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Adventures in the Canyons of the Colorado By two of its earliest explorers   By: (1848-1933)

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[Frontispiece: Mr. W. W. Bass with his old indian friend. Mr. Bass has written the tradition and history of the Havasupai Indians and taught them our language.]


in the Canyons of the Colorado

By two of its earliest explorers,

James White and W. W. Hawkins

with introduction and notes



The Grand Canyon Guide


Published at Grand Canyon, Arizona

by the Authors

Copyright, 1920



Grand Canyon, Ariz.



Author of "In and Around the Grand Canyon," "Arizona the Wonderland," "The Grand Canyon of Arizona," "New Mexico, the Land of the Delightmakers," etc., etc.

The more the people of the United States know of their scenic wonderlands the more interest will there be aroused as to "who first saw" this or the other of them. The arousement of this especial interest in regard to the Grand Canyon and its tributaries is growingly apparent. A hundred thousand Americans see the Grand Canyon today where one saw it at the time of my first visit, nearly forty years ago.

Among the hordes of people attracted to the Grand Canyon by curiosity, scenic allurement, business, pleasure or what not, but two have gained any fame as guides to its wondrous depths and rim revelations. These two are John Hance and William Wallace Bass. I knew Hance long before he had dreamed that the Canyon would help make him famous; I ate venison stew with him when he was but a cowboy in the employ of the proprietor of the Hull ranch; I wrote the first account of those peculiar and exaggerated yarns of his that gained him his fame as the "Munchausen of the West." It was on these yarns alone that his fame reposed. He was never a guide. He knew nothing of the Canyon, east or west, twenty miles from the trail that unfortunately was named after him. He never read a line of its history, and never cared to know who first discovered it. He got lost years after the Canyon was being visited by great numbers of whites, when he attempted to guide a party to the home of the Havasupai Indians, whose ancestors made the trail which he discovered and claimed as his own.

On the other hand, William Wallace Bass, who came to the Canyon some years ahead of Hance, felt its peculiar allurements from the first moment he saw it. There is no man living who has been more deeply interested in studying its geological history, in searching the tomes of the past for stories of its discovery, and in promoting the intelligent interests of literary men, artists, photographers, poets, geologists, students and tourists who have come to visit it than has he. His library upon the subject is exhaustive and complete, and he is so well versed in some features of its local geology, that he has changed many a scientist's opinions as to the secret of its formation and development. John C. Van Dyke wrote truly of him when he said in his recent book on the Grand Canyon, he "has been 'the guide, philosopher and friend' of almost every geologist at the Canyon. Unquestionably he knows the geology of the region."

Born in Shelbyville, Indiana, in 1848, he came to Arizona, by way of an hospital for incurables in New York, to die. Life in the open gave him a new hope, and at 72 he is still hale, hearty, vigorous and capable of more work than many a city bred youth of 25. His life in Arizona has been a romance throughout, and in much of it I have either shared or been an interested spectator. My first meeting with Mr. Bass was at Flagstaff in 1888, under the following circumstances:

I had gone out to the Canyon, from Flagstaff, with the Rev. Stewart Conrad Wright, a Methodist minister, and several women. The Methodist church at Flagstaff had just been built, and on my return the minister invited me to give a lecture on what I had seen. At the close of the talk which undoubtedly was a pretty crude though enthusiastic attempt Mr... Continue reading book >>

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