How to Explore the Grand Canyon in Rowboats (John Wesley Powell)



John Wesley Powell explored the Grand Canyon in a Rowboat
That beard, tho

John Wesley Powell, Union Civil War vet, amputee, and valiant adventurer, set off with his crew to do something that had never been done (and shouldn’t have been replicated). They navigated the Colorado River (and Green) from Wyoming all the way through the Grand Canyon. They did it in rowboats. Almost everybody survived.

The source for this episode was found at the venerable Half Price Books. It’s called Down the Great Unknown by Edward Dolnick. The book goes into crazy detail (so much so that one Goodreads reviewer whined unendingly about it with no sense of irony). I thoroughly enjoyed this book and if you liked the podcast episode or just want more of John’s brother Walter, you’ll enjoy it too.

I made a cool map for JWP’s expedition with major points and text that I borrowed from a now-defunct PBS site if you click on any of the points they’ll have a little bit of extra information about the location and what Powell or Bradley or Sumner said in his journal about it.

I’m trying to get the map embedded on the site, but in the meantime, you can access it on Google Maps.

David is baaaaaack. He’s tried out the NEMO Hornet and wanted to give a quick update. Then it went on for ten minutes. I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! Remember to leave a review about how much you hate him to prevent his return. We mentioned the stalwart MSR Mini Groundhogs, check ’em out. They’re some very pretty tent stakes.

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