National Geographic : 1969 May
out ancient structures, high up where the talus slope meets the wall of the cliff. It is a hard climb of 800 feet, more nearly vertical with each step, until the last 50 yards are a ledge-to-ledge struggle. At the top, tucked under the cliff, a series of small store rooms remains in near-perfect condition, even though no one has used them for 800 years. Kenny and Mike Garrett squeezed next to me on the ledge, and we gazed out upon a nature so profligate with her wonders that it numbed the senses. Dark clouds had built up far south of us; lightning stabbed a faraway world; then a rainbow arched over the entire canyon, anchored to one rim (page 687). "How did anybody ever make a living up here?" Kenny asked. "They sold hot dogs to river-runners," Mike joked. "They had to be mighty hungry," replied Kenny, looking back down that long slope. Unsolved Mystery: Powell's Hieroglyphs Powell had noted these and other ruins with great interest. In Glen Canyon he inves tigated an old dwelling with a kiva, the sacred underground room which the modern Pueblo Indians, like their ancestors, reserve for religious rites. At the Little Colorado his men found ruins, fragments of pottery, and hi eroglyphs-which later investigators have searched for in vain. The one-armed soldier-scientist made a shrewd and correct observation, that the ruins were those of "the people who inhabited this country anterior to the present Indian races." In later years, as founder and first head of the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of American Ethnology, Powell would help to open the long-closed book of the history of our Indian tribes. At Unkar Creek, downstream from Nan koweap's cliff structures, the river bends abruptly to the east and churns through rapids in the shadow of a 600-foot cliff. Oppo site the cliff, beyond a wide beach piled high with driftwood, a gentle slope contains the ruins of an ancient Indian village. Here Dr. Schwartz and a crew of 20 stalwart students had spent the broiling days of June 1968 excavating dozens of sites. "Never lost a visitor yet!" A National Park Service mule named Harris reviews a tour ist caravan wending up to the South Rim after a trek down Bright Angel Trail. The sure-footed, well-trained beasts move steadi ly with little prodding or rein-tugging. 692 EKTACHROMEBYWALTERMEAYERSEDWARDS N.G.S . On an earlier trip I had flown down to Unkar from the South Rim aboard a supply helicopter. We skimmed the top of the pifion forest for a few miles; there was no hint in the haze ahead that the great canyon was there. "All set?" pilot Wayne Learn asked. "Set for what?" I replied. Then, suddenly, the world beneath us van ished, and we were plummeting through a colossal space between towering cliffs. Wayne had a broad grin on his face.