National Geographic : 1969 May
EKTACHROMESBYWALTERMEAYERSEDWARDS book, The Exploration of the Colorado River. Now, after we banged through Badger Creek Rapids, Bill gruffly delivered a passage from Powell's journal. The words came to life as we beheld again the places he discovered. "And now," Bill read, "the scenery is on a grand scale. The walls of the cafion, 2,500 feet high, are of marble, of many beautiful colors, and often polished below by the waves.... At one place I have a walk, for more than a mile, on a marble pavement, all polished and fretted with strange devices, and embossed in a thou sand fantastic patterns." Below big, rough Soap Creek Rapids, we found such a place-slabs of polished lime stone overlapping like giant black-and-white pancakes. The sun rode high and made a caldron of the canyon as we climbed onto the burning pavement. John Evans and Ron Smith stayed behind, dousing the rafts with water. Ron was con cerned that the air inside, expanding in the sun's heat, would burst them. On a small ledge we found one of Marble Canyon's grim mementos-an old inscription chiseled into the face of a rock: F. M. BROWN PRESIDENT DCC & PRR CO. WAS DROWNED JULY 1O, 1889 OPPOSITE THIS POINT It was the tragic end of another of those large-scale dreams that so many men brought to the canyon country, only to be broken by it. Frank Mason Brown, a Denver business man, was encouraged by Powell's voyage to try something incredibly difficult: to build a railroad to San Diego through the Grand Can yon. He formed the Denver, Colorado Canyon and Pacific Railroad Company, and set out in the spring of 1889 to survey the route. In the small rapid below Soap Creek, at Salt Water Wash, Brown's boat went over. His oarsman was thrown into the current and swept to safety, but a whirlpool sucked Brown under. When, a moment later, engineer Robert (Continued on page 684) 677 N.G.S.