Superimposed Grand Canyon profile on vintage radio. Text: Echoes from the Canyon, Grand Canyon NP


Echoes From the Canyon

Echoes from the Canyon brings to life the legends, lore, and human history of Grand Canyon via tall tales, poetry, music, and cultural narrative. Through modern methods, we continue the traditional storytelling our ancestors have practiced for generations, in hopes yesterday’s voices may find tomorrow’s ears.


Episode One: Grand Canyon Mysteries


Introduction: The human history at the Grand Canyon is as varied and unique as the canyon itself. From ancient First Peoples, to Spanish Conquistadors, to a modern assortment of oddballs, dreamers, and entrepreneurs. These are their stories. Echoes from the Canyon.

Segment One: Inspired by exciting tales of recent river trips, young newlyweds Glen and Bessie Hyde fantasized about the rapids of the Colorado River during a summer of tending family fields in Idaho. Soon after harvest was stored for the year, they made their way to Green River, Utah to gather supplies and build their vessel, a flat-bottomed sweep scow. On October 20th, 1928, they began their journey, launching on the river they would never leave…

I was planning to join my son and Bessie. I should have been with them. They say I should stop searching, but I can’t. I know the possibility of finding them alive is not good, but there might be a chance, I know my boy. Even though he and Bessie only know the canyon through books and maps I know Glen can survive in any environment. I taught him how. It was just the two of us for so long, ever since my Mary left us when Glen was thirteen. He didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth. We are survivors. We do what we need to do.

It has been 702 days since they were last seen and 690 days since Bessie’s last journal entry, but I cannot stop searching. Searching for the only answer as to what happened, what accident could have occurred. It had to be an accident. Some say they might have purposefully hiked out and started new lives. Glen wouldn’t do that, he would not just walk away from me, from his farm, from his family. And he would not leave Bessie if she could not make it. He loves her so. You can tell she loves him just as much. You can see it in her eyes. No. It was an accident. It had to be an accident. All their supplies were still on the boat. Bessie’s journal, Glen’s rifle, their money, their hiking and camping supplies, their food, all left on the scow. There was no sign of trouble, just the two of them missing. They had all they needed to survive and planned to stay near the water if anything went awry.

When his letter arrived about his accident in Marble Canyon, I wondered how Bessie was doing on the trip. It would have shook me up to see Glen being thrown from the scow while going through a rapid, after getting knocked in the chin with the sweep. And then to see him struggle to get back on the boat after being underwater and tossed through the rushing water. Not the type of Honeymoon most girls would agree too. Bessie is different though. She is tough and eager for adventure.

I didn’t wait. They wrote me over and over that the worst water was behind them, but I never believed it. I never stopped fearing for them. I should have been there. I wished with all that I am that I would hear from my boy by December 11th, but, when I didn’t, I realized I wasn’t surprised. I didn’t wait. I was on my way to Las Vegas the next day.

I feel like I have searched everywhere and nowhere. I am thankful for so many folks who have helped me. I wish I could be on every search… on every ground search, on every plane, on every river trip. I have nothing left. I want to search every side canyon and ravine, but the money’s gone. This depression is hitting the country hard. Glen’s insurance money is gone. I have already mortgaged my farm, I have drained accounts. I have done things I am not proud of. I have nothing left except my will. I know that my boy and sweet Bessie have passed. I just cannot stop trying to find them, I NEED to know what happened!

I believe I know where it happened now. I thought for so long that the water was calm in that part of the river, no matter what anyone said. That rapid was worse than I ever knew. Ellsworth has helped me understand this. I am a man who accepts what comes my way, but, in this case, I wish so many things had gone differently. I wish they had accepted the life preservers Emery had offered them when they stopped at the village on the south rim. I wish there had been more water when they ran the river. I wish we had checked what was on the other end of the scow line before Emery had cut it. That line was stuck tight to something below the waves.

Despite it all, I have been planning a fourth search, this time by water. I want to give those side canyons to the north, too rugged to reach by foot, a closer look. When I sleep, I search for them, every night. Until I have the means again, dreams will have to do. As I sit in this cabin on Glen’s property, I am accompanied by sweet Bessie’s final words and poems, and I still have what Nelson brought me from their last camp. A few dry lima beans. A can just like any I have in the larder here on the farm. The only difference is I know my son and his sweet wife touched them. *p* It is the closest I may ever get to my boy.

Rollin Hyde never made it back to Grand Canyon to continue the search for his son. He continued out his days on his and Glen’s farm in Idaho. In 1945, Rollin passed away at the age of 86, fifteen years after his last search. He never found out what happened to his son and Bessie. The honeymooner’s disappearance on the Colorado River is still one of the greatest mysteries of Grand Canyon history.

Interlude One: Mermaid Doll Oh! Momma dear, please come! My dolly must be drown, When I put her on the creek, She sunk without a sound.

Wee Betty’s eyes filled with tears, Where could poor dolly be? Perhaps she’d turned to a mermaid, and drifted out to sea.

Segment Two: Grand Canyon National park like most places in the Southwest has many farfetched stories and exaggerations. Many of these tales are as tall as the canyon’s walls. Between the miners, rangers and mule wranglers it can be difficult to tell when truth gets in the way of a good story. However out of all the locations within the canyon Phantom Ranch seems to be the setting of many plots.

Found at the bottom of Grand Canyon by the Colorado River Phantom Ranch is considered an oasis by backpackers and mule riders with an abundance of shade, creeks, with lodging and lemonade for sale. Despite its long history there remains many unanswered questions about the ranch. During my time as a at Phantom I heard accounts by others that I found hard to believe.

Ranchers and Mule wranglers told me the old bunkhouse at Phantom Ranch is known to be haunted. It’s said a female mule wrangler was surprised when she was a ghost of a mule packer standing inside the bunkhouse of where he died of natural causes. She also said was more concerning to know she would sleep in the same bed he died in.

Many hikers and campers in the campground say they have seen shadows walking past them, sometimes wearing clothes from a different time, like suits and ankle length skirts from the 1950s, while others dressed as hikers ask only for water. Others have heard the crunch of heavy boots on gravel without seeing the source noise. I do not know if I believe these stories but there are parts of Phantom that remain unexplained.

One that remains is how Phantom acquired its name. The Ranch itself was named by its architect and designer Mary Jane Elizabeth Colter. The story goes that the Ranch’s owners as well as Colter’s employer the Fred Harvey Company wanted to name the lodge Roosevelt Chalet. Named after President Theodore Roosevelt who visited the area about 8 years before. Apparently, Colter said that Roosevelt had too many places already named after him and demanded the name be Phantom Ranch after the nearby Phantom Canyon.

The origin of Phantom Canyon is harder to place. It is not known who or when Phantom was given its name or what name it had before. There are several explanations but nothing beyond theories and guesswork. Debe Branning wrote this about Phantom Canyon in Grand Canyon Ghost Stories.

“There is much speculation to why the word Phantom became associated with the area. Phantom Ranch was said to be named after Phantom Creek which appears to be hidden from view like a phantom. Legends tells us that prospectors called it Phantom because of the eerie misted filled the air on cold mornings deep in the canyon. Perhaps it seems like a ghost because of the elusive oasis tucked away in the folds of Phantom fault cannot be seen from the rim. Others proclaimed is named after the ominous Phantom Rock. This formation stands about 2 miles north of the ranch along North Kaibab trail it is a rocky projection that since along the trail and resemble a dark cloaked phantom.”

It may be hard to know of sure how Phantom Canyon received it’s name but hike through its narrows during the right or wrong time it’s easy to see that Phantom is a fitting one. On cold mornings there can be a fog, or smoke drifting through the quiet canyon. During the Summer Monsoon season, hiking up the creek can turn from a relaxing swimming hole to a tragic misstep. A few minutes after stepping off trail into the water is how quickly the canyon turns into a narrow channel, and the sky into a thin blue line. It would be nearly impossible to see any sign of a storm approaching. The only warning of a flash flood in the canyon would a slow rumble like a thunder that doesn’t stop but only grows louder. Visitors caught in a flash flood within Phantom Canyon are often swept away. In July 1997 one visitor was caught in a flood and was tossed a half mile downstream before he was able to self-rescue. He escaped but others are often not as fortunate.

The person who named Phantom Canyon will probably never be known. We will never know why or for what reason Phantom was the world that came to their mind, and why that name that has stuck for over a hundred years. It is one side canyon amongst hundreds of others within the National Park. If one canyon can hold this many stories and unanswered questions, one can only imagine what other canyons can tell.

Interlude Two: Community: Howdy, William Bass here. I started Bass Camp in 1884 and it has become home to quite the community of visitors. Often, they come for a week and stay for a month. I’ve shared my home with the like of Zane Grey, John Muir, Thomas Moran, and even Henry Ford. I’m a member of a larger community of prospectors along the rim, but also have grown close to my neighbors the Havasupai who helped me locate local springs and in turn I’ve given them seeds, and championed efforts to build a school and post office in Havasu Canyon. There are a lot of great people in this great place, so come on out and let me introduce you to them all. I’m William Bass, and we’ll leave the lantern lit for ya.

Segment Three: On May 24, 1869 John Wesley Powell left Green River Station, Wyoming Territory, with nine men in four wooden boats with the intention of running the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, the last unexplored area in the west. On August 30, 1869, Powell floated out of the Grand Canyon with five men and two boats, having achieved his goal. What happened to the four men who started the trip but did not finish it? Frank Goodman, an Englishman who was roaming the American West in search of “experience” found it when he signed on to Powell's expedition. He nearly drowned in early June at Disaster Falls when his boat sank taking all his gear and clothing with it, along with a third of the supplies of the expedition. By early July Goodman had had enough; his nerves were shot. On July 5 he walked away from the expedition and back to civilization. Powell and eight men continued on.

The men endured hardship after hardship. They ran dangerous rapids. They lined, that is, they walked along the shore holding onto lines attached to the boat as it floated through the rapid, or portaged, that is, carried, the boats along the shore to be relaunched below the rapid. They were thrown overboard and had to swim for their lives. What food they had left spoiled. They suffered through 100-degree heat and flash floods. By mid-August they were fighting with one another at every turn. On August 27 they arrived at what was to be named Separation Rapid, one of the worst yet. After scouting from both shores the men determined that they could neither line nor portage around it and had no choice but to run it.

Three men, however, had reached their limit: Oramel Howland, his brother, Seneca, and William Dunn.

They decided to hike out of the Canyon and walk overland to one of the Mormon settlements they knew to be in the area, rather than to commit certain suicide by running the rapid. On the morning of August 28 Powell and the remaining five men boarded two of the boats (leaving one behind) and successfully ran the rapid. Dunn and the Howlands, having watched the boats make it to safety below, turned away and climbed out of the Canyon.

One week later as Powell and his brother Walter were travelling through St. George, Utah, on their way to Salt Lake City, he asked for news about the three men who had left the river on August 28 and travelled overland. The first news of their fate arrived in St. George by telegram on September 7, a few days after Powell's inquiry. It stated that three white men were killed by Shivwits Paiutes in retaliation for killing a girl. The telegram had no indication of who sent it or where it was sent from. When Powell heard this news he strongly disagreed with the notion that his men would kill an innocent girl. Several days later a dispatch was received by Powell in Salt Lake City stating that a Southern Mormon elder had discovered the bodies, but there is no mention of what he did with the bodies. By the end of the month the story had changed: the three men did not molest the girl, rather they were killed by an enraged Shivwits whose friends had been killed by miners on the other side of the Colorado River. The story continues with the claim that the Shivwits burned all the papers possessed by the three men. The papers were presumably the duplicate records of the expedition the men were carrying.

The story changes once again in a November letter written by one Joseph Johnson, a resident of St. George, when it is reported that the men raped the girl before killing her and that once they had been murdered their bodies were left to the wolves. This story is immediately discounted and Johnson states that the Paiutes killed the white men for what they had. Now the motive is robbery. Johnson changes his story in December when he writes that the men were killed by a band of Shivwits who were seeking revenge for one Shivwits Paiute who was killed by miners across the Colorado River. The final known written account, penned by the aforementioned Southern Mormon elder, Erastus Snow, on December 9, states that he sent out a search party in response to Powell's inquiry in early September (although he failed to mention this in his September dispatch to Salt Lake City).

The search party returned with the news that some Paiutes had killed three white men about 100 miles southeast of St. George, not because they had provoked the Paiutes, but in retaliation for some miners who had killed some Paiutes and ravished their girls on the other side of the Colorado River. The following summer Powell returned to the area to plan another river trip and met with the Shivwits to try to get some answers. A Mormon guide named Jacob Hamblin translated the exchange. The Shivwits admitted to the killing but now it was one girl who was killed by miners in a drunken brawl and Powell's men happened along at the wrong time and were killed in revenge.

So, what really happened? No bodies have ever been found, although one of the original expedition members, William Hawkins, stated a few months before he died in 1919, that he had found and buried the bodies in the Shivwits Mountains below Kanab Wash, a statement that has never been verified. None of the men's possessions have been found, although Jack Sumner claimed to have seen the silver watch he gave to Oramel Howland to give to his sister, in the possession of a drunken carouser. Their papers, possessions, and bodies disappeared, seemingly into thin air. All we have are changing stories and unconfirmed theories. Were they killed by Paiutes or by Mormons, who thought the men were federal agents sent to harass them, and who then blamed the Paiutes when they realized their mistake? Why did the story keep changing? Did Jacob Hamblin give a faithful translation of the Shivwits confession to the murders?

If the Paiutes did admit to killing the white men why were they not charged and punished?

All we have are unanswered questions. If somebody finds a pile of bones one day on the Shivwits Plateau, and DNA analysis proves they belong to Oramel Howland, Seneca Howland, and William Dunn, maybe then we will know what happened to the three men who hiked out of Separation Canyon on August 28, 1869 and were never seen again.

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Segment Four: Now, if you read the hist’ry books, or talk to anyone who knows anythin’ about the history o’the Grand Canyon, they’ll prob’ly all tell you that Major John Wesley Powell was the first man to run the Colorado River through Grand Canyon, on his expedition in 1869. But if you really start diggin’, an’ you talk to real down-to-earth western frontier folk, miners and prospectors like me’self, or folks who live at the Grand Canyon or who run the Colorado River, you might hear the name of another fella: James White.

Now, James White was pulled outta the Colorado River in Callville, Arizona Territory, which is about 60 mile down the river from the Grand Wash Cliffs at the western end o’the Grand Canyon, in early September 1967. He was floatin’ on a raft made o’ logs tied together, if you can believe it. Half naked and on death’s very doorstep, he was, starvin’ and covered with sores and cuts and bruises, his hair an’ skin bleached from the sun, barely showin’ any sign o’ life. Bunch o’ folks pulled him out o’ the river, wonderin’ where on God’s green Earth he coulda come from. Ain’t nobody usually come DOWN the river to Callville, ‘cept a group o’ Mormons earlier that year in the spring, led by a fella named Jacob Hamblin. And they sure didn’t look like this fella after that trip.

The whole region upriver o’ the Grand Wash Cliffs, for a thousan’ mile, was still marked “unexplored” on maps in those days. No one really knew what was there, ‘cept tales of a gigantic canyon the likes o’ which no one ever saw, with walls soarin’ thousands o’ feet high on either side o’ the river. But by the looks of ‘im, this fella White may well have gone through there, so naturally, the folks in Callville were pretty keen on hearin’ his tale. Turns out, he’d been prospectin’ for gold with two other fellas over in Colorado Territory in the San Juan Mountains about a month before, workin’ their way from the San Juan River up north towards the Grand, when a band of Indians jumped ‘em. Leader o’ the group, fella by the name o’ Captain Baker, was shot an’ killed right off the bat, but White an’ the other fella, George Strole, managed to escape with their horses down a side canyon and reach the river. Which river they reached, well, Mr. White wasn’t so sure o’ that; Captain Baker’d been leadin’ ‘em, ya see, and he knew the country better’n they did. And runnin’ from the Indians as they were, what river i’twas prob’ly weren’t so important to ‘em at the time.

Anywho, under cover o’ dark, they took some supplies from their horses and some ropes, tied together a bunch o’ driftwood into a raft, and shoved off on the river to get away from the Indians what killed Cap’n Baker. After ‘bout four days on the river, Strole was washed off the raft in a rapid and drowned. After that, White tied himself to the raft with a length o’ rope, so’s he could pull he’self back to it anytime he was washed off. An’ it’s a good thing he did, too, ‘cause after that, he was runnin’ rapids one right after another, bein’ washed off his raft three or four times a day. No food, neither, seein’ as how the provisions they’d grabbed from the horses were washed away when George Strole drowned, so he had t’ scrounge for whatever he could find along the way, which weren’t much. At least two weeks on the river like that, he reckoned, though I imagine that keepin’ track o’ the days wasn’t much on his mind, so it may have been longer. After seven straight days with no food, White ran into some Indians who traded him part of a dog for one o’ his pistols. I s’ppose that after that long on the river with nothin’ to eat, even the hindquarters of a dog would seem like a feast.

After White was hauled outta the river in Callville, and he crawled back from the brink o’ death enough to tell his story best as he could ‘member it, the news traveled fast. Lots o’ folks in those days were real interested in hearin’ tell of what the “Big Canyon” of the Colorado was all about. One gentleman by the name o’ General William Palmer, who was headin’ up a survey for the railroad, heard about Mr. White’s adventure, so he sent a man to talk to ‘im an’ write down as much as he could ‘member ‘bout his trip down the river. Now, this feller, Dr. Charles Parry, was a learned man, some sort of scientist or other, so he took real careful notes and asked lotsa questions ‘bout Mr. White’s trip: where’d he start from, how long he was on the river, how many rapids did he run, how high were the canyon walls, and so on and so forth. An’ Mr. White did the best he could to recollect, but considerin’ the condition he was in, nearly dyin’ every single day, starvin’ and whatnot, he weren’t exactly in the frame o’ mind to be takin’ much note o’ such things.

Now, Mr. White wasn’t much for writin’, and he rather wanted to put the whole affair behind ‘im, so it mostly fell to others to write down and tell his story. An’ his tale ended up bein’ written down half a dozen different ways by different people, so what really happened ended up a bit jumbled in the end. Mr. White did write a letter to his brother back in Wisconsin, though, ‘bout three weeks after bein’ fished outta the river, recountin’ his adventures as best he could. An’ puttin’ aside the “official” report by Dr. Parry for the railroad survey, and the newspaper articles which started poppin’ up all over the country, I’d say Mr. White’s own words prob’ly tell the story best, an’ I just happen to have a copy o’ that letter with me here today:

Dear Brother, It has been some time since I have heard from you. I got no answer from the last letter that I wrote, for I left soon after I wrote. I went prospecting with Captain Baker and George Strole in the San Juan Mountains. We found very good prospects, but nothing that would pay. Then we started down [to]* the San Juan River. We traveled down about two hundred miles. Then we crossed over on [to the]* Colorado and camped. We laid over one day. We found out that we could not travel down the river, and our horses had sore feet, and we had made up our minds to turn back when we were attacked by fifteen or twenty Ute Indians. They killed Baker, and George Strole and myself took four ropes from our horses and an ax, ten pounds of flour, and our guns. We had fifteen miles to walk to the Colorado. We got to the river just at night. We built a raft that night. We got it built about ten o’clock. We sailed all that night.

We had good sailing for three days, and the fourth day George Strole was washed off the raft and drowned. That left me alone. I thought it would be my time next. I then pulled off my boots and pants. I then tied a rope to my waist. I went over falls from ten to fif-teen feet high. My raft would tip over three and four times a day. The third day we lost our flour, and seven days I had nothing to eat [but my] rawhide knife cover. The eighth or ninth day I got some mesquite beans. On the thirteenth day, [I met] a party of friendly Indians. They would not give me [anything] to eat, so I gave my pistols for the hind parts of a dog. I ate one for supper and the other for breakfast. On the fourteenth day, I arrived at Callville, where I was taken care of by James Ferry. I was ten days without pants or boots or hat. I was sun-burnt so I could hardly walk. The Indians took seven head of horses from us. Josh, I can’t write you half I underwent. I saw the hardest time that any man ever did in the world, but thank God, I got through safely. I am well again, and I hope these lines will find you all well. I send my best respects to all. Josh, answer this when you get it. Direct your letter to Callville, Arizona.

Now, to a simple prospector and man o’ the west such as me’self, Mr. White’s words ring true and honest. But it didn’t take long for folks to start tryin’ to tear him down. Just two years later, in 1969, Major Powell finished his famous expedition down through the Big Canyon o’ the Colorado, or Grand Canyon as he started callin’ it, an’ right away he an’ his men started sayin’ there was no way that one man on a raft coulda made that trip. An’ after Powell’s second expedition a few years later, he got real famous real quick, what with his book an’ all. Major Powell and some o’ his men took the time to write everythin’ down, and he had lotsa food an’ supplies, so he could stop all the time in the canyon, draw pictures, make maps, an ‘ take measurements with his fancy science ‘quiment an all. Mr. White couldn’t do none o’ that. An’ Major Powell insisted on portagin’ around or linin’ his boats through every rapid he could, to the point where even his own men were gettin’ fed up, ‘cause they thought they could run most o’ those rapids just fine. So it took Powell and his men way longer to get through that canyon than it prob’ly should have, and most o’ those rapids prob’ly weren’t nearly as tough as he made ‘em out to be. But after Powell turned into a big shot back east in Washington, most folks forgot about poor ol’ James White.

Thing is, that was just fine with him. Ya see, Mr. White just wanted t’ferget about the whole thing and move on with ‘is life. Like most of us prospectors and frontiersmen out west, Mr. White was a simple man, not much book learnin’, tryin’ to make his way in the world. He worked odd jobs here and there, moved around a lot, lived off the land, even did a stint in the Army durin’ the Civil War, though he never saw any combat. And from time to time, like so many of us, he tried his hand at prospectin’ for gold, hopin’ to get lucky and strike it rich, a dream that never really panned out for most of us. He certainly never wanted to end up floatin’ down a river on a raft for weeks and nearly dyin’ in the process; not that he even really knew that the Grand Canyon o’ the Colorado even existed at the time, much less that he could get famous by passin’ through it! But fancy, important folks like Major Powell, well, they always make a big deal about who was “first” to do somethin’, so naturally, Mr. White’s trip through Grand Canyon would rub them the wrong way.

A few years down the road, another feller by the name o’ Richard Stanton made an even bigger fuss outta White’s story. He led the second successful expedition down the Colorado through Grand Canyon, ya see, and I s’ppose bein’ second was pretty important to ‘im, ‘cause he spent years tearin’ apart the diff’rent accounts o’ White’s trip, tryin’ to prove there was no way he coulda done what people said he did. Now, there’s no doubt a’tall that White ended up in Callville on a raft lookin’ like death itself, but Stanton tried to say that he’d actually put inta the river up at the Grand Wash Cliffs, meanin’ he’d only been on the river sixty miles. There ain’t even really any rapids along that stretch, and Jacob Hamblin an’ his boys had made that trip just a few months before in two days! An’ they certainly didn’t almost die in the process. Stanton tried t’say that Cap’n Baker had led them from the San Juan River aaaallllllll the way over to the Grand Wash Cliffs before they were attacked by the Indians, which woulda taken them WEEKS, and that jus’ don’ make no sense a’tall. White an’ Strole may not have known for sure where they were, but Cap’n Baker sure did.

So lots o’ folks o’er the years have tried to say that there’s no way James White coulda done what he said he did, though really, it twasn’t really ever him that said what he did at all. He didn’t even know WHAT he’d done, ‘till other folks like General Palmer and Dr. Parry told ‘im. An’ he certainly never tried to make no money off it, nor claim any fame or glory, neither. But even so, big shots like Powell and Stanton poked holes in his story, said his distances and times weren’t right, that the river was too wild for ‘im to survive such a journey, and so on. Some folks even went so far as to call him a LIAR, said he made the whole thing up. Now, why White’d make up such a story about a canyon he didn’t even really know existed, and how he ended up almost dead on a raft in Callville if he made the whole thing up, none o’ that makes sense to me a’tall. Seems t’me that things prob’ly went down ‘bout how he said they did, and in runnin’ for his life and almos’ dyin’ o’ starvation or drownin’ in the rapids, he jus’ jumbled up some details along the way. And even so, he still managed to get lotsa things right ‘bout the canyon, things no one shoulda known at the time. General Palmer even got Major Powell to admit as much when they happened t’meet right after Powell’s first expedition; Palmer went through the report Parry’d written line by line, talkin’ ‘bout how high White’d said the canyon walls were, how wide the river was, the high water mark on th’ canyon walls, and even though Powell kept on sayin’ “Yeah, that’s true” or “Well, that sounds about right”, he still swore up an’ down he was first through the canyon and there weren’t no way that White coulda made his trip the way he’d recollected it.

Point bein’, lotsa folks have had lots t’ say ‘bout White’s story o’er the years, a lot more than White himself ever really had to say ‘bout it. An’ we may never know for sure what really happened, or whether White was really the first person through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River. Not that it ever really seemed to matter all that much to White himself, mind you. But to those folks who say that White’s trip as he told it is “impossible”, I’d say that Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, a Colorado River runner he’self, said it best:

“To those who say that such a voyage could not be made on a raft, I answer that men in desperate circumstances have accomplished more dangerous feats than running Colorado River rapids on a raft, although I would never, in my weakest moments, venture such a trip. To those who say that White is wrong on certain points, I say to imagine yourself starved, cold, and scared as hell in the middle of the Colorado River on a raft, and then ask yourself whether you would give a tinker’s damn about the scenery or details of it. I repeat that nothing yet has been brought forward to make me accept anyone other than White as the first through here.”

Credits/Outro: Echoes from the Canyon was produced by Park Rangers at Grand Canyon National Park including: Tarryn Bartkus, Luke Bowman, Christina Caparelli, Jeremy Childs, Joe Dawson, Joel Kane, Ty Karlovetz, Nettie Klingler, Rader Lane, Bryan Maul, Brendan Oates, Greg Rasanen, Ann Scott, Tish Tacket, David Whitebread, and John Wishart. We hope you can join us for the next episode. Until then, happy trails and stay safe!

The very first episode of the brand new Echoes from the Canyon Radio Hour shares the tall tales, disappearances, folklore, and unbelievable mysteries found at the Grand Canyon. Developed by park rangers using first-hand accounts and primary documents, human history comes alive in this new series. Mysteries abound in the Grand Canyon!