Grand Canyon History Symposium

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From Santa Fe, it’s back on the road to Moab, Grand Canyon and Zion national parks.  At Montecello I find another roadside attraction with a fantastic boutique ice cream parlor.  Screech!  On Doctor’s orders (mine), I sooth my sore throat with big dollop of Chocolate/Peanutbutter ice cream…….

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Just south of Moab is Church Rock where Mormon pioneers stopped to worship.  Not sure what they were worshiping about but at least it was out of the sun.  This should be included in the nearby national parks.  Southern Utah and northern Arizona are the best kept secrets–although they’re not secret any more.  Let’s go hiking!

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I’d always read and heard (and driven by) Fisher Towers but never hiked in to view them.  Titan is the biggest monolith in this group.  It’s about 2 miles in to the base of some of the most fantastic spires ever.

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These four smaller towers are named “Ancient Art with the right-hand one called The Corckscrew and for obvious reasons

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What’s this on top?

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I hike around the base to the other side–it looks more like a crankshaft to me, but somehow Crankshaft Tower doesn’t ring true.

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Zooming in I spot a climber–this tower is the most popular climb in Moab–rated at 5.9 which back in the 1960s was the hardest rating.  Today, that has fudged, inflated, and earned harder grades…. to 5.15a,b,c, etc…..  Where will this grade inflation end?  True, the climbers today are way, way better, with better equipment, too.  And here I am a 27 year old trapped in a 70 year old body–someone get me out!

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What exhilaration!–this climb can be viewed on Youtube here.

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After my hike I drive around to Castleton Tower, the Priest and the Nuns and discover another old Airstream.

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Serial #57!  Identical to mine but manufactured a year later in 1949. And still going strong!

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I’m invited to give the keynote talk at the fourth Grand Canyon History Symposium.  I greet about 300 Grand Canyon enthusiasts and learn a lot!  Many of these folks have spent time in Antarctica.  I’m hooked on old river boats now and am planning a trip down the Canyon.  Why have I waited so long?

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Here’s the group of presenters.  I forgot to take off my hat…..  (photo by Tom Martin, GCHS)

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One big surprise was to find another original copy of the Grand Canyon WPA poster.   This makes five known surviving copies now out of 100 printed.  This was donated to the park by a woman in Sedona who worked for the park beginning in 1951 which is when the US Mint building in San Francisco shipped the remnants back to parks.  This is likely one of these?  It was quite faded which surprised me as other duplicate copies–some hidden away and some in frames exhibited pretty stable colors–a question I get asked at all my talks (since I describe my re-coloration efforts beginning with black and white photographs).

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Here is a light relief (tilting 89 degrees to sunlight) which shows the ink layers much better.  The mint green was likely the first color with the pink second.  The light purple was a very thick layer; the dark purple very thin.  These were wonderfully made all by hand–this is a great find and I’m lobbying for moving this print within the system to the NPS Archives in Harpers Ferry where I’m trying to build a set.  Forty-two prints have now turned up; 12 of the 14 designs of which 11 have been returned to the public domain.

I’m still searching for Wind Cave and Great Smoky Mountain–one known Yosemite slipped through my fingers at auction 10 years ago.  I’m offering a $5000 reward for each of these three and will donate these to the NPS.

Stand by!

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