned to Washington, D.C., as a preeminent explorer and hero of post-Civil War America. Though he left the Grand Canyon, it would never leave him. He spent the rest of his life engaged in science and understanding water in the West.
At a large square boulder in Disaster Falls in the Canyon of Lodore, John Wesley Powell’s men accidentally smashed a boat. They braved the raging spring waters to retrieve supplies including barometers Powell needed to gauge their drop in altitude. The boatmen were willing to return to the wreck because they had hidden a keg of whiskey in the forward compartment of the boat. The keg is pictured here.

Mancos mapmaker chronicles John Wesley Powell’s epic 1869 journey

In John Wesley Powell’s time, the Grand Canyon began at the confluence of the Grand (now the Colorado) River with the Little Colorado River. In his most famous lines from his book, he wrote that at that location on Aug. 13, 1869, “We are now ready to start our way down the Great Unknown ... we have an unknown distance yet to run, an unknown river to explore. What falls there are, we know not. What rocks beset the channel, we know not ...”
This painting shows the six men who survived John Wesley Powell’s epic 1869 boat trip through the Grand Canyon. Later, Powell took a train eastward from Salt Lake City and returned to Washington, D.C., as a preeminent explorer and hero of post-Civil War America. Though he left the Grand Canyon, it would never leave him. He spent the rest of his life engaged in science and understanding water in the West.
At a large square boulder in Disaster Falls in the Canyon of Lodore, John Wesley Powell’s men accidentally smashed a boat. They braved the raging spring waters to retrieve supplies including barometers Powell needed to gauge their drop in altitude. The boatmen were willing to return to the wreck because they had hidden a keg of whiskey in the forward compartment of the boat. The keg is pictured here.
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