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Canyons of the Colorado

John Wesley Powell

Book Overview: 

John Wesley Powell was a pioneer American explorer, ethnologist, and geologist in the 19th Century. In 1869 he set out to explore the Colorado and the Grand Canyon. He gathered nine men, four boats and food for ten months and set out from Green River, Wyoming, on May 24. Passing through dangerous rapids, the group passed down the Green River to its confluence with the Colorado River (then also known as the Grand River upriver from the junction), near present-day Moab, Utah.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ese lavas did not, however, come to the surface, but as they rose they lifted the sandstones, shales, and limestones, to a thickness of 2,000 or 3,000 feet or more, into great domes. Then the molten lavas cooled in great lenses of mountain magnitude, with the




sedimentary rocks domed above them. Then the clouds gathered over these domes and wept, and their tears were gathered in brooks, and the brooks carved canyons down the sides of the domes; and now in these deep clefts the structure of the mountains is revealed. The lenses of volcanic rocks by which the domes were upheaved are known as "laccolites," i. e., rock lakes.

Looking southwestward from the Henry Mountains the Circle Cliffs are seen. A great escarpment, several thousand feet in height and 70 or 80 miles in length, faces the mountain. It is . . . Read More

Community Reviews

I often find myself in despair over three things: (1) that I shall never again view Breaking Bad with fresh eyes; (2) the discovery of an empty milk carton after pouring a bowl of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs; and (3) that there is no part of the world left to discover and explore.

There are very fe

The journals from John Wesley Powell going down the Colorado. Incredible stories, but also a whole lot of geology. I had trouble putting the places he was talking about down on the map inside my head as he was telling the story. So, kind of dry.

You definitely need to have just been to the region described in this 'travel journal' to fully appreciate it. The descriptions of the rocks are pretty lengthy and scientific, as Powell was a geologist. However it is a wonderful 'holiday' read if you've only just travelled through these places, and

The first few chapters were a bit dry, but I really enjoyed the meat of his journal entries exploring the Green and then the Colorado rivers. He really inspired me to want to one day experience myself, in some degree, via the river. I read this book in tandem with a road trip to Lake Powell and the

Such a neat read! Actual diary log doesn’t start until page 134. Prior to that is a geographic description of the region, not too interesting. But the log itself of the famous 1869 Colorado river rafting journey is incredibly descriptive! Such amazing stories of this incredibly bad-ass explorer. The

Pretty great. The whole thing is good... as an adventure story, as history, as a look at the geography and people of the Grand Canyon and environs circa 1870. The last chapter, ostensibly on the geology of the Grand Canyon, but also a poetic reminiscence by a one-armed Civil War veteran about the pl

The book deserves a 5 star rating for the adventure/accomplishment. But, only 1 star for the prose. So, "3" it is. John Wesley Powell was an amazing adventurer. many times I had to remind myself that as he was describing what he was doing, he never included the fact that he only had one arm. I'm sti

I read this because I was planning a trip down the Colorado, and it was worth reading to learn about Wesley's expedition - his was the first group of "white" people to explore this territory and it was such a dangerous trip. So for those planning to do the Grand Canyon, I recommend it.

But his writi

While reading this epic adventure, you are forced to remind yourself that John Wesley Powell had lost his right arm at the Battle of Shiloh. You have to keep reminding yourself, because I believe that he only references the fact once or twice, as he's scrabbling up sheer rock faces, and frantically

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