2019 marks 150th anniversary of first Powell Expedition

On Aug. 16, 1869, the Powell Expedition reached Bright Angel Creek. The expedition spent the day resting and repairing gear. Today, Bright Angel Campground and Phantom Ranch are located at the same spot (Colorado River mile 88). Above: boats are beached along the Colorado River at the Phantom Ranch Boat Beach located above the confluence with Bright Angel Creek. (Photo/NPS)

On Aug. 16, 1869, the Powell Expedition reached Bright Angel Creek. The expedition spent the day resting and repairing gear. Today, Bright Angel Campground and Phantom Ranch are located at the same spot (Colorado River mile 88). Above: boats are beached along the Colorado River at the Phantom Ranch Boat Beach located above the confluence with Bright Angel Creek. (Photo/NPS)

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — This year marks the 150th anniversary of the first expedition by Major John Wesley Powell through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River.

According to the National Park Service, Grand Canyon was largely unknown except to Native Americans and explorers until after the Civil War. In 1869, Powell, a one-armed Civil War veteran with a thirst for science and adventure, made a pioneering journey through the Canyon on the Colorado River. He accomplished this with nine men in four small wooden boats. Though only six men completed the journey. His party was, as far as is known, the first ever to make such a trip.

Powell made a second expedition on Aug. 17, 1872 after wintering in Kanab, Utah.

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