1883 - Bryant Expedition
A WINTER EXPEDITION
Braving the Canyon
Seeing a Different Gorge
"For some distance... we had noticed almost a perfect reproduction of the 'Goddess of Liberty,' and depicted on the silver dollars caused by feldspar seams in the darker rocks. The figure was colossal and was seated on her throne about two thousand feet above the river," he wrote of an upstream scene.
Or later on he wrote, "Hereto was unfolded view after view of the most wonderful, the most thrilling of rock exposures, one vanishing from view only to be replaced by another still more imposing. A view which could easily be made into a Scottish Feudal Castle would be followed by another suggesting the wildest parts of... imposing height and majestic proportions."
The party observed the standing needle on what would later be called "The Giant's Stairway." During an enforced break they went out to it. "While standing on the solid rock of the canyon wall absorbed by the overpowering majesty and solemnity of the scene some one suggested stepping across that empty space... to the top of the needle and did so. It appeared incredible that this sliver of rock should have stood so long, or that it could be so exactly balanced as to stand at all; and the experience of seeing it in such a situation and surroundings aroused the wondering and reverent amazement of one's being."
Finishing the Work
"The simplicities of life, the primal lessons of humanity, were there impressed on the inmost consciousness never to be effaced. The overruling of a power mightier than one's conception of a force greater than one's utmost effort, yet always for the uplifting of man was here so evident that nothing less could be imagined."
Did You Know?
Before the creation of 3 dams upstream of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, the Gunnison River was as much as 5 times more powerful than it is today.