The Grand Canyon Of Arizona: How To See It By George Wharton James

 -  No ships use its waters for beneficent commerce. Its only
carrying power is in the amount of sand and other - Page 290
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No Ships Use Its Waters For Beneficent Commerce.

Its only carrying power is in the amount of sand and other material it holds in solution, and carries within itself.

Its Incredible Descent. For it is doubtful whether any river in the world has so rapid a descent from towering mountain heights to its receiving ocean, as has the Colorado. It falls over four thousand two hundred feet from its source to its mouth, and in less than five hundred miles of its distance it contains five hundred and twenty rapids, falls and cataracts. A fall or a rapid or a cataract for every mile, and a few over for good measure. Who can conceive the peril of journeying through such a river? And until the facts were known, how hopeless to attempt to ascend such a river, as did Alarcon, Ives and Wheeler!

Useless for Commerce. As already stated, it is the most useless of the large rivers of the world as a carrier of ships of commerce. No boat, carrying produce of field, mill or mart, has ever passed up or down its course. No whitewinged schooner or other merchantman has enlivened its course by proudly gliding on its bosom to waiting port, where cargoes are discharged and received. No thrilling fleet of battleships ever has seen its banks, or ever will, for it is useless, absolutely, irretrievably, God-ordainedly useless for all purposes of commerce, traffic, or communication.

Dangerous and Destructive. Read the accounts of Powell's trips down its dangerous course; of Alarcon's struggles to ascend its headlong tides; of Ives's and Wheeler's attempts to explore a portion of it; of Cardenas's efforts even to reach its waters from one of its banks, and of the ruthless manner in which it has destroyed the lives of those unfortunate enough to come within its reach.

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