In 1869 Major John Wesley Powell led what was undoubtedly the first expedition to traverse the entire Canyon, and in 1871-3 he led a second trip to the Canyon and surrounding territory. In 1895 he published The Canyons of the Colorado, a popular account of his exploratory trips through the Canyon region. This book is available today in a Dover edition.
Frederick S. Dellenbaugh was on the second Powell expedition, and published a wonderfully readable account, A Canyon Voyage, in 1908, three and a half decades after the trip. The book conveys a refreshing, youthful point of view -- Dellenbaugh was 17 when he started on the expedition.
The Powell expeditions brought a certain amount of publicity to the Canyon, but it didn't cause a rush of people to the region -- it was still extremely remote, forbidding territory. By 1948 fewer than 100 people had traversed the Canyon.
In 1963 the Glen Canyon Dam was completed. Less than 1000 people had run the river.
© Copyright 1995 Songbird