John Wesley Powell -- 150 years ago today - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-24-2019   #1
My name isn't Will
Will Amette's Avatar
Willamette Valley, Oregon
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John Wesley Powell -- 150 years ago today

It was May 24, 1869 that ten brave and/or foolish men set off from Green River, Wyoming on a Journey of Discovery. They rowed 21-foot long rowboats the entire length of the Green River to its confluence with the Colorado and then through the entirety of the Grand Canyon. Six of these men passed the Grand Wash Cliffs exiting the Grand Canyon, and 122 days after their departure, their journey ended near the mouth of the Virgin River.

I run a church called Church of Flowing Water. I should add May 24 as a holiday.

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Old 06-07-2019   #2
Castle Rock, Colorado
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Powell anniversary trip

These guys were on the Green through Dinosaur the same time with us.
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Old 06-22-2019   #3
Fraser, Colorado
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One of my boating friends is doing that trip for Oars right now. Gonna be some Big water when they get down to Cat!! Sure wish I could go......
The river probably thought, “ he is such an insignificant, pitiful, little creature, with such a short time to live, I will let him go this time, and try to teach him something” - Buzz Holmstrum
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Old 06-27-2019   #4
Join Date: Jul 2017
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150th Anniversary Posters

The Wyoming Archaeology posters this year feature JWP 150th Anniversary - they are pretty cool! You can get them free if you pay shipping or pick them up in Cheyenne at the State Museum.
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Old 06-27-2019   #5
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Flagstaff, Arizona
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Here is Marston's recounting of this week's run:

"Monday, June 21, saw an early start, and they waltzed around the end of Echo Rock and had trouble spinning in whirlpools in the narrow anticlinal canyon below. The vigorously plying oars-men heeded the roaring command of the cataract’s merry mood, and they lined once before the noon stop and one short distance in the afternoon. At the end of what Sumner estimated to be a fifteen-mile run, they camped at the mouth of a fine trout stream entering from the west and named it Brush Creek. They named this section of the river Whirlpool Canyon, due to their difficulties of navigation. The trout drew Howland from his notes and mapping. He and Hall brought in twenty for breakfast. The Major was sick.
A six-mile run in the morning brought them to a point where signs of deer and sheep seemed to justify hunting, and success was the usual. At one o’clock, the Emma glided headlong through a long rapid, and the crew could not pull her out of the waves at the bottom, which Sumner saw as ten feet high. She reared and plunged through them and shipped almost full of water. The Major was filled with exhilaration. The freight boats were lined. The remainder of the canyon, judged to be obliquely cataclinal, was run without lining. They ran out into the open at 4:00 p.m. and camped on the first island, for a run of twenty-six miles from Bear River according to Sumner’s estimate. Ashley had seen a number of buffalo here in 1825.
A sack of spoiled rice was thrown out. Sumner could see no value in the country they had passed in Whirlpool Canyon, except as a wildly scenic spot for an artist and an open book for the geologist. Hunting luck was changed by Hawkins the morning of the 23rd. He brought in the hindquarters of a fine fat buck at noon. They named a mountain for the hunter, but the name did not appear on the map in the Major’s Report. Goodman brought in a forequarter, while the remainder had been left hanging in a tree on the mountain. Camp was moved downriver four to five miles on the east side under some cottonwood, the meander of the river placing them within a mile of the previous site. The hunters were full of promises of death to other deer.
On the 24th, the Major and Howland climbed the mountain on the east and sketched the area, which they named Island Park. Bradley climbed the 2,800-foot mountain and brought in the remaining quarter of deer. From the heights, he could see the anticlinal cut of the fast river water through the mountain below them before it came out into fifty or sixty miles of open country.
Away early on the 25th, they whirled into the broad, flaring, brilliant gateway of Cragged Can-yon, which also bore the name The Divides. They portaged the loads twice and camped on the right at 11:00 a.m. at the head of “another impassable rapid,” due to Sumner being sick.
Two rapids were portaged in quick succession in the morning, while the Major climbed, look-ing for fossils for two hours. He found one and came back to find the men had picked up a peck of them on the banks of the river. At three o’clock, they took to the boats for four miles and debauched into the great Uinta Valley. The slow water necessitated rowing except for the Major, who watched for geese, and Howland, who sketched the river course as they moved along. The Major likened the yellow hills and intervening river to a billowing sea of molten gold. Ten poor geese were bagged, and they camped on the left under three large cottonwoods, twenty-three miles below the outlet from the canyon. They went to sleep to the serenade of coyotes. The Major had the camp ten miles from the canyon’s mouth and the canyon eight miles long. Bradley made the day’s run at thirty miles.
The bagging of eight geese was the feature of the thirty-six-mile row in slow water the next day. Camp was at the mosquito-infested mouth of a small dirty creek.
Forty-eight miles of rowing on the 28th brought them to the mouth of the Uinta River at 3:00 p.m. They pitched tents under a large cottonwood on a small bluff at the Denver and Salt Lake wagon road crossing. Sumner believed it had been little used since its creation in 1865. Dellen-baugh, on page 67 of A Canyon Voyage, dates the road crossing back to 1861. Powell reports having been to this point from his winter camp on the White River, 100 miles above the mouth. Again the mosquitoes were with them. A large fire was built, but attracted no attention. The distances esti-mated as run from the mouth of the canyon to the Uinta River totaled 134 miles, but the Major’s Report puts it at sixty-seven miles.
Sumner estimated the distance they had completed to be 356 miles and the distance to the junc-tion with the Grand River to be 300 miles. On the same day, news dispatches were going from Green River, Wyoming, telling that a lone survivor of the Powell party had just arrived there to report that he had witnessed a frightful disaster, in which all the members of the party had lost their lives some-time between May 8 and 18. It was taken as the biggest whirlpool story and little credence was given to the reports because many of the presented facts conflicted with each other.
The yarn was first pitched by an alleged horse thief, John A. Risdon, who got sufficient sympa-thy from passengers on a Union Pacific train to gather fair sustenance. The story popped up again with John Sumner the sole survivor. Much of the confusion came from a lack of understanding of the meaning of Brown’s Hole. The second yarn came from a man named Riley and it got some cur-rency due to the name of Sumner.
Mrs. Powell reported receiving letters dated as late as the 20th to 22nd of May and the Chicago Tribune published a letter dated May 24. Powell had not left Illinois until May 7 or 9. Mrs. Powell knew of no such man as Risdon being a member of the party. The Major’s brother-in-law also wrote a denial under the date of July 3. The probability is that the loss of the Hook party was tied in with the Powell party to create the false reports."
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