National Geographic : 1977 Jul
OUR WILD AND SCENIC RIVERS The Rio Grande By NATHANIEL T. KENNEY Photographs by BANK LANGMORE Quiet for a stretch between Big Bend's wreck boats and drown people. In spate it shifts channels, roaring at will over dry floodplains. Its spec tacular canyons, some with sheer walls reaching 1,500 feet to the sky, can hold river runners prisoner for days in times of stormy weather. If this 250-mile stretch of river is wild, the country through which it runs is yet wilder. Virtually trackless even today, it is a land of cactus, desert shrubs, and myriad arroyos. When the West was new, this was called the des poblado, the "unpeopled place," where only Indians could long survive.