Mount Trumbull!

John Wesley Powell trip report

 

 

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September 20, 1873

For several days we have been discussing the relative merits of several names for these mountains. The Indians call them Uinkarets, the region of pines, and we adopt the name. The great mountain we call Mount Trumbull, in honor of the senator. Today the train starts back to the canyon water pocket, while Captain Bishop and I climb Mount Trumbull. On our way we pass the point that was the last opening to the volcano.

It seems but a few years since the last flood of fire swept the
valley. Between two rough, conical hills it poured, and ran down the
valley to the foot of a mountain standing almost at the lower end,
then parted, and ran on either side of the mountain. This last
overflow is very plainly marked; there is soil, with trees and grass,
to the very edge of it, on a more ancient bed. The flood was,
everywhere on its border, from 10 to 20 feet in height, terminating
abruptly and looking like a wall from below. On cooling, it shattered
into fragments, but these are still in place and the outlines of
streams and waves can be seen. So little time has elapsed since it ran
down that the elements have not weathered a soil, and there is
scarcely any vegetation on it, but here and there a lichen is found.
And yet, so long ago was it poured from the depths, that where ashes
and cinders have collected in a few places, some huge cedars have
grown.

Near the crater the frozen waves of black basalt are rent with deep
fissures, transverse to the direction of the flow. Then we ride
through a cedar forest up a long ascent, until we come to cliffs of
columnar basalt. Here we tie our horses and prepare for a climb among
the columns. Through crevices we work, till at last we are on the
mountain, a thousand acres of pine land spread out before us, gently
rising to the other edge. There are two peaks on the mountain. We walk
two miles to the foot of the one looking to be the highest, then a
long, hard climb to its summit. What a view is before us ! A vision of
glory ! Peaks of lava all around below us. The Vermilion Cliffs to the
north, with their splendor of colors ; the Pine Valley Mountains to
the northwest, clothed in mellow, perspective haze; unnamed mountains
to the southwest, towering over canyons bottomless to my peering gaze,
like chasms to nadir hell ; and away beyond, the San Francisco
Mountains, lifting their black heads into the heavens. We find our way
down the mountain, reaching the trail made by the pack train just at
dusk, and follow it through the dark until we see the camp fire - a
welcome sight.

Two days more, and we are at Pipe Spring; one day, and we are
at Kanab. Eight miles above the town is a canyon, on either side
of which is a group of lakes. }.'our of these are in caves where the
sun never shines. By the side of one of these I sit, at my feet the
crystal waters, of which I may drink at will.

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