National Geographic : 1964 Apr
Wahweap sits on a high benchland overlook ing a dun wilderness of mammoth sandstone monuments carved by nature. "It's hard to believe," Art said, "but the wa ter will back right up here below us. We'll send our boats from here to Rainbow Bridge, up the San Juan, and all the way to Hite, Utah." "As an old desert rat, didn't you object to waters filling up your canyons?" I asked as a group of us prepared for a day on the river. "Yes, I fought it, but finally I decided 'if you can't lick 'em, jine 'em.' I remember when this country was so lonely that the jackrabbits spoke to the rattlesnakes when they met. Now a whole new breed of people can come out and be adventurers in safety." On the swift brown Colorado we suc cumbed to the beauty of the canyon as our 564 boats glided past cliffs 800 feet high. "Nothing more beautiful in the world," said Art, pointing out a water-stained cliff face. "Take a good look. All this will be drowned." Later we explored Dungeon Canyon, walk ing in ankle-deep water through a slit in the rock so narrow we could sometimes touch both sides. This side canyon, like many of its neighbors, is doomed to drown behind Glen Canyon Dam. On the other hand, many nat ural beauties now barely accessible to the average vacationer-magnificent Rainbow Bridge, for example-will be a comfortable speedboat ride away.* A windstorm blew up, whipping sand and spume in our faces at the same time. When we returned topside and reached Wahweap, we found the storm had been a real roarer. *See "Three Roads to Rainbow," by Ralph Gray, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, April, 1957.