C. A. (Charles A.) Higgins.

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vegetation. The soil is sandy or rocky, and in
August the weather is warm. The altitude, aver-
aging 6,000 feet, insures cool nights, and the
absence of humidity forbids that the daytime heat
should be oppressive. Even if the pueblos as an
objective did not exist, a voyage into that country
of extinct volcanoes and strangely sculp-
tured and tinted rock-masses would be well
worth the making. Aside from the
powerful charm exerted by this region
upon all visitors, there is an invigorat-

ing tonic quality in the pure air of Arizona that
is better than medicine.

Like Acoma, the Moki pueblos are perched
on the crests of lofty mesas, and at the first
were well nigh inaccessible to enemies, their only
.approach being by way of narrow, precipitous
foot trails. In modern times less difficult paths
t/have been constructed, such fortress homes
being no longer needful for defense. But the
conservative Mokis continue to live as lived their
forbears and cling to their high dwelling place.
The women toil up the trails with water from
the spring below, and the men returning from
the fields climb a small mountain's height daily.
They are industrious, thrifty, orderly and mirth-
ful, and are probably the best entertained people
in the world. A round of ceremonies, each
terminating in the pageants called ''dances,"
keeps going pretty continuously the whole year,
and all the spectacles are free. Subsisting almost
wholly by agriculture in an arid region of uncertain
crops, they find abundant time between their labors
for lighthearted dance and song, and for elaborate
ceremonials, which are grotesque in the Kachina,
or masked dances, ideally poetic in the Flute dance,
and intensely dramatic in the Snake dance.

Of the last two, both of which are drama-
tized prayers for rain at an appointed season, the
former is picturesque in costume and ritual, and
impressive in solemn beauty; the latter is grim and
startling, reptiles including a liberal proportion of
rattlesnakes being employed as messengers to
carry petitions to the gods of the underworld, who
are supposed to have power over the rain cloud.

To the onlooker it seems impossible that venom-
ous snakes can be handled so audaciously without
inflicting deadly wounds, yet it is positively known
that they are in no wise deprived of their natural
power to do so. There are those who claim to
have seen the dancers bitten by their rattlesnake
partners, but the claim lacks confirmation by care-
ful scientific observers, who incline to the belief that
the snake priests avoid injury by dexterity and a
knowledge of reptile ways. It is true that the
priests possess a secret antidote, to which they
resort in cases of snakebite, which occasionally
befalls the barefoot natives, but even in the land of
the snake dance such casualties are uncommon and
the efficacy of the antidote remains a matter for
investigation. That the dancers are some-
times bitten is pretty well established, but the
observer may not have distinguished the harm-
less from the venomous snakes, which are
intermingled, and the Mokis are reticent to
subsequent inquiry.

Moki is a nickname. It is said to signify
"dead," and to have been applied at a time


of devastation by smallpox, that gift of civilized
man to the savage. Among themselves they are
known as Hopi, "good (or peaceful) people." It
f is to be regretted that a name so much worthier
I these friendly and interesting aborigines cannot be
lestored to current usage.

The Mokis are hospitable to all respectful visit-
ors, and they may be visited at any time of the
year except in midwinter, although the season of
the religious feasts made famous by the snake dance
is the time of the greatest attraction.

Extended mention of the Mokis and their cus-
toms, with ample illustration, will be found in a
separate publication, "Indians of the Southwest."


This is a profound gash in the plateau, som< : 225
feet deep, 550 feet wide, and many miles long. It
has the appearance of a volcanic rent in the earth's
crust, wedge-shaped, and terraced in bare dun rock
down to the thread of a stream that trickles
through the notch. It is one of those inconsequent
things which Arizona is fond of displaying. For
many miles you are bowled over a perfectly level
plain, and without any preparation whatever, save
only to slacken its pace, the train crosses the chasm
by a spider-web bridge, 225 feet high and
600 feet long, and then speeds again over

the self-same placid expanse.
In the darkness of night one
might unsuspectingly step off
into its void, it is so entirely
unlocked for. Yet, remark-
able as is the Canyon Diablo,
in comparison with those
grand gorges hereafter to be
mentioned it is worth little
better than an idle glance.

Several miles southeast of Canyon Diablo is a
remarkable place called Meteorite Mountain (also
reached from Sunshine station) , where it is supposed
that a colossal sky-wanderer once fell. The crater-
like cavity marking its crash into the earth is a mile
wide. Large fragments of meteoric stone have
been found near by containing small diamonds.

Mr. F. W. Volz, Indian trader here, is prepared
to take visitors to the Moki villages and Meteorite
Mountain at any time. His facilities are unusually
good and charges reasonable.


Flagstaff is itself pictorial in character and rich
in interest. From it one finds access to most
remarkable ancient ruins and to one of the
most practicable and delightful of our great
mountains. It stands upon a clearing in an exten-


sive pine forest that here covers the plateau and
clothes the mountains nearly to their peaks ;
although the word park better describes this sunlit,
grass-carpeted expanse of widely set, towering pines,
where cattle graze and the horseman may gallop
at will. Couched at the foot of a noble mountain
that doffs its cap of snow for only a few weeks of
the year, and environed by vast resources of mate-
rial wealth in addition to the picturesque and his-
torical features of its surroundings, it is fortunately

The extraordinarily pure atmosphere of this ele-
vated region and the predominance of clear weather
gave Flagstaff the Lowell Observatory. It is
charmingly situated in the heart of the pines, upon
a hill in the outskirts of the town. Visitors are
made welcome.

About fifty miles northeast of Flagstaff, on the
summit of a mesa, near the Little Colorado river,
are the Black Falls prehistoric ruins, reached over
a fairly good road. These consist of three large
groups. They are noted for the many high walls
still standing and the fine pottery that is found there.
Also accessible from Grand View (Grand Canyon).


Here, as in many other parts of the West, the
actual height of a mountain is greater than is appar-
ent to the eye. The ascent begins at a point
considerably above where the Eastern mountain
climber leaves off, for the reason that the whole
region is itself a prodigious mountain, hundreds of
thousands of square miles in area, of which the
projecting peaks are but exalted lookouts. The
summits of San Francisco Peaks are elevated
nearly 13,000 feet above the sea, and only 6,000
feet above the town of Flagstaff. It follows that
more than half of the actual ascent has been made
without any effort by the traveler, and the same
altitude is attained as if he had climbed a sheer
height of 13,000 feet upon the rim of the sea.
There is the same rarefactioa of air, the same wide
range over an empire that lies flat beneath the eye,
limited only by the interposition of other mountains,
the spherical contour of the earth, atmospheric
haze, or the power of vision itself.

The apex of Humphrey's Peak, the only summit
of this mountain yet practicable for the tourist, is
little more than ten miles from Flagstaff, and an
excellent carriage road covers fully seven miles of
the distance. From the end of that road a com-
fortable bridle-path leads to within a few feet of the
topmost crag. The entire trip may be made on
horseback if desired, and one who is accustomed to
the saddle will find it a preferable experience, for
then short cuts are taken through the timber, and
there is so much the more of freedom and the charm
of an untrammeled forest. The road crosses a
short stretch of clearing and then enters the magnifi-
cent pine park, rising at an easy grade and offering
frequent backward glimpses. The strained, con-
scious seventy of the Rocky Mountain giants is
wanting here. It is a mountain without egotism,
breathing gentlest dignity, and frankly fond of its
robe of verdure. Birds flit and carol in its treetops,
and squirrels play. Grass and fern do not fear to
make soft-cushioned banks to allure the visitor,
flowers riot in their season, and the aspens have
whole hillsides to themselves ; soft, twinkling bow-
ers of delicate green, dells where one could wish to
lie and dream through long summer hours. The
bridle-path begins, with the conventional zig-zag of
mountain-trails, at the foot of a steep grass-grown
terrace that lies in full view of the spreading pano-
rama below. Above that sunny girdle the trail
winds through a more typical mountain forest,
where dead stalks of pine and fir are plentifully

sprinkled among the living, and ugly swaths show
where the avalanche has passed. Above this, for
the remaining few hundred feet, the peaks stand
bare stern, swart crags that brook no mantle
except the snows, encompassed by a quiet which
only the wind redeems from everlasting silence.

The outlook from Humphrey's Peak is one of the
noblest of mountain views. It commands a recog-
nizable territory of not less than seventy-five thou-
sand square miles, with vague, shadowy contours
beyond the circle of definite vision. Categorically,
as pointed out by the guide, the main features of
the landscape are as follows: Directly north, the
farther wall of the Grand Canyon, at the Bright
Angel amphitheater, fifty miles away; and topping
that, the Buckskin Mountains of the Kaibab Pla-
teau, thirty or forty miles farther distant. To the
right, the Navajo Mountains, near the Colorado
state line, 2OO miles. In the northeast, the won-
derful Painted Desert, tinted with rainbow-hues,
and the Navajo Reservation. Below that the Moki
buttes and villages. Toward the east, the broad
plateau and desert as far as the divide near Navajo
Springs, 130 miles east from Flagstaff by the rail-
road. In the southeast the White Mountains,
more than 2OO miles. In the south, successively, the
Mogollon Plateau, a group of a dozen lakes
unlooked-for sight in the arid lands Baker's Butte,
the Four Peaks, and the Superstition Mountains
near Phoenix, the last named 160 miles distant. In
the southwest, the Bradshaw Mountains, 140 miles ;

Granite Mountain it Prcscott, 100 miles, and the
Juniper Range, 150 miles. The horizon directly
west is vague and doubtful, but is supposed to lie
near the California line. In the northwest a dis-
tant range is seen, north of the Colorado River and
east of the Nevada line, perhaps the Sheavwits or
the Hurricane Mountains. Among the less remote
objects are the Coconino forest and basin on the
north ; on the east the Little Colorado, traceable
by its fringe of cottonwoods, beds of lava flung like
the shadow of a cloud or the trail of a conflagra-
tion, and Sunset and Peachblow craters, black cones
of cinder capped with red scoria ; on the south and
southwest Oak Creek Canyon, the Jerome smel-
ters, and the rugged pictorial breakdown of the
Verde ; under foot, Flagstaff ; and on the west the
peaks of Bill Williams, Sitgreaves and Kendricks,
neighborly near.

Yet, in spite of the grandeur of such a scene,
San Francisco Peak itself soon gains and monopo-
lizes the attention. It has slopes that bend in a
single sweeping curve to depths which the brain
reels to contemplate, down which a loosened stone
will spin until the eye can no longer distinguish
its course; and there are huge folds and preci-
pices and abysses of which no hint was given in
the ascent. Perhaps its most attractive single fea-
ture is a profound bowl-shaped cavity
between Humphrey's and Agassiz Peaks,
overhung by strangely sculptured cliffs
that have the appearance of ruined

ctstle walls perforated with rude doorways,

windows and loopholes. It is called The Crater,
and is almost completely boxed in by steep but
uniform slopes of volcanic dust, in descending
which a horse sinks to his fetlocks. On one side
it breaks down into a canyon leading off to the
plain and set with tree, grass, fern and flower. Its
axis is marked by two parallel lines of bare bowl-
ders of great size, that might have been thrown up
from the underlying rock by some prodigious ebul-
lition of internal forces.

The round trip to the peak is customarily accom-
plished in a day, but arrangements may be made to
remain upon the mountain over night if determined
upon in advance, and such a plan is recommended
to those who are reasonably hardy and have never
seen the glories of sunset and sunrise from a


The series of tremendous chasms which form the
channel of the Colorado River in its course through
northern Arizona reach their culmination in a cha-
otic gorge 217 miles long, nine to thirteen miles wide,
and, midway, more than 6,000 feet below the level
of the plateau. Standing upon the brink of that
plateau, at the point of the canyon's greatest width
and depth, the beholder is confronted by a scene
whose majesty and beauty are well nigh unbearable.

Snatched in a single instant glance from every
accustomed anchorage of human experience, the

stoutest heart here quavers, the senses cower. It
is one of the few advertised spots which one need
not fear approaching with anticipations too exalted.
It is a new world, compelling the tribute of sensa-
tions whose intensity exceeds the familiar signifi-
cation of words. It never has been adequately
described, and never will be. If you say of Niaga-
ra's gorge that it is profound, what shall you say
of the Colorado's chasm that yawns beneath your
feet to a depth nearly fifty times greater? If you
have looked down from the height of the Eiffel
tower and called it vertiginous, what shall you say
when you are brought to the verge of a gulf at
points of which you may drop a plummet five
times as far? And when you face, not a mere nar-
row frowning gash of incredible depth, but a broad
under-world that reaches to the uttermost horizon
and seems as vast as the earth itself ; studded with
innumerable pyramidal mountains of massive bulk
hewn from gaudiest rock-strata, that barely lift
the cones and turrets of their crests to the level of
the eye ; divided by purple voids ; banded in vivid
colors of transparent brilliancy that are harmonized
by atmosphere and refraction to a marvelous deli-
cacy; controlled by a unity of idea that redeems
the whole from the menace of overwhelming
chaos then, surely, you may be pardoned if your
pen halts.

An inferno, swathed in soft celestial fires; a
whole chaotic under-world, just emptied of primeval

floods and waiting for a new creative word ;
a boding, terrible thing, unflinchingly real, yet
spectral as a dream, eluding all sense of perspective
or dimension, outstretching the faculty of measure-
ment, overlapping the confines of definite appre-
hension. The beholder is at first unimpressed by
any detail ; he is overwhelmed by the ensemble of a
stupendous panorama, a thousand square miles in
extent, that lies wholly beneath the eye, as if he
stood upon a mountain peak instead of the level
brink of a fearful chasm in the plateau whose
opposite shore is thirteen miles away. A labyrinth
of huge architectural forms, endlessly varied in
design, fretted with ornamental devices, festooned
with lacelike webs formed of talus from the upper
cliffs and painted with every color known to the
palette in pure transparent tones of marvelous deli-
cacy. Never was picture more harmonious, never
flower more exquisitely beautiful. It flashes instant
communication of all that architecture and paint-
ing and music for a thousand years have gropingly
striven to express.

The panorama is the real overmastering charm.
It is never twice the same. Although you think
you have spelt out every temple and peak and
escarpment, as the angle of sunlight changes there
begins a ghostly advance of colossal forms from the
farther side, and what you had taken to be the
ultimate wall is seen to be made up of still other
isolated sculptures, revealed now for the first time
by silhouetting shadows.



Long may the visitor loiter upon the rim, pow-

ess to shake loose from the charm, tirelessly
intent upon the silent transformations until the
sun is low in the west. Then the canyon sinks
into mysterious purple shadow, the far Shinumo
Altar is tipped with a golden ray, and against a
leaden horizon the long line of the Echo Cliffs
reflects a soft brilliance of indescribable beauty, a
light that, elsewhere, surely never was on sea or
land. Then darkness falls, and should there be a
moon, the scene in part revives in silver light, a
thousand spectral forms projected from inscrutable
gloom ; dreams of mountains, as in their sleep they
brood on things eternal.

Some of the best descriptive writers have pre-
pared accounts of this wonderful gorge and its
surroundings. Major Powell, Captain Dutton,
G. Wharton James, F. S. Dellenbaugh, and others,
have written magnificent volumes on this theme,
and there are graceful pages devoted to the subject"
in the book and magazine writings of such men
as Charles Dudley Warner, C. F. Lummis, Joaquin
Miller and Hamlin Garland. It has been sympa-
thetically painted by landscape artists like Moran,
Daingerfield, Symons, Williams, Potthast, Parshall
and Ritschel; while men like Elmendorf, Holmes,
Monsen and Brigham have portrayed its grandeur
on the lecture platform.

Fortunately the way to the canyon is now easy.
Instead of the old route from Flagstaff, a two days'


stage journey twice a week, in summer only, the
tourist can now make the trip in three hours by
rail any day in the year.

Travelers -holding through tickets who wish to
visit the canyon are granted stop-overs at Williams,
a town of 1,500 inhabitants, noted for its extensive
lumber interests. The branch, Williams to the can-
yon, is sixty-four miles long. Two daily trains each
make the round trip in six hours.

Fray Marcos, the station hotel at Williams,
under Harvey management, is up to the Santa Fe
standard of excellence. It is built with wide
porticos, like an old Spanish mission, and has
pleasant guest rooms. The restaurant, lobby and
large Indian room are tastefully furnished in arts
and crafts style.

While the Grand Canyon may be reached by
private conveyance from Flagstaff, in open weather,
the main travel is by way of Williams. The railway
terminus at Bright Angel is in the middle of the
granite gorge district. From there one may reach
by carriage the eastern and western ends thereof,
at Grand View and Bass's. Cataract Canyon, rock-
fortress home of the Supai Indians, lies still further
west, while north of Grand View is the Little
Colorado country and the painted desert.

A quarter-of-a-million-dollar hotel, " El Tovar "

named for Pedro de Tovar, one of the officers

who accompanied Coronado's expedition through

I ray Marcos Hotel, Williams.


Arizona in 1540 under management of Fred
Harvey, occupies a site 7,000 feet above sea
level, close to the canyon rim, at the railway
terminus, and not far from the head of Bright
Angel trail.

El Tovar is a long, low, rambling, rustic edifice,
solidly built of native boulders and pine logs. It
contains more than a hundred sleeping-rooms with
accommodations for nearly 300 guests. All the lux-
uries are provided, such as electric light, steam heat,
hot and cold water, room telephones, baths, private
dining-rooms, a solarium, and music. The furni-
ture is of arts and crafts design. The inside finish is
mainly peeled slabs, wood in the rough and tinted
plaster, with here and there huge wooden beams
for all the world like a big country club house.
The public dining-room is a notable attraction.

High -class and adequate accommodations for
Grand Canyon travel are thus assured. To accom-
modate those desiring less expensive quarters, Bright
Angel Camp old Bright Angel Hotel remodeled
has been opened as an adjunct to El Tovar under
Harvey management, on European plan.

Adjacent is a unique structure occupied by Hopi
and Navaho Indians, who here engage in their
curious handicrafts. In this building are also in-
stalled several costly Harvey Indian blanket and
basket collections. Near by are several hogans,
where a number of Navahos live. Expert basket-
weavers and pottery-makers are found here.


Grand View Hotel is under management of
Mr. Berry, who also cares for visitors at his ranch
near by. Accommodations for fifty guests.

The most remarkable driveway in the world
Hermit Rim Road recently was opened for pub-
lic travel. It extends from El Tovar westward
along the canyon rim nine miles to head of Hermit
Basin, by way of Hopi, Mohave and Pima points.
It is thirty feet wide, with central section of crushed
rock, rolled hard, making a smooth and dustless

Imagine riding for miles along the top of a wall
which drops straight down 2,000 feet, with just
below that another drop of 1,500 feet. The view
takes in the north rim, the temples between, and
the tawny Colorado.

Hermit Trail also is being constructed from the
end of Hermit Rim Road, eight miles down Hermit
basin and creek to the river. This new, safe trail
is four feet wide and has easy grades ; probably
it will be finished this spring, but not operated
until early fall. Meanwhile special parties from
El Tovar, with guides, can go down part way.

To fairly see the Grand Canyon in this vicinity,
one should plan to stay at least four days; a week
would be better. In a month one might see the
greater part of the accessible area border-
ing the principal trails.


In Cataract Canyon.


This region abounds in ruins of the dwellings of
a prehistoric people. The most important lie within
a radius of eight miles from Flagstaff. On the
southeast, Walnut Canyon breaks the plateau for a
distance of several miles, its walls deeply eroded in
horizontal lines. In these recesses, floored and
roofed by the more enduring strata, the cliff dwell-
ings are found in great number, walled up on the
front and sides with rock fragments and cement,
and partitioned into compartments. Some have
fallen into decay, only portions of their walls
remaining, and but a narrow shelf of the once
broad floor of solid rock left to evidence their
extreme antiquity. Others are almost wholly intact,
having stubbornly resisted the weathering of time.
Nothing but fragments of pottery now remain of
the many quaint implements and trinkets that
characterized these dwellings at the time of their

Fixed like swallows' nests upon the face of a
precipice, approachable from above or below only
by deliberate and cautious climbing, these dwell-
ings have the appearance of fortified retreats rather
than habitual abodes. That there was a time, in
the remote past, when warlike peoples of mysteri-
ous origin passed southward over this plateau, is
generally credited. And the existence of the cliff-

dwellings is ascribed to the exigencies of that dark
period, when the inhabitants of the plateau, unable
to cope with the superior energy, intelligence and
numbers of the descending hordes, devised these
unassailable retreats. All their quaintness and
antiquity can not conceal the deep pathos of their
being, for tragedy is written all over these poor
hovels hung between earth and sky. Their build-
ers hold no smallest niche in recorded history.
Their aspirations, their struggles and their fate are
all unwritten, save on these crumbling stones,
which are their sole monument and meager epi-
taph. Here once they dwelt. They left no other
print on time.

At an equal distance to the north of Flagstaff,
among the cinder-buried cones, is one whose sum-
mit commands a wide-sweeping view of the plain.
Upon its apex, in the innumerable spout-holes that
were the outlet of ancient eruptions, are the cave-
dwellings, around many of which rude stone walls

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Online LibraryC. A. (Charles A.) HigginsTo California over the Sante Fé Trail → online text (page 4 of 11)