Interview With Doctor Harvey Butchart

 

Harvey Butchart photo by Jorgen Visbek



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Interviewee: Dr. Harvey Butchart
Catalog Number: GRCA 63381
Date of Interview: May 28, 1994
Place: Albright Training Center, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Interviewer: Mike Quinn

Three additional participants in the room:

LaVern Erickson, friend of Harvey's, neurosurgeon from Salt Lake City, Utah.

Mike Mahanay, fifteen years experience hiking in the canyon, Seattle, Washington.

Jim Boyd, interview's cameraman, Television Production Specialist, Albright Employee Development Center, Grand Canyon, Arizona.

Harvey's Hiking Boots

 SUBJECT: Edited transcript of various hiking experiences in the Canyon including searching out trail routes, problems with snakes and insects, storms, equipment carried, hiking tips, etc.

 Quinn: This is May 28, 1994. We're with Dr. Harvey Butchart and we're [going to] talk today about hiking, maybe in two parts. The first, asking some questions about your preparations for hikes, how you decided if you were doing overnights or day hikes; and then the second part about specific stories of different areas in the Canyon. Maybe a little bit about route finding. How you decided . . . was it mostly an analytical process or did you have hunches too, as far as how to find your way?

Butchart: Oh, I had several sources of ideas about hikes to take. Of course the first few years I was in Flagstaff, I was sponsoring the hiking club and went mostly with the students. Although there were vacations, I'd take the family touring and see other national parks, Colorado and California and so on. But finally when the kids got old enough to look after themselves, my wife decided to get a job at the Museum of Northern Arizona that held her in Flagstaff over the summer too. And so instead of going off to places like Glacier National Park and so on, scenery, I was kind of rubbing it into my wife--her humdrum occupation when I was getting a glamorous trip. And so I thought that maybe just going for day hikes or shorter times in the Grand Canyon were more appropriate. I don't know how much that was a reason why I concentrated on the Grand Canyon after all.

Quinn: And on shorter hikes rather than . . . ?

Butchart: Shorter hikes instead of trips by car with camping gear.

Quinn: Could you tell us a little bit [about] what you took with you? Did you have a day pack or . . . ?

Butchart: Well, I would have a day pack of course. I would always take some adhesive tape, and for awhile I thought of a snake bite kit, except that I decided that I would just use a clean razor blade. Now I hear that cutting into yourself for a snake bite isn't the thing to do anyway. But pretty soon I got tired of being afraid of snakes and realized that cactus is more of a hazard.

Mahanay: Never had any problems with snakes?

Butchart: No. I had a scare one time though: A rattlesnake was stretched out at length in sort of a marshy place sunning itself with some water there to make it nice for the snake. I stepped to get across this little marshy spot and I saw that I had stepped within six inches of the head of a rattlesnake. Of course the rattlesnake didn't do anything. It wasn't coiled, wasn't showing any aggression, but that shook me up a little bit realizing that I was that close to a messy snake bite. I was by myself and no help and I would have been in pretty bad shape if I had been bitten.

Quinn: How much water did you take?

Butchart: Mostly I didn't carry a very big canteen. For awhile [I would take] only about two quarts or so.

Quinn: Did you look for water in the Canyon?

Butchart: Yes. I was fairly sure I could find water before I would use my last. I would figure that I was within an hour or so of a safe water supply before I would drink the last out of my canteen. In fact I used to think sometimes it helped to keep about a tablespoon full, enough to shake and see that you have water, rather than drink the last of it.

Mahanay: As a psychological advantage?

Butchart: Yeah, as a psychological advantage. But there were a few times that the day would be unusually hot or something and I'd be a little short, but I never got desperate. I never had the feeling that I was in real danger from dehydration.

Mahanay: You always knew where the next water was?

Butchart: And I think I carried two gallons with me. I had a companion on one of those trips down National Canyon, I guess it must have been the initial trip. I said, "I wish I knew the probability of our finding water for camping tonight." Although we wouldn't have been completely desperate if we hadn't found it, but that was going to be interesting to see if we got to water, and it didn't seem very probable. The Canyon was very dry. This friend of mine was on the math staff at Flagstaff with me. He said, "Well, I could tell you it's one of two answers, two probabilities, either plus one or zero." You see we were either going to find water or we [were not]. But we did find water that time. It appeared in the lower end of the Canyon in the gravel.

Quinn: What was your method for water purification?

Butchart: I took halazone tablets for quite awhile. I went without those things for several years and I found out that drinking Colorado River water wasn't good for me. I would get diarrhea or vomiting about half the time when I [came] home. I decided that wasn't worth it so I started putting halazone in all canteen water and didn't have any more trouble.

Quinn: Can you tell a story of some of the roughest water that you had to drink? Or most unappetizing?

Butchart: I know two or three times when it was unappetizing. One of them was when I was helping find a lost sheepherder south of Flagstaff. There was a cattle tank that was way down near the bottom and there was only some water left. Cow chips [were] lying both up above the water and halfway in the water and you could imagine (undecipherable) but I didn't fill my canteen in that water. I just got enough to get by. But I didn't get sick at all! I didn't have any halazone that day either. I have also come to stagnant water in standing pools, in plunge pools or something, and see a lot of bugs on the surface. [I'd] dip the canteen under the surface and fill it with water, not with the floating material above, and have succeeded in getting by with that without halazone.

Quinn: What about brackish water, like out by Bass or Mineral?

Butchart: I guess the worst tasting water I've had was Little Colorado spring water. It isn't very good. Somebody said it might physic you but you'd have to drink about a bathtub full first. So I'd used it for a day and a half but I was real happy to get real Colorado River water after that. It tasted a lot better than spring water at Little Colorado.

Quinn: What sort of food did you take on these hikes to give you all this energy?

Butchart: I had different things at various times. Towards the end I had very simple food, unappetizing, and that's probably why I didn't take backpacks of more than about four or five days at the most. I would spread a lot of bread with margarine and not have to carry it in a form that would get messy. I would eat prunes for breakfast, peanuts as a snack during the day and maybe meal time too. Then in the evening, well even at noon, even both for awhile, I was eating a can of sardines and then cookies. Also Lipton soup for dinner in the evening. I wouldn't light a fire except in the evening.

Quinn: Was there a favorite type of shoes that you hiked in?

Butchart: I hiked in ordinary working man's shoes without Vibram soles and so on. I probably [didn't] get along as well as if I had real good shoes. I've seen companions with expensive shoes have blisters just as much as I got. Of course in hot weather you sometimes don't realize how much more likely you are to form blisters and I would use tape as soon as I felt a hot spot.

Quinn: Did you cut your blisters if it formed?

Butchart: No, I didn't get (undecipherable). One of them broke and I invented a way to keep on hiking that day. It was down near Flagstaff going up the San Francisco Peaks and I was walking clear from town out to the base of Agassiz and then up to the top of Agassiz and back. On the way out on the level I realized I had a bad blister. I looked at it and it was already broken and I thought, "Gee, I don't know what I'll do with that." But I had plastic bags for sandwiches which were pretty big bags--they were for a whole loaf of bread. I put that plastic bag over my foot, and I think maybe I had a second one too on top of that, and put my sock back on the whole thing. Although it was awfully inducive of perspiration, I didn't have any more trouble with hurting the blister. There was no friction there that pulled on the blister--the plastic bags slide on each other. So that was one of our inventions.

Speaking of originality, I finally after years of sleeping in the cold and waking up in the morning and having to melt the canteen water [in] the canteen neck before I could get a drink--have to rub it and warm it up before I could get a drink--I finally decided that if I just put my canteen upside down with the neck towards the ground, in the morning I wouldn't have any trouble with it. It wasn't frozen down there.

Quinn: So it would freeze on top?

Butchart: Yeah, it would freeze on top.

Quinn: What type of bedroll did you take?

Butchart: For awhile I wasn't using anything very good. I had dacron, well that's not so bad, but eventually I got regular down bags--several. I owned at least two down bags and I guess that's not so unusual. It was a regular bag, not holding back on the expense. Although I did hold back on the expensive shoes. I never bought a pair of hiking shoes for more than twenty-five dollars. I suppose even those shoes now would cost more than that but back in the forties and fifties I was spending less than twenty dollars on a pair of shoes that I could wear a couple of years. They would wear out but I could get two seasons, two years of hiking.

Mahanay: So your packs must have been quite light?

Butchart: Yeah they were. I didn't carry a tent. I had a plastic sheet that protected me in the rain two or three times. But there isn't too much rain in the Grand Canyon so I figured I didn't need to carry even a six or seven pound tent along.

Quinn: Was there a certain type of spot that you would prefer to sleep in?

Butchart: Of course I wanted to get rid of any cactus burrs, I would kind of rub things aside there. Times when the logical place for me to sleep was rather garnished with cow chips and I'd have to throw them out of the way. No, there wasn't any special place that I preferred. I'd see for sure if I slept on a sand bar in a little wash that there wasn't going to be any storm that night, within twenty miles anyway. I was cautious about floods.

One time I wasn't so cautious about insects. I was sleeping under an overhang for protection from rain that evening [because] it looked like it was a real threat. It was a hot sort of muggy day and I had a bare chest, I didn't wear anything above my underwear trunks, and I was on my back. I felt something crawling. It seemed kind of long and I thought, "Gee, is that a scorpion? I better lie still." And I lay still until it got clear across my chest and on the ground beside me and then grabbed for my flashlight and looked. It was a centipede [praying mantis]. I hadn't realized what it was. No! Just a minute . . . I saw plenty of centipedes in the Canyon, but this was a creature that I'd never seen before, a praying mantis, praying mantis in the Grand Canyon. I'd seen them in China but not in the Grand Canyon.

Quinn: Did you ever have problems with critters getting into your food, like mice and squirrels?

Butchart: Oh yeah. We slept in a cave at the source of Tapeats Creek one time. I was with Allyn Cureton [see Treks I and Treks III] and Don Finicum that time. In the morning, I didn't have any raisins left, they had gotten all my raisins. Then there was a time when I slept in a place that I didn't realize had so many ants. I had a little brown paper sack of sugar. Those ants didn't bother about going up and down--they bit right through the paper sack. There were hundreds of little holes in that paper and most of the sugar was gone.

I also had rodents that rattled things around and seemed to be getting into the pack. I would sometimes try to hang [the pack] from a bush or put it up on a ledge or something, but usually I didn't. That didn't seem to keep them out. They had some way of getting into the packs. So I'd get it in the middle of the night and just carry it far enough away so that the noise wouldn't bother me. Strangely enough they never bit through my pack. They always went in the right way. I'd leave the top open. I was talking to a hiker just recently, about two days ago, who said that he and his son had fine new packs and both them were chiseled through in the bottom when they woke up in the morning.

Quinn: Any encounters with skunks?

Butchart: Oh, down in the campground at Bright Angel Creek. I woke up in the night with rain threatening and began to think about moving into sort of a lean-to, maybe it's still there at the campground. But then I heard some noises. People [that] were already in that lean-to were pulling out a flashlight and playing it on the animals. There were two of them: one was a ringtail cat, it has a fancier name, and [the other was] a skunk. Those critters would run away when the beam of light was on them but soon as the people turned off their light and started to go back to sleep, they would come out again. They kept doing that about three or four times. The rain stopped and I moved away so that I didn't know how the night ended. I put something about that incident in one of my guide books. Then let's see, where was I, somebody came up to me and said, "Remember that story about the skunk and the ringtail cat you had in the guide book?" I said, "Yes." He said, "I was the one that was playing that flashlight on it." He was interested in reading that account.

Erickson: How about snakes, you mentioned to me about . . . ?

Butchart: I would see [an] average of about one per year of thirty [to] thirty-five days, so I'm not a very good snake watcher. Sometimes I probably walked by a snake that was close enough but I didn't see it, it didn't rattle. I remember one time when I was mentioning the fact that I hadn't seen very many rattlesnakes in the Canyon [and] one of the faculty members from Flagstaff said, "Well you walk so fast you don't see anything." That kind of got me mad and I began to quiz her. She was a geology teacher [who] took twenty-four field trips down to Phantom Ranch with her students and they made quite a fuss over her about how many times she's been in the Grand Canyon. I said, "Well, how about you? Did you ever see any natural arch or window when you were hiking down the Kaibab Trail?" And she said, "No." And I said, "Well, did you ever see the Indian ruin anywhere along the way." She said, "No." I said, "What about that one right by the suspension bridge, just a little after you get off the bridge?" It kind of put her in her place. She hadn't seen as much as I'd seen although she was scornful [of] how fast I was going through.

Quinn: Now, when you were at home in Flagstaff making plans for another hiking season, did you take a year and say, I'm [going to] do this section? Did you plan it out?

Butchart: That's about how it came out. I would get interested in something like the Little Colorado and I'd go down [to] the USGS map of the Little Colorado. They have profile and stream bed maps that go back to Cameron or even higher and I would see the trails that they had indicated on this map. I'd lay it out and try to find these trails. The people who did that survey were very generous with their definitions of trails--they're really just rock slides and some of them worse than that, some of them real climbs. I would get through with one of those and in the process see something else that I would try and do.

Sometimes it would take numerous trips in to find the trailhead. For instance, the thing called the Dam Site Trail--you have to get over the edge and hang like that (demonstrates holding on with his fingers) and kick around to try and find a place for your feet. They called that a trail. So that would really take me several trips. In fact, I broke my wrist pretty badly when I was trying to find that trail. Why I claim I am safer when I am by myself [than] when I'm with several other people, I have a tendency to show off a little bit, show how adept I am at the occupation of being a Grand Canyon hiker. This time I took a long one step up on a little ledge that had an overhang and the Kelty pack I was carrying at the time hit the ledge above me and threw me backwards. I was only about fifteen feet from a big precipice, so naturally I threw out my arms and one of them fell through a little narrow crack between two rocks. When my weight came on it, [the] left hand broke there. I had come down to that place using both hands on the rocks at times and had to get back out with this arm in a sling made by a shirt and the other hand to grab with. Of course John Wesley Powell did that constantly on his way through the Canyon, one armed climbing.

Quinn: How did you go from point A to point B? What are some of the techniques you use for route finding?

Butchart: Here's an instance of finding an interesting route: The surveyors of the Little Colorado showed eight trails, including those more like rock climbs, and then they didn't show one close to the mouth of the Little Colorado. When I was up at Cliff Dwellers Lodge getting gas or eating a meal there, I got acquainted with the man who was selling gas who had been around quite a bit in that area as a prospector. He was trying to find wealth of, he said rare earth. He was making a chemical and he'd tried some funny things, and he'd also talked to the Indians. He said one of the Indians, Navajo, told him that there was a way to climb a route down to the mouth of the Little Colorado much closer than the Salt Trail Canyon, which was the closest thing shown on the map. That's all he told me, it was closer to the mouth.

So I had a friend teacher in Tuba City who came with me out to the end of the road there on the north side of the Little Colorado opposite Cape Solitude. We scrimmaged around a bit and found a draw that went down rather close to the end of the road where we could park. We got down this gulch, had to do some climbing down, like down a card table to the floor or that ledge there to the floor and that shelf (indicates approximately three to four feet), and I was behind him. This young teacher was pretty good at that sort of thing. I would say, "I guess we're stuck, aren't we?" And he said, "Just a minute. No we've got this made." So [I'd] come down and found out I could do it too. We got down clear to the bottom of the Coconino. I thought that was the hardest part, but we had to hold onto something to let ourselves down till we could touch, but we had the encouragement of finding a rock pile down there to stand on. It was evidently a route, prehistoric or some Indian route down. The Indian had told this guy Haynes that there is a route down there and you probably won't like it. They have the idea that we're pretty inferior. So we got through this hard part. Then we had a long walk down to the Redwall rim and we couldn't tell which way to go. Actually we went the wrong way first. But from the left side of that gulch we could look across there and see a possible break through the Redwall. We were running out of time that day, this man's wife was up there waiting for us in the car and we didn't want to keep her forever, and so we let it go.

Quinn: So you were at the top of the Redwall?

Butchart: Yeah, and that day we had to go back. We ran out of time. But I told some students, George Billingsley [See Trek I] by the way is a geologist at Flagstaff in the USGS now. He took two or three good hikers with him and they went down Salt Trail Canyon and then they went clear down the river, some of them trying to float on innertubes. They were slower than the people standing on the bank. But they got down to the base of this place that I had described to them and went up and they succeeded in getting clear out. They made it clear back to their car over by the Salt Trail Canyon that day.

So with a little more advice from George, I went back by myself and went clear down to the river and filled the canteen and went back up to the car on the north side, rather close to the mouth at the Little Colorado. So I called it the Walter Powell Trail because in 1869 when they were camping at the mouth of the Little Colorado, John Wesley's [Powell] brother, I think his name was Walter Powell, left the party for the day and climbed out. His brother recalls that he climbed out up to the top to the plateau and came back. So I think that must have been the way he found to get up there.

There's one thing that bothered me a little bit when I read the account. John Wesley Powell said that by comparison of barometers they decided that Walter had climbed three thousand feet above the place where they were camping. If we believe the USGS maps, it takes three thousand three hundred feet to get clear out. So either some calculation was wrong with those barometers or else he didn't get clear out. And the hard part was at the top. So that makes me wonder whether Walter Powell really did get to the top. Probably he did. I think he would, being that good at finding a route, he probably found the rest of the way too.

Quinn: What would you do if you were following like a game trail going down, and all of a sudden it would disappear and there was no clue as to what to do next. How would you go on to the next point?

Butchart: There's plenty of examples of game trails that just sort of scatter. The deer don't all keep their minds made up on one route. They get up through the bushes this way and that way. So what you have to do is just pick the best guess you can and break through that brush yourself and try to figure out when they come together again. It reminded me of a story about Abraham Lincoln when he was a greenhorn. I guess he was a young lawyer, but they elected him their commander in something they called the Blackhawk War and he didn't know the proper commands. He came to a narrow gate when they were marching four abreast and he couldn't get them through that way. He told them, "Company halt and reassemble on the other side of the fence." So that's about the way the deer do it I guess. They know the trail and suddenly they split up and go every which way and come together again and maybe make a new trail for you.

Quinn: Is there a particular rock layer that was more challenging or interesting for you?

Butchart: Well, of course the Redwall. I figured on counting routes through the Redwall because there's supposedly only a few breaks comparatively. But by the time I got through exploring all the routes I could in the Canyon, I'd covered 164 ways through the Redwall. That's very comprehensive though. It counts everything, like coming down through Marble Canyon by boat--when you get through the Redwall you've chalked up one route. Also the Little Colorado, you get through the Redwall without ever dropping faster than say twenty feet down in one hundred yards.

But there have been quite a few routes through the Redwall that are really interesting and kind of challenging. The one that a friend, Ken Walters [see Trek III], who's one of the three that went way past me in climbing the summits in the Canyon, he collected this route for me and insisted that I come down and try it with him. I got him started down that way, it was the north side of Comanche Point and I'd climbed down to Espejo Butte that's off the rim farther north to this gulch and thought that it looked like a possible route on the north side of Comanche Point. So we went there with my planning it. I took credit for getting him to come with me to that place. We found that there were no problems through the Coconino, a little more of a difficult scramble in places in the Supai.

But then when we came to the Redwall, [the] first top of it, maybe half of it, went all right. But then we came to a direct fall, at least a hundred feet, maybe two hundred. We were stymied there. We saw a possible bypass over to the west and climbed up and came down through a sort of a place where there'd been a landslide and we got down through quite a few more elevation feet. Then we came to bare wall again.

But as luck would have it, there was a little ramp in that cliff, stuck out maybe a foot. Sometimes [it] got as narrow as six inches and sometimes it was two feet wide. But what was interesting was that there were bighorn droppings on that [little ramp]. I said I didn't think there was a good enough probability of our success in this kind of thing. But Ken Walters said, "Well, let me go ahead and try it." I got up above him and ate my lunch and every now and then I'd give a little encouragement, like "Now don't do anything you can't come back from. I don't have a rope for you," and so on. He came back after about forty-five minutes and said, "I got through the Redwall." I said, "Well, I probably couldn't do what you've done." He said, "Come down and try and see." So I got down there and I went down this ramp where it got very narrow and then I think there was a little gap in it. There were good finger-holds in that ramp and so it wasn't too bad for me.

At the end of that route there was a drop that was sort of like a chimney. We climbed down it for about eight feet. There was another shelf that went off the other way and went right over to a place where the rest of the way was covered by clay from a landslide. The north side of Comanche Point route was one of the two most interesting ones. But the one that I got the biggest thrill out of finding I believe was one that I took about ten years to locate, off and on, not continuously.

Quinn: Between which years?

Butchart: I'm not positive exactly when that was. I think it was in the sixties though. I got started on this idea [from] R.C. Euler, Robert Euler, maybe you've met him or know him (see oral history interview with Dr. Euler in 1995). I guess he got paid by the lawyers who were representing the Supai Indians in some kind of land claim against the U.S. government. His assignment was to find ruins that were over this country, to see what land they had been using in the past before white men came. So he talked to the Indians quite a bit about where their forefathers had farmed and so on. One of them, Walin Burro, was son of Captain Burro who was a little famous at one time. The King of Belgium gave him a kind of a medal (undecipherable) impress the Indians with. So this Walin Burro told Robert Euler that the tribe used to farm, or at least the father used to farm, in the mouth of the delta of the Fossil Bay Canyon, Fossil Bay Creek.

I got the map and carried it down to Supai and got hold of Walin Burro. It was kind of picturesque because he was in a sweat bath when I got down there and he had on a g-string and that was all. But he came out of his sweat bath and he was willing to answer my questions if he could. He got his glasses, which had only one lens intact; the other had been broken and was gone. He looked at my map awhile. I said, "Did you go down the Bass Trail and along the Tonto and then the river and get to the mouth of Fossil Bay that way?" He said no, he didn't think it was that indirect. He thought they had a better way than that. But he looked at my map. I don't know, maybe he didn't understand maps. Anyway, he said he couldn't remember, he was too small a boy, but his father had taken him down there. So that left me pretty much in the dark.

But a friend on the faculty in Flagstaff had an airplane. He took me over that part of the Canyon and we studied the thing from the air. I decided there was a narrow slot that might be going through the Canyon, through the Redwall, and maybe if it connected with a scree slope I could see it another way, there might be a way to get down. I kept looking at it off and on. We took a trip down through Royal Arch Creek to the river and up to the base of the route, pretty close to the route. But I felt at that time that we wouldn't have time to go up there, especially if we got stuck half way up. I'd be missing classes on Monday after Thanksgiving. So we gave that idea up that trip.

Another time I went down in Fossil Bay, which I'd already scouted and done quite a little bit of hiking in, and we walked towards this supposed break. I thought I saw a way through the Coconino that trip. Then the weather began to get bad. We didn't want to get stuck on the dirt road so far from town, so we gave it up that trip.

Then I came back with another man, Donald Davis. We went up near Enfilade Point and found a place where pinnacles had split off from the main plateau. We went down there through the Kaibab which was just an easy walk except for, of course, watching for your footing on loose rocks. When we came to the Toroweap we found a--well we first didn't go down there through the Toroweap. We went along the base of the Kaibab and we got to a place where we could get down to the Coconino. But the Coconino was pretty steep and yet we could see that deer or bighorns had gone down there. This Davis, I knew Dan Davis the ranger here very well, this is Donald Davis, another Davis. He got his shoes on that rock and he got about eight or ten feet down on this sloping slab. Then he let discretion guide him after that. He decided he couldn't make it without a fall and so he got back out. While we were going back to where we could get out up through the Kaibab and back to our car, he went close to the edge of the Toroweap and [looked] down. I had hurting feet that day. I'd had some trouble with my feet getting bruised and hurting and I was going the easiest way for me. So I didn't see it, but he saw a real good break in the Coconino and we examined the Toroweap where we had first come down before we left that day.

He came back in a day or two and connected it. He got down the way we started down and he got through the Toroweap. By the way, he got some assurance then that he was on a route--he had found an overhang with charcoal drawings on the ceiling. He had to go along a narrow bighorn sheep trail about six inches wide. Occasionally the clay would fall in your way and there'd be a little gap in the trail, you'd step across it. But he got his way through the Coconino very well and found out that at the bottom of the Coconino and the Esplanade down there, there were a couple of Indian ruins and a couple of rain pockets. That was what he came back and told me.

The next weekend soon as I was free, he had gone back to Colorado in the meantime, I went down there and had my pack ready for an overnight stay. I went down everything he did, went over to a place near Fossil Bay Gulch where I'd seen a break in the Supai. I'd actually gone down not that place but I saw that possibility, and it worked all right, fine, in good shape, no problem there. I got down on the Redwall rim and walked along towards the break that I'd seen from the air.

One place I stopped long enough to go down and inspect a possible rain pool in the top of the Redwall. I found out there was enough to camp there. I think I left my pack there and went on and I found I could get down this break in the Redwall, although in one place I had to face in and go down ledges with hands and toes. Where there was a big chockstone I had to go bypassing it and found out I could get across to where I'd already been from the bottom up. So I completed that trip through there, called it the Enfilade Point route. I think that was probably the most interesting discovery in the route finding in the Canyon because it completed a ten year search that I'd been trying off and on.

Quinn: There's a rappel story where you went down on a rope and got spun upside down.

Butchart: Yeah, LaVern knows that one by heart (laughter).

Quinn: Were you with him (question to Erickson off camera)?

Butchart: No, he's read the book and he's heard me tell people about that trip. It was about my third or fourth trip into the canyon just north of the park, north of Saddle Mountain. It's called Saddle Canyon. I'd been told about some Indian ruins that were down there and I was trying to find them. Also when Euler was doing salvage archeology for whoever was trying to build the dam in Marble Canyon, he was given helicopter service around over the country. He found a mescal pit up there in the Supai formation and also a good granary. I was puzzled by how did the Indians get down there, didn't seem like a very direct way that I knew about. South Canyon was at least a day's walk over that way and maybe more than a day. If you went the other way that I knew about, around Saddle Mountain and up there, it was a long way in too.

So I was trying to go down Saddle Canyon. I had been there before and seen a place where there was an eighty-five foot rappel. One time I got down there with a rope prepared to rappel, even had jumar ascenders with me to come back up, but my companion was a twenty-three year old student and he said, "No, don't." He implored me not to try it. He said he couldn't take it if I tried that thing.

 So I came back by myself thinking that nobody's going to persuade me to give up this time. And so I rappelled. [I] found a little tree and tied the rope to it. It was a Goldline rope and I didn't know it was so bad about twisting and spinning you around. But I also didn't know something else. After twenty-five feet down it was an overhang from there on and you were completely free of the wall. You couldn't touch the wall or keep yourself from spinning. By the time I had gotten going pretty fast I began to feel a little bit groggy and like stomach upset. I shut my eyes and kept on feeding the rope through the carabiner for the rappel and got down to the bottom. The funny thing was after I got to the hard surface and stopped, everything began spinning around inside my head. It seemed like the world was whirling. But pretty soon of course it got normal. I spent my time that day doing what I was planing to do, [to] go down to the rim of the Redwall above the river and see the view and come up and jumar up this rope and get to my car before dark.

I got to the rope about 2:30 thinking it wasn't going to take forty-five minutes to go up the rope, I'd get out in good time. But the rope began to spin me and I knew I was going up slower than I came down. I thought that maybe I could work faster going up the rope if I would take away the belly band that goes down holding the slings that your feet are in, hold them up to you. I took away this thing and didn't realize what would happen then. I got up about nine feet above the ground and here my feet flew out in front of me. These slings were wrapped around my instep and I was hanging there holding the handle grips as long as I could. Pretty soon my hands gave way and I went upside down and [was] hanging there with the jumar slings around my instep holding me.

(Change camera tape. Harvey was asked to repeat some information.)

Erickson: Right before you started spinning, tell us where you were then.

Quinn: You thought it would be easier if you undid . . . ?

Butchart: Yeah, undid the belly-band and the result of that was my feet got away from me. The rope's around my instep but my feet were hanging up there even with my face. So after my hands gave way I turned upside down. If I'd been a foot higher I couldn't touch the ground and I would have hung there all night. It was freezing temperatures. I'd die of hypothermia.

Mahanay: You could touch the ground?

Butchart: Yeah, I could touch the ground. If I'd been ten inches lower I probably would have hit my head on a rock that was sticking out of the ground there and that probably would have done me in. But everything was in my favor after the stupidity that I'd already done. I can't exactly thank God for my rescue because He didn't save me from being stupid in the first place! (laughter) I found that I could get my fingers into the soil. If the ground had been level that wouldn't have done me any good either, but it was a fairly steep bank, about forty-five degrees. I clawed my way up until the rope on my feet was maybe at a sixty degree angle, held up like that. If I hadn't had any way to anchor myself I probably couldn't have done anything. As it was I got my left arm around a little tree that was there and rolled over on my stomach. I'd lunge up and just barely touch my shoelaces. It took me more than one time or two. One time I missed my hold on the tree and went swinging down again, down where I'd been and had to claw my way back up.

In the meantime, things were dropping out of my pocket: billfold and car keys came out. My camera was in a little plastic bag and it fell out too. But finally I got the shoelaces untied on one foot. I had to go lunging back two or three times. Maybe the first lunge wouldn't get it, but after two or three I'd make it to the shoe top and loosen it and finally pulled a foot out and my sock with the shoe still hanging on the rope. I got the other shoe loose and got the other foot down. So I had to untie my shoes out of the slings and put them on. My feet were hurting pretty badly for about ten or fifteen minutes. I was hobbling along on feet that were hurting from all that pressure on the insteps with a noose around it. But the only way I felt sure I could get out of there, back to the car, was down to the Redwall rim again and go around into Little Nankoweap and up into the Nankoweap Trail.

Mahanay: That was quite a long hike.

Butchart: Yes it was.

Mahanay: Maybe fifteen miles or twenty miles.

Butchart: It was pretty discouraging. It was in the dark too.

Mahanay: You didn't have a flashlight?

Butchart: I didn't have any flashlight that lasted. I don't think I had a flashlight at all. I hadn't been planning on walking in the night. I think I had the moon for awhile. About eleven o'clock the moon went down and I was making my way through brush and manzanita and loose slabs of rock pretty slowly of course. So finally by sunup, I was back on Tilted Mesa at the Nankoweap Trail. I had a good rest there. Before that I was afraid of these stories about going to sleep in the cold and never waking up. I did have to rest two [or] three times, just for five minutes or so.

But when the sun got up I took a bigger rest. But I hadn't had any food since my lunch the previous day--I had a little bit left from my lunch. When I got up Nankoweap Trail to Marion Point, about opposite Marion Point, I found a couple of plastic jugs that were half full of water. In fact, they weren't clear full and made me think that nobody was really relying on them. Somebody had just drunk all the water they needed and filled a canteen and gone on and left them there. So I got all the water I wanted from there on and I ate the rest of my food and staggered home. Course I was pretty exhausted by then. It was slow walking from there on up to the Saddle and down to the car parked at the old hunting camp near the end of the road in House Rock Valley. I didn't get there until about 2:45 in the afternoon. I had started from the car about 7:15 the previous morning. I'd been pretty active that whole time. Hardly any real rest.

Quinn: Was your wife waiting for you?

Butchart: She was waiting at home. She didn't even know anything more about me except that I was on the north side of the Colorado River. She didn't know I was in any jam at all. At the car I rested a little while and then thought that she was probably worried and I got to Cliff Dwellers Lodge and they took my message. They had to relay it by radio to Page. Then somebody in Page called up my wife in Flagstaff and the message was that I was going to wait around up there and take a little nap in the car before I drove home. So I got home after that. That was probably the nearest time, I mean the most dangerous thing I was in. There were about five different conditions which if any one of them had failed, I would have been a fatality. Meat for Dr. Tom Myers' new book.

Quinn: What did your wife say when you tell her these stories?

Butchart: She finally got tired of worrying. She said, well heck with it, she's washing her hands of any kind of responsibility (laughter).

Erickson: It's interesting in that I remember from Colin Fletcher's talk with you that he pointed out that of the people he had used to, before he made his walk, that you were probably the single source of knowledge about the Canyon.

Butchart: Yeah, I don't think he got everybody paged that time. But I did know more about the Canyon at that time then--I only walked the canyon for about seventeen years when I met Colin Fletcher. But I know a lot more about the Canyon now. I'm beginning to forget a little bit, but I've got it on logs. That's one place that I think I'm ahead of these other three men that are about way past me in climbs and probably up with me in coverage of the Canyon. They haven't kept systematic records of their trips as well as I did.

Quinn: How did the first book come about?

Butchart: The editor of the La Siesta Press series of jeep trips and so on, wrote to me and sent me about four of his little books to show me what he expected. He suggested that if I would write a guide book to keep it short and so on. I think he gave me a number of pages that I shouldn't go beyond. Actually he printed it even though I went about fifty percent over his recommended length. But it was Walt Wheelock. He was the one who had got me started. He had heard about me from several sources I guess, including .  
My publicity began in kind of a stupid way, that didn't endear me to my colleagues on the faculty very much, to have me on the radio and newspapers as a man who'd used an air mattress and floated down the river (laughter). But I did that, experimented with that in 1954 and did some of the hardest parts just practically as soon as I tried it. I went from Hance Rapid down to the suspension bridge where you couldn't walk around Sockdolager completely or Grapevine and made out all right. One of the students who was in the hiking club was a little older than the rest of them. He was a free lance journalist and was getting paid whenever he got anything into the Phoenix paper. So he thought that would be worth trying to exploit a little bit, journalistically, so he wrote me up. It tickled the fancy of several editors and I got written up and published something about me in the California papers and on the radio. Doc Marston heard about it and I guess he was the one who told Colin Fletcher to get in touch with me.

Mahanay: Did you talk to Emery Kolb a lot and get information about hiking from him?

Butchart: Not a lot. I got some help from him. For instance, I went to him one time and said I was interested in climbing Shiva Temple and did he . . . well, I'd already climbed Shiva Temple but I was interested in hearing about his climb. And gee, it kind of bowled me over when we found we had the woman (Ruth Stephens Baker) that was with Emery Kolb here tonight. (See oral history interview with Ruth Stephens Baker.) And I talked to Emery about Shiva Temple for instance.

Then two or three other things. One time I went in to talk to Emery, I said, "Did you ever get down to the mouth of Horn Creek on the south side of the river?" And he said, "That's impossible." I said, "Well, my friend and hiking companion, student Allyn Cureton, about twenty years old or twenty-one, he found out that he could do it. He took me down there and here's some pictures that I took from the south side of the river at the mouth of Horn Creek." So that convinced Emery that it was possible. But not very good. There was a place back there in the lower gorge, maybe three hundred feet above the river, where there's a forty foot drop, and the only possible bypass is a smooth slab where you have no handholds at all and you just have to trust your shoe soles. I wasn't about to try it myself but Allyn went across there and he found his rubber soles held and so he took me back about two weeks later and we got down. It was about as good climbing as I have done. I'm not expert but I could do it from there on down. [There was] another bypass where we had to get out of the bed and go around the other side. And then at bottom there was a place that we had to use fingers and toes.

Another time I went in to Emery to ask him if he and his brother had ever climbed Diana Temple. I hadn't seen any cairns there. Emery said, "No, I never did but I think my brother did." I'm not sure that his brother did. At least there weren't any cairns anyplace along atop of Diana that would be logical for cairns. But there was a deer trail up to the top. The hardest part was to get off the rim. This Merrel Clubb [see Trek I] who was sort of my mentor as a hiker, he was one of the people that Colin Fletcher could have asked for help. But I don't think that Clubb had been over the western part of the Canyon much.

Quinn: Did you get to meet him?

Butchart: Yes, I got real well acquainted with Merrel Clubb.

Quinn: Did you ever hike together?

Butchart: No, he was ten years older and he was through the best stuff. But I hiked the places he had just finished hiking one time. The last thing he climbed in the Canyon was King Arthur Castle. He had sort of a record of kind of goofing things up much worse than I did. He took four days to climb King Arthur Castle and spent two of those days wandering with a fog in the woods confusing him. When I heard about climbing King Arthur Castle, I went up there and slept out there near the Point Sublime road that's close there where you can go from Point Sublime up to the Swamp Point road. And next morning, I think I drove a little way up in that forest road. It's a pretty wild thing, overgrown. But I used Merrel Clubb's help and advice and I got over there and climbed King Arthur Castle with lots of time left. The way back to the car I climbed Guinevere Castle, which is the next thing, which Merrel Clubb had passed up because of lack of time. It wasn't too hard to climb. But that was the kind of thing, I think I spent maybe a whole day talking to Merrel Clubb in the North Rim campground where he used to go almost every summer.

Quinn: Did you ever cross the Colorado River on one of the old cables?

Butchart: No. I knew about Emery's . . . well, that was one of the stories that Emery Kolb told me. Did you ever hear about his getting across when there was only a tramway where the suspension bridge is now? He said they got a cablegram from Europe that came to the South Rim to a millionaire investor or some kind of big shot capitalist who was on this trip across the Canyon. He had a guide. He was going up the North Kaibab. They thought at the South Rim without opening the cablegram that maybe it was very important to give him this cablegram [as] soon as possible, maybe it would make a big difference in some investment or something. So they tried to get volunteers to deliver the message. Emery was the only one that seriously suggested going across to catch up with him.

So he got down to this tramway. This is before 1921 when they built the first small, spindly, rather weak suspension bridge across. It was just a tram car on a cable and the car was at the other end of the cable. Emery couldn't get any attention from anybody that was living at Phantom Ranch to come and bring the car over to him. So he looked around and he found some pack horse sort of--I don't know what you call it but bands that they put around the horse and tighten it up to keep the load in place--and he got these fabric things over the cable. He made them, fastened them and he sat in this sling underneath the cable. Without any kind of a tool or anything to slide himself along, he had to reach up and hold the cable and pull himself across. It was so hot the metal would burn his hands. The only thing he could think of was to take off his shoes and put his hands in his shoes and try to hold that cable. He got across that way and then he caught up with the party that was on the way to the North Rim with this big financier as the main guest. [He] found out that the financier didn't value what he read in the cable at all. Emery didn't get any recompense at all for this feat of his. That's one of the things Emery Kolb told me on a visit I had with him.

I had another visit which was a follow up of a trip we made down to the Colorado River just a little down river from, well Sockdolager Rapid. It's at the mouth of Hance Canyon and below that. There's a way through the Tapeats, an old trail. So we got down there and then we worked our way down through without a trail, but [it was] feasible, nothing spectacularly hard to the river's edge and we were right at the foot of Sockdolager Rapid. It was an interesting place. I think the Kolbs in their 1911 trip did stop there. I think one of the photographs that they took shows that. I went into Emery and said, "Did you ever hike down there? He said, "No I didn't, but I think my brother did." He had said that twice to me, so that gave me the impression that maybe Ellsworth Kolb did a lot of hiking, a lot more than Emery did. Some of the people that knew a little about Emery said that they thought most of his hiking was within sight of his studio, not just all over everywhere. Course some of that isn't true. He went to Supai with burros for the loads. And they went down to the Little Colorado mouth with burros too, and then met them there and hiked up the Little Colorado, eight and a half miles and back one day. So Emery and his brother, and maybe I should say especially his brother, did do quite a lot of hiking.

(Change camera tapes.)

Mahanay: So Ruth Baker was here tonight?

Butchart: Yeah, she was on the second [first] trip that Emery took to the top of Shiva.

Mahanay: Wow, that's interesting.

Butchart: Yeah. She's showing us snapshots that just look as fresh as if they were taken in the last three weeks of the party up there at the top of Shiva. Actually I don't think she . . . the one's I saw just now were documentaries to prove that they had been there and were successful in the climb. Course that's the kind of thing I would take--shots of Isis Temple or something away from Shiva, or Dragon Head, so could prove that you had been on Shiva. You had to be there to get pictures from the angle.

Quinn: Is there a favorite trail that you have that you can just admire the engineering and the problems that the guys solved?

Butchart: I was impressed right away, and I guess I still am, with the imagination that they used when they built the Kaibab Trail on the South Rim. Those switchbacks down there, I would think that a person looking at that slope beforehand wouldn't have thought that was a good place to build a trail. I was impressed with that. I guess I can't think of the other trails that . . . . Of course North Rim Trail is outstanding for its beauty. I remember how impressed I was with what I saw when I came down the North Rim Trail the first time.

Incidentally, I'm afraid that familiarity kind of weakens the impression. It reminds me of when I was hiking up the Kaibab Trail with an overnight pack on my back. [It was] kind of floppy and looked pretty big and heavy, although it wasn't terribly heavy. A woman on the mule back said, "Well, was it worth it?" I said, "Oh I guess so." I thought that one over for awhile. After more consideration I thought there was a better way to answer than that. I should have said it was better the first twenty-five times. (laughter)

Quinn: Were there or are there some places that you got just a perfect sense of wilderness or serenity? Like just coming up into a place and just . . . ?

Butchart: Yeah, there were quite a few places like that. I think the place that I thought was the least likely to have been frequented by any humans before was in the canyon that's just east of Red Canyon, it's . . . in the next one west of Seventy-five Mile [Canyon]. The name slips me.

Quinn: Papago, around there?

Butchart: Yeah. And I didn't think that there was any good way to get in there except the way I was in. I had to climb over a ledge or two that were five or six feet high. I thought maybe nobody had been in there before, but I found out differently. It did give me a feeling though of being in a new territory. Likewise, being on top of a mesa like Nankoweap Mesa. I was fairly sure that there hadn't been anybody up there because [of the] lack of cairns mainly. One way up there's a good deer trail if you found it. I didn't find a deer trail on the way as I went up, but I did find it on the way down. When I got up there it seemed like maybe H.G. Wells of the Lost World. Something you could imagine the same thing for the climbers on Shiva in 1937. They had the feeling they had done something that nobody had done.

But actually there were potsherds. The prehistoric Indians had been there and the deer had come up and shed antlers there too. It wasn't such a remote area as they felt like it should be. I don't know if I can think of anything more unusual. In Papago Canyon say, or in the western Grand Canyon, you had the feeling that you weren't about to meet other hikers there. But strangely enough, some ranchers have done some work on the place, built dams for collecting water and stuff like that. Places that have terribly bad roads leading into them. And the hikers hadn't discovered them yet. Surprise Canyon for instance, there's a big canyon there that goes into Lake Mead, when Lake Mead is up at a high elevation. There's a lot of stuff to go and see in Surprise Canyon.

For instance, George Billingsley had volunteered to lead some clients that were paying some boat company. The agreement was they would be conducted down through Surprise Canyon to the river and then they'd be picked up on the river, actually the lake. Billingsley undertook the trip without finding out how he was going to do it. He took four days to lead them down. He had to find some routes that were down some pretty good cliffs. There was a place in the upper part in the Redwall where the sides were pretty steep and the bottom was filled with water, deep enough so that his clients had to swim! Here he was guaranteeing them they'd be down to the mouth of Surprise Canyon a certain date.

Anyway, when I heard about that I thought, gee that's pretty remote. So I got in there with a boat. I used my own boat to get up to Surprise Canyon and went up from below. Lo and behold there were cow chips down fairly close to the river. I wondered did the cows come the way Billingsley had brought his clients? I was pretty sure they had a better way.

So I took several trips before I found a better way. There was a tributary called Two Springs, Twin Springs Canyon, that branched off from this main part that was sometimes called Green Springs Canyon or Surprise Canyon. I went up this tributary called Twin Springs. I didn't think there was too much of a probability of getting through there all right, but found out that although it's a most spectacular slot through the Redwall that I can think of anywhere in the Grand Canyon, still there's nothing worse than a bed and plain gravel and pebbles. You just walk up a fairly easy grade and [in] about forty minutes you're through the Redwall, at least you're coming out into the open valley. Then that leads you up to a cow path that goes up the last part near the top in a rather interesting bunch of switchbacks through the Coconino. That was one of the interesting things I found in Surprise Canyon.

But I didn't exhaust Surprise Canyon. I found another way through the Redwall that would take you on to Amos Spring if you go around far enough. The last hike I took in the Grand Canyon, when I was eighty years old, was down to Amos Spring. I thought, "Gee I'd sure like to be able to connect that with where I'd been up through the Redwall and along the rim of the Redwall before and I'd ran out of time that time." So that was one of the several things that I really regret not having done in the Canyon before I was crippled and sidelined.

Quinn: What was another one?

Butchart: Oh, I could prepare a list or perhaps I have a list at home. Course one of the things was a project to complete the route from Lees Ferry along the right side of Colorado River at some level, either right close to the river or up higher, clear from Lees Ferry to the Grand Wash Cliffs opposite Pierce Ferry. But I never finished that. There was a gap from Kanab Creek to Parashant Canyon. After that from Parashant Canyon I had it already done down past Diamond Creek. In Surprise Canyon I'd been up to the higher level just below the Coconino and Supai Esplanade. Then there was a gap there, from there over, about a days walk. Well, I would go to Amos Spring, from there and then over down into Surprise Canyon.

One of the things that I most regret having missed in Surprise Canyon was a possible route through the Redwall to the west. I had a companion, John Green, who came down with me off Twin Point, which is the promontory that goes way out. There's a cow path off Twin Point goes down to a spring. I think the rancher told me they called [it] Neil Spring, Nelson Spring or something like that, Neilson Spring. Anyway, it's down in the Supai a little way. I hiked down with this John Green down there. We got down there in pretty good time, just a little after noon I think. But I was already fairly old and I felt I had mine for the day. So I fooled around and read my magazine.

He went on down and got through quite a bit of the Redwall, and if he had known what I had told him, he hadn't listened very well, he probably could have gone clear to the bed of Surprise Canyon that day and come back up to the spring where we were [going to] camp. But he did an important part of the route that day. Then I brought him up from below, through where the boat approached the mouth of Surprise Canyon. We hiked up Surprise. I said, "Well, don't wait for me. I can't keep up a good pace anymore and I'll follow you. If I ever come to your pack, I'll probably stay there."

It was sort of a dry season and we didn't find water everywhere that I had found it before in Surprise Canyon. But after he had walked maybe an hour without any water, he came to a pool that was big enough for us and dropped his pack. So when I reached that I dropped my pack and rested the rest of the day. He came back to where I was waiting and his report was that he had gone up where I'd suggested and had gotten through and connected with where he had been before. But he said that it was a rough climb and he didn't think that I could make it.

Actually I knew that he was a better climber than I am. He had done something down across from Pierce Ferry that I had given up, I would have given up if I had tried it, I was pretty sure. But I regretted that I hadn't gone on the next day and tried it myself. Maybe I would have found an easier way or something that he had missed. He talked me out of doing that. He said he had his job at Tusayan with the McDonalds that he might loose if he stayed away very long. He hadn't told me that before I took him. I wished I'd gone alone on that trip. But anyway, I didn't get a chance to go up through the Redwall, complete that route. That was one of the most interesting routes of all. That was one of the things that I really regretted, not having had time to do [that] before I was put on the shelf with my hip here. Well, I've held forth for quite awhile. Probably you are as tired of it as I am, or more so.

Jim Boyd: How about one more?

Butchart: All right.

Jim Boyd: Why'd you do it?

Butchart: Why did I do it! I used to give a real glib answer: I said there were two reasons for me to do something: one was that somebody had already done it and the other was that nobody had done it. But I had another explanation. A woman who was co-sponsor of a college hiking club for a few years went back to Massachusetts and was helping edit the Appalachian Mountain Club Journal. She printed a contribution that I made called, "Backpacking on the Colorado" that was my floating experience down through Marble Canyon, and I guess maybe I'd included San Juan River and Glen Canyon. She asked me in a letter, "What are your motivations for doing all your hiking?"

I hadn't thought a lot, but I thought about it and I analyzed it into categories and so I had several reasons that I could put onto this form. One was physical fitness. Of course there are lots of ways to achieve that. Another was to enjoy the scenery, aesthetic appreciation of scenery. Another was scientific curiosity--what's over beyond the next ridge, where is there an Indian ruin or something that I might be interested in, like a natural bridge or a waterfall or something, scientific curiosity about what's not shown on the map but might be there and numerous times I was there. Another one was sociability, enjoyment of company when backpacking. But there was a fifth one that was contrary to that, one was to go by yourself and work up a reputation for being an expert.

I was thinking over what I'd found that I was most interested in having achieved. Best achievement was to locate the natural bridge in Royal Arch Creek. But I can't figure I was the first white man to see it because the west half Matthes-Evans map showed a cairn on the terrace just immediately east of Elves Chasm. If they got there and built a cairn seven feet high--you can't reach up and touch the top of it, over a yard in diameter--they probably went to the edge of that terrace and looked down and there's a bridge. So I think the fact that they called it Royal Arch Creek meant that they had seen this arch, but they didn't put it on the map. They didn't put the other natural bridges on the map either.

The one that Barry Goldwater discovered from the air actually had been seen by a few people way back who didn't publicize it. They didn't put that on the map. They were discussing whether that was a real bridge or just an optical illusion--it appeared at certain times of the day and not at other times. Eddie McKee said that he didn't think there was any bridge there, that that country had been mapped and surveyors should have seen it if it was there. But they didn't, they did some of their mapping from remote areas and sightings and so on.

Quinn: How did you choose your companions? Did you have to know them a little bit first?

Butchart: Yeah, I did know whether they were good hikers or not, almost always. There were a few times when I, for instance, I hiked with a student, a freshman at the college, down to Phantom, the campground at Bright Angel Creek. I wanted to light out and go over to Clear Creek and back as an afternoon jaunt. I knew that was fairly far for an afternoon. So I was going to eat my lunch quickly and get going by 12:30. But this student had hiked with me on Mount Elden a couple weeks before and I was kind of discouraging to him. I was trying to get him to back out. I was saying that it might be a rough go. He said, "No, I think if you can do it, I can do it." So he came with me and we got over there as fast as we could walking. Then we shortcutted down the shale slope to get to the creek and filled our canteens. Then we saw that it was smarter to come by trail up the shale slope and we trotted, jogged wherever it went downhill where it was easier to run. We didn't try to run uphill.

We got back to the campsite--this was at Armistice Day or Veterans Day weekend--and it was after dark, 7:15 or so when we got back. So it was closer to one o'clock when we started over there because he fooled around and didn't eat his lunch quickly enough for me. So we had to hustle and I was feeling all right the next day. I wasn't in such bad shape but he had a terrible time getting out of the Canyon. His legs were hurting. His knees were hurting. He had to admit that maybe he wasn't in as good a shape as I was (laughter).

Quinn: Was there a time of the year that you didn't hike? Did you avoid the heat or . . . ?

Butchart: For awhile I went into it in all the temperatures and all the bad times of the year as well as all the good times. I remember sometimes when I was really in trouble with the heat and a . . . .

Quinn: Did you ever get heat exhaustion or heat stroke?

Butchart: I had times when I'd get a sudden shiver through the whole body and somebody told me that was a kind of a bad sign, a symptom that maybe you were on the verge of having heat prostration. I can remember sometimes that I was so weak from the heat that I had to sit down even when there was nothing better for shade than a mesquite tree or something that wasn't much shade, and have to sit down and wait awhile.

Quinn: Did you ever get frostbite?

Butchart: Let's see now, no I didn't get frostbite, although I did around Flagstaff. I was hiking over from the Snowbowl over to the Waterline Road that comes around from the east side of the Peaks and I got my feet wet and one shoe was drier that the other and I didn't bother to change. I had some dry socks along . . . .

(Tape runs out)

End of Interview.

 

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Do you have any off trail stories, hikes, or descriptions you would like to add?

Do you have any questions, comments, or corrections?

If so, drop me a  email at mikem@rem0vethisgrandcanyontreks.org
(just delete the "rem0vethis" from the email address)