National Geographic : 1978 Jul
Stan congratulates me. He says I was right not to get off. How could I with my hand welded to the saddle horn? After that episode we get along fine-when I stop for pictures, Citation goes on without me. On a summer day as many as 1,500 people hike down the Bright Angel Trail. Millions of hiking boots and mules' hooves have ground it into an eight-mile-long sandbox. N THE TRAIL I meet a gray-haired lady hobbling along on rented crutches. She had broken a leg stepping off a six-inch curb two days before. Vera, 71, and Beecher Terrell, 70, left the rim at 6 a.m., walked to the river, and were returning the same day (right). "We move slowly, but we'll make it," Vera tells me. "We do it every year." (This past winter Vera wrote me that she had fallen into a bandstand while doing a polka and had broken her back, but expect ed to be up and on the trail soon. No drag outs, these two!) We stop at Indian Garden, a campground built around a spring, 3,000 feet below the rim. To provide shade, canyon photogra pher Emery Kolb 70 years ago stuck cotton wood branches in the ground like fence posts. Now a 60-foot canopy of trees shades the inner canyon's busiest campground. Its name, Bob Euler informs me, derived from its former use. In 1882 the Havasupai who lived along the South Rim were moved into a 518-acre reservation in Cataract (now Havasu) Canyon. A few stayed here and grew corn, squash, and beans until their eviction in 1911. According to children of the former residents, President Roosevelt personally asked them to leave because "he was going to make it a park for everyone." But at least two of the Indians remained until the 1940's. Before he became park anthropologist in 1974, Bob had worked with the Havasupai on their land-claims settlement. They con sidered him a friend. "When they heard I was joining the Park Service, they were hurt," Bob continues. "They wanted to know why I was going over to 'the enemy.' I don't think they've forgiven me yet." Since they still feel the land was tak en from them unfairly, they probably won't. Before the white man arrived, they hunted Grand Canyon: Are We Loving It to Death? along the South Rim in winter and used the inner canyon for summer gardening and as a source of water. Their canyon is considered a verdant paradise by visitors (pages 14-15); the Ha vasupai saw it as a prison.* The park expansion bill of 1975 awarded them 185,000 acres of land, 84,000 of it from the park. Various environmentalist groups ob jected strenuously. When I visited the village, Wayne Sin yella, tribal chairman, told me, "The Sierra Club thought our land settlement was a Tro jan horse that would spew out dams and piz za parlors in (Continuedon page 40) *See "Indian Shangri-la of the Grand Canyon," by Jay Johnston, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, March 1970. "Be in good, healthy condition," advise Vera and Beecher Terrell, who yearly hike from rim to river and back out. They stay in shape by dancing five nights a week. And Vera has been a jogger for twenty-one years-since she was 50.