I am not sure that we can climb out of the canyon here, and, when at the top of the wall, I know enough of the country to be certain that it is a desert of rock and sand. I almost conclude to leave the river. But for years I have been contemplating this trip. To leave the exploration unfinished, to say that there is a part of the canyon which I cannot explore, having already almost accomplished it, is more than I am willing to acknowledge, and I determine to go on.
—John Wesley Powell, leader of the Powell expedition from Green River, WY to the mouth of the Virgin River, which lies in Utah, through the heart of canyon country, May 24th to August 30th, 1869. He retraced the route from 1871-72, this time taking photographs.