Last Monday I went for a day hike at the Grand Canyon and stopped by the visitor center on the South Rim. And I thought, hey, this is totally a museum! Sweet! Ok, it is quite a thin museum. There is more open space than stuff, and I think people mainly go in there to ask the rangers questions.
But still, there was enough to make a Museum Tourist post, because check this out. It’s a boat.
Nowadays, people go down the Colorado River on inflatable rafts, often motorized. The first people to run the river did it in 1869, led by a one-armed Civil War veteran. This boat is from much later, the 1930s; like Powells’ boats, it was custom-made for the Grand Canyon. (Unlike Powell’s team, the people who built this boat actually knew what they were getting into.) This boat, the WEN, was built in the 1930s to run the Grand Canyon’s rapids. It was part of what made taking people down the Grand Canyon on a boat into a viable commercial enterprise.
Enough about boats. Here’s what you see if you walk about 5 minutes from the visitor center:
And here is what you see if you take a bus about 10 minutes from the visitor center and walk downhill for an hour:
And if you keep going half an hour beyond that, and you look another couple thousand feet down, or if you squint very closely at this picture, you see: the river.
It’s the brown thing right down at the bottom of the canyon. See? I brought it back to boats.
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