Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Grand Canyon Becomes Official...!

It's hard to try and imagine what the first people to lay eyes on the Grand Canyon must have felt. Wonder, awe, amazement and so much more.

I personally have not been there, but it is on my bucket list. I can only guess at my reaction, but you can bet it will be something that mere words can't express.

Grand Canyon National Monument is created

Declaring that “The ages had been at work on it, and man can only mar it,” President Theodore Roosevelt designates the mighty Grand Canyon a national monument.

Home to Native Americans for centuries, the first European to see the vast brightly colored spectacle of the Grand Canyon was Don Garcia Lopez de Cardenas, who traveled through northern Arizona in 1540 with the Spanish explorer Coronado. Subsequent explorers also marveled at the amazing view from the rim, but few dared to attempt the treacherous descent into the 5,000-foot-deep canyon and explore the miles of maze-like twists and turns.

Even as late as the 1860s, the Grand Canyon remained terra incognita to most non-natives. In 1869, though, the geologist John Wesley Powell made his first daring journey through the canyon via the Colorado River. Powell and nine men floated down Wyoming’s Green River in small wooden boats to its confluence with the Colorado River (now in Canyonlands National Park), and then into the “Great Unknown” of the Grand Canyon. Astonishingly, Powell and his men managed to guide their fragile wooden boats through a punishing series of rapids, whirlpools, and rocks. They emerged humbled but alive at the end of the canyon in late August. No one died on the river, though Indians killed three men who had abandoned the expedition and attempted to walk back to civilization, convinced their chances were better in the desert than on the treacherous Colorado.

By the late 19th century, the growing American fascination with nature and wilderness made the canyon an increasingly popular tourist destination. Entrepreneurs threw up several shoddily constructed hotels on the south rim in order to profit from the stunning view. The arrival of a spur line of the Santa Fe railroad in 1901 provided a far quicker and more comfortable means of reaching the canyon than the previous stagecoach route. By 1915, more than 100,000 visitors were arriving every year.

Convinced it should be forever preserved for the benefit of the people, the conservation-minded President Theodore Roosevelt designated a large part of the canyon a national monument in 1908. Congress increased the protection of the canyon in 1932 by making it a national park, ensuring that private development would never despoil the Grand Canyon. Visitors today see a vista little changed from the one Lopez de Cardenas saw nearly 500 years ago.

Teddy Roosevelt probably did more for creating our park system than just about any other president. For that we owe him a great big "Thank You", don't you agree?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Temps are on the climb again!


linda m said...

I have been to the Grand Canyon a number of times ( I used to live in Flagstaff, AZ). I will never forget my first visit. I was struck "dumb". It was the most awesome sight I had ever seen. And that feeling never changed no matter how many times I visited as each time I saw something different. I feel everyone should visit it at least once in their life.

HermitJim said...

Hey Linda...
That's kinda how I figure I would be. I do hope to visit some day.
Thanks for stopping by today!

Chickenmom said...

Would love to see it in person - somehow I don't think videos on the internet would do it justice! 'Hope you are feeling better, too!

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
I reckon you are right about that! In person would be the way to go.
Thanks for coming over this morning!

Rob said...

The Grand Canyon is one of my favorite places.
Photos do not do it justice.... if you have some time on your hands it is worth the drive up to the south rim (I use Grand Canyon village with google maps on my phone, 1819 miles, 27 hrs from where I am).

I was last up there in 2015, spent a few weeks camped in the national forest dispersed camping area just outside the south park entrance. I used my old farts pass (America the Beautiful) to get in every day and just look at that giant hole in the ground & say "Wow!".
I wondered how long it was going to take me to get tired of saying "Wow!", I didn't.

I've been to the north rim too but I like the suddenness of the south rim better.

The last time I was there I gave a lot of thought to the first people who found it. Following game maybe, maybe just heading north, on foot no matter what the reason. They came out of the brush & trees and the world ended in front of them with this huge hole in the ground. Bigger than you can imagine (which is why you really need to go see it), one heck of a stumbling block if it was an obstacle in your path rather than a sight you'd come to see.

I ought to go back this spring & take my bride, she's never seen it...


HermitJim said...

Hey Rob...
Sounds like it would be a great trip for you and the missus. I appreciate the input.
Thanks for the visit today!