The Grand Canyon of the Colorado

  • How ancient appear the crumbling basaltic monuments along its banks, and the gray plains to the east of the Cascades!  Nevertheless, the river as well as its basin in anything like their present condition are comparatively but of yesterday.  Looming no further back in the geological records than the Tertiary Period, the Oregon of that time looks altogether strange in the few suggestive glimpses we may get of it--forests in which palm trees wave their royal crowns, and strange animals roaming beneath them or about the reedy margins of lakes fake oakleys, the oreodon, the lophiodon, and several extinct species of the horse, the camel, and other animals.

    Then came the fire period with its darkening showers of ashes and cinders and its vast floods of molten lava, making quite another Oregon from the fair and fertile land of the preceding era.  And again, while yet the volcanic fires show signs of action in the smoke and flame of the higher mountains, the whole region passes under the dominion of ice, and from the frost and darkness and death of the Glacial Period, Oregon has but recently emerged to the kindly warmth and life of today.


    The Grand Canyon of the Colorado

    Happy nowadays is the tourist, with earth's wonders fake oakley sunglasses, new and old, spread invitingly open before him, and a host of able workers as his slaves making everything easy, padding plush about him, grading roads for him, boring tunnels, moving hills out of his way, eager, like the Devil, to show him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory and foolishness, spiritualizing travel for him with lightning and steam, abolishing space and time and almost everything else.  Little children and tender, pulpy people, as well as storm-seasoned explorers, may now go almost everywhere in smooth comfort, cross oceans and deserts scarce accessible to fishes and birds, and, dragged by steel horses, go up high mountains, riding gloriously beneath starry showers of sparks, ascending like Elijah in a whirlwind and chariot of fire.

    First of the wonders of the great West to be brought within reach of the tourist were the Yosemite and the Big Trees, on the completion of the first transcontinental railway; next came the Yellowstone and icy Alaska, by the northern roads; and last the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, which, naturally the hardest to reach, has now become, by a branch of the Santa Fe, the most accessible of all.

    Of course, with this wonderful extension of steel ways through our wildness there is loss as well as gain.  Nearly all railroads are bordered by belts of desolation.  The finest wilderness perishes as if stricken with pestilence cheap oakleys.  Bird and beast people, if not the dryads, are frightened from the groves.  Too often the groves also vanish , leaving nothing but ashes.  Fortunately, nature has a few big places beyond man's power to spoil--the ocean, the two icy ends of the globe, and the Grand Canyon.

    When I first heard of the Santa Fe trains running to the edge of the Grand Canyon of Arizona, I was troubled with thoughts of the disenchantment likely to follow. But last winter

    .   The locomotives and trains are mere beetles and caterpillars, and the noise they make is as little disturbing as the hooting of an owl in the lonely woods.