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WE have determined to continue the exploration of the cañons of the Colorado. Our last trip was so hurried, owing to the loss of rations, and the scientific instruments were so badly injured, that we are not satisfied with the results obtained, so we shall once more attempt to pass through the cañons in boats, devoting two or three years to the trip.

It will not be possible to carry in the boats sufficient supplies for the party for that length of time, so it is thought best to establish dépôts of supplies, at intervals of one or two hundred miles along the river.

Between Gunnison’s Crossing and the foot of the Grand Cañon, we know of only two points where the river can be reached — one at the Crossing of the Fathers, and another a few miles below, at the moth of the Paria, on a rote which has been explored by Jacob Hamblin, a Mormon missionary. These two points are so near each other that only one of them can be selected for the purpose above mentioned, and others must be fond. We have been unable, up to this time, to obtain, either from Indians or white men, any information which will give us a clue to any other trail to the river.

At the head waters of the Sevier, we are on the summit of a great water-shed. The Sevier itself flows north, and then westward, into the lake of the same name. The Rio Virgen, heading near by, flows to the southwest, into the Colorado, sixty or seventy miles below the Grand Cañon. The Kanab, also heading near by, runs directly south, into the very heart of the Grand Cañon. The Paria, also heading near by, runs a little south of east, and enters the river at the head of Marble Cañon. To the northeast from this point, other streams, which run into the Colorado, have their sources, until, forty or fifty miles away, we reach the southern branches of the Dirty Devil River, the moth of which stream is but a short distance below the junction Of the Grand and Green.

The Pons-a’-gunt Plateau terminates in a point, which is bonded by a line of beautiful pink cliffs. At the foot of this plateau, on the west, the Rio Virgen and Sevier Rivers are dovetailed together, as their minute upper branches interlock. The upper surface of the plateau inclines to the northeast, so that its waters roll off into the Sevier; but from the foot of the cliffs, quite around the sharp angle of the plateau, for a dozen miles, we find numerous springs, whose waters unite to form the Kanab. But a little farther to the northeast the springs gather into streams that feed the Paria.

Here, by the upper springs of the Kanab, we make a camp, and from this point we are to radiate on a series of trips, southwest, south, and east.

Jacob Hamblin, who has been a missionary among the Indians for more than twenty years, has collected a number of Kai’-vav-its, with Chu-ar’-ru-um-peak, their chief, and they are all camped with us. They assure us that we cannot reach the river; that we cannot make or way into the depths of the cañon, but promise to show us the springs and water pockets, which are very scarce in all this region, and to give us all the information in their power.

Here we fit up a pack train, for or bedding and instruments, and supplies are to be carried on the backs of mules and ponies.

September 5, 1870. — The several members of the party are engaged in general preparation for or trip down to the Grand Cañon.

Taking with me a white man and an Indian, I start on a climb to the summit of the Pouns-á-gunt Plateau, which rises above us on the east. Our way, for a mile or more, is over a great peat bog, that trembles under or feet, and now and then a mule sinks through the broken turf, and we are compelled to pull it out with ropes.

Passing the bog, or way is up a gulch, at the foot of the Pink Cliffs, which form the escarpment, or wall, of the great plateau. Soon we leave the gulch, and climb a long ridge, which winds around to the right toward the summit of the great table.

Two hours’ riding, climbing, and clambering brings us near the top. We look below, and see clods drifting up from the south, and rolling tumultuously toward the foot of the cliffs, beneath us. Soon, all the country below is covered with a sea of vapor — a billowy, raging, noiseless sea — and as the vapory flood still rolls up from the south, great waves dash against the foot of the cliffs and roll back; another tide comes in, is hurled back, and another and another, lashing the cliffs until the fog rises to the summit, and covers us all.

There is a heavy pine and fir forest above, beset with dead and fallen timber, and we make our way through the undergrowth to the east.

It rains! The clouds discharge their moisture in torrents, and we make for ourselves shelters of boughs, which are soon abandoned, and we stand shivering by a great fire of pine logs and boughs, which we have kindled, but which the pelting storm half extinguishes.

One, two, three, four hours of the storm, and at last it partially abates.

During this time our animals, which we have turned loose, have sought for themselves shelter under the trees, and two of them have wandered away beyond our sight. I go out to follow their tracks, and come near to the brink of a ledge of rocks, which, in the fog and mist, I suppose to be a little ridge, and I look for a way by which I can go down. Standing just here, there is a rift made in the fog below, by some current or blast of wind, which reveals an almost bottomless abyss. I look from the brink of a great precipice of more than two thousand feet; but, through the mist, the forms below are half obscured, and all reckoning of distance is lost, and it seems ten thousand feet, ten miles — any distance the imagination desires to make it.

Catching our animals, we return to the camp. We find that the little streams which come down from the plateau are greatly swollen, but at camp they have had no rain. The clouds which drifted up from the south, striking against the plateau, were lifted up into colder regions, and discharged their moisture on the summit, and against the sides of the plateau, but there was no rain in the valley below.

September 9. — We make a fair start this morning, from the beautiful meadow at the head of the Kanab, and cross the line of little hills at the headwaters of the Rio Virgen, and pass, to the south, a pretty valley, and at ten o’clock come to the brink of a great geographic bench — a line of cliffs. Behind us are cool springs, green meadows, and forest clad slopes; below us, stretching to the south, until the world is lost in blue haze, is a painted desert; not a desert plain, but a desert of rocks, cut by deep gorges, and relieved by towering cliffs and pinnacled rocks — naked rocks, brilliant in the sunlight.

By a difficult trail, we make our way down the basaltic ledge, through which innumerable streams here gather into a little river, running in a deep cañon. The river runs close to the foot of the cliffs, on the right hand side, and the trail passes along to the right. At noon we rest, and our animals feed on luxuriant grass.

Again we start, and make slow progress along a stony way. At night we camp under an overarching cliff.

September 10. — Here the river turns to the west, and our way, properly, is to the south; but we wish to explore the Rio Virgen as far as possible. The Indians tell us that the cañon narrows gradually, a few miles below, and that it will be impossible to take our animals much farther down the river. Early in the morning, I go down to examine the head of this narrow part. After breakfast, having concluded to explore the cañon for a few miles on foot, we arrange that the main party shall climb the cliff, and go around to a point eighteen or twenty miles below, where, the Indians say, the animals can be taken down by the river, and three of us set out on foot.

The Indian name of the cañon is Pa-rú-nu-weap, or Roaring Water Cañon. Between the little river and the foot of the walls, is a dense growth of willows, vines, and wild rose bushes, and, with great difficulty, we make or way through this tangled mass. It is not a wide stream — only twenty or thirty feet across in most places; shallow, but very swift. After spending some hours in breaking our way through the mass of vegetation, and climbing rocks here and there, it is determined to wade along the stream. In some places this is an easy task, but here and there we come to deep holes, where we have to wade to our arm pits. Soon we come to places so narrow that the river fills the entire channel, and we wade perforce. In many places the bottom is a quicksand, into which we sink, and it is with great difficulty that we make progress. In some places the holes are so deep that we have to swim, and our little bundles of blankets and rations are fixed to a raft made of driftwood, and pushed before us. Now and then there is a little flood-plain, on which we can walk, and we cross and recross the stream, and wade along the channel where the water is so swift as to almost carry us off our feet, and we are in danger every moment of being swept down, until night comes on. We estimate we have traveled eight miles to-day. We find a little patch of flood-plain, on which there is a huge pile of driftwood and a clump of box-elders, and near by a great stream, which bursts from the rocks — a mammoth spring.

We soon have a huge fire, our clothes are spread to dry, we make a cup of coffee, take out our bread and cheese and dried beef, and enjoy a hearty supper.

The cañon here is about twelve hundred feet deep. It has been very narrow and winding all the way down to this point.

September 11. — Wading again this morning; sinking in the quicksand, swimming the deep waters, and making slow and painful progress where the waters are swift, and the bed of the stream rocky.

The cañon is steadily becoming deeper, and, in many places, very narrow — only twenty or thirty feet wide below, and in some places no wider, and even narrower, for hundreds of feet overhead. There are places where the river, in sweeping by curves, has cut far under the rocks, but still preserving its narrow channel, so that there is an overhanging wall on one side and an inclined wall on the other. In places a few hundred feet above, it becomes vertical again, and thus the view of the sky is entirely closed. Everywhere this deep passage is dark and gloomy, and resounds with the noise of rapid waters.

At noon we are in a cañon 2,500 feet deep, and we come to a fall where the walls are broken down, and huge rocks beset the channel, on which we obtain a foothold to reach a level two hundred feet below. Here the cañon is again wider, and we find a flood-plain, along which we can walk, now on this, and now on that side of the stream. Gradually the cañon widens; steep rapids, cascades, and cataracts are found along the river, but we wade only when it is necessary to cross. We make progress with very great labor, having to climb over piles of broken rocks.

Late in the afternoon, we come to a little clearing in the valley, and see other signs of civilization, and by sundown arrive at the Mormon town of Schunesburg; and here we meet the train, and feast on melons and grapes.

September 12. — Our course, for the last two days, through Pa-rú-nu-weap Cañon, was directly to the west. Another stream comes down from the north, and unites just here at Schunesburg with the main branch of the Rio Virgen. We determine to spend a day in the exploration of this stream. The Indians call the cañon, through which it runs, Mu-koon’-tu-weap, or Straight Cañon. Entering this, we have to wade up stream; often the water fills the entire channel, and, although we travel many miles, we find no flood-plain, talus, or broken piles of rock at the foot of the cliff. The walls have smooth, plain faces, and are everywhere very regular and vertical for a thousand feet or more, where they seem to break back in shelving slopes to higher altitudes; and everywhere, as we go along, we find springs bursting out at the foot of the walls, and, passing these, the river above becomes steadily smaller; the great body of water, which runs below, bursts out from beneath this great bed of red sandstone; as we go up the cañon, it comes to be but a creek, and then a brook. On the western wall of the cañon stand some buttes, towers, and high pinnacled rocks. Going up the cañon, we gain glimpses of them, here and there. Last summer, after our trip through the cañons of the Colorado, on our way from the mouth of the Virgen to Salt Lake City, these were seen as conspicuous landmarks, from a distance, away to the southwest, of sixty or seventy miles. These tower rocks are known as the Temples of the Virgen.

Having explored this cañon nearly to its head, we return to Schunesburg, arriving quite late at night.

Sitting in camp this evening, Chu-ar’-ru-um-peak, the chief of the Kai’-vav-its, who is one of our party, tells us there is a tradition among the tribes of this country, that many years ago a great light was seen somewhere in this region by the Pa-rú-sha-pats, who lived to the southwest, and that they supposed it to be a signal, kindled to warn them of the approach of the Navajos, who live beyond the Colorado River to the east. Then other signal fires were kindled on the Pine Valley Mountain, Santa Clara Mountains, and U-in-ka-ret Mountains, so that all the tribes of Northern Arizona, Southern Utah, Southern Nevada, and Southern California were warned of the approaching danger; but when the Pa-ru’-sha-pats came nearer, they discovered that it was a fire on one of the great Temples; and then they knew that the fire was not kindled by men, for no human being could scale the rocks. The Tu’-mu-ur-ru-gwait’-si-gaip, or Rock Rovers, had kindled a fire to deceive the people. In the Indian language this is called Tu’-mu-ur-ru-gwait’-si-gaip Tu-weap’, or Rock Rovers’ Land.

September 13. — We start very early this morning, for we have a long day’s travel before us. Our way is across the Rio Virgen to the south. Coming to the bank of the stream here, we find a strange metamorphosis. The streams we have seen above, running in narrow channels, leaping and plunging over the rocks, raging and roaring in their course, are here united, and spread in a thin sheet several hundred yards wide, and only a few inches deep, but running over a bed of quicksand. Crossing the stream, our trail leads up a narrow cañon, not very deep, and then among the hills of golden, red, and purple shales and marls. Climbing out of the valley of the Rio Virgen, we pass through a forest of dwarf cedars, and come out at the foot of the Vermilion Cliffs. All day we follow this Indian trail toward the east, and at night camp at a great spring, known to the Indians as Yellow Rock Spring, but to the Mormons as Pipe Spring; and near by there is a cabin in which some Mormon herders find shelter. Pipe Spring is a point just across the Utah line in Arizona, and we suppose it to be about sixty miles from the river. Here the Mormons design to build a fort another year, as an outpost for protection against the Indians.

Here we discharge a number of the Indians, but take two with us for the purpose of showing us the springs, for they are very scarce, very small, and not easily found. Half a dozen are not known in a district of country large enough to make as many good sized counties in Illinois. There are no running streams, and these springs and waterpockets — that is, holes in the rocks, which hold water from shower to shower — are our only dependence for this element.

Starting, we leave behind a long line of cliffs, many hundred feet high, composed of orange and vermilion sandstones. I have named them “Vermilion Cliffs.” When we are out a few miles, I look back, and see the morning sun shining in splendor on their painted faces; the salient angles are on fire, and the retreating angles are buried in shade, and I gaze on them until my vision dreams, and the cliffs appear a long bank of purple clouds, piled from the horizon high into the heavens. At noon we pass along a ledge of chocolate cliffs, and, taking out our sandwiches, we make a dinner as we ride along.

Yesterday, our Indians discussed for hours the route which we should take. There is one way, farther by ten or twelve miles, with sure water; another shorter, where water is fond sometimes; their conclusion was that water would be found now; and this is the way we go, yet all day long we are anxious about it. To be out two days, with only the water that can be carried in two small kegs, is to have our animals suffer greatly. At five o’clock we come to the spot, and there is a huge water-pocket, containing several barrels. What a relief! Here we camp for the night.

September 15. — Up at day-break, for it is a long day’s march to the next water. They say we must “run very hard” to reach it by dark.

Our course is to the south. From Pipe Spring we can see a mountain, and I recognize it as the one seen last summer from a cliff overlooking the Grand Cañon; and I wish to reach the river just behind the mountain. There are Indians living in the group, of which it is the highest, whom I wish to visit on the way. These mountains are of volcanic origin, and we soon come to ground that is covered with fragments of lava. The way becomes very difficult. We have to cross deep ravines, the heads of cañons that run into the Grand Cañon. It is curious now to observe the knowledge of our Indians. There is not a trail but what they know; every gulch and every rock seems familiar. I have prided myself on being able to grasp and retain in my mind the topography of a country; but these Indians put me to shame. My knowledge is only general, embracing the more important features of a region that remains as a map engraved on my mind; but theirs is particular. They know every rock and every ledge, every gulch and cañon, and just where to wind among these to find a pass; and their knowledge is unerring. They cannot describe a country to yo, but they can tell you all the particulars of a route.

I have but one pony for the two, and they were to ride “turn about”; but Chu-ar’-ru-um-peak, the chief, rides, and Shuts, the one-eyed, bare-legged, merry-faced pigmy, walks, and points the way with a slender cane; then leaps and bounds by the shortest way, and sits down on a rock and waits demurely until we come, always meeting us with a jest, his face a rich mine of sunny smiles.

At dusk we reach the water-pocket. It is in a deep gorge, on the flank of this great mountain. During the rainy season the water rolls down the mountain side, plunging over precipices, and excavates a deep basin in the solid rock below. This basin, hidden from the sun, holds water the year round.

September 16. — This morning, while the men are packing the animals, I climb a little mountain near camp, to obtain a view of the country. It is a huge pile of volcanic scoria, loose and light as cinders from a forge, which give way under my feet, and I climb with great labor; but reaching the summit, and looking to the southeast, I see once more the labyrinth of deep gorges that flank the Grand Cañon; in the multitude, I cannot determine whether it be in view or not. The memories of grand and awful months spent in their deep, gloomy solitudes come up, and I live that life over again for a time.

I supposed, before starting, that I could get a good view of the great mountain from this point; but it is like climbing a chair to look at a castle. I wish to discover some way by which it can be ascended, as it is my intention to go to the summit before I return to the settlements. There is a cliff near the summit, and I do not see the way yet. Now down I go, sliding on the cinders, making them rattle and clang.

The Indians say we are to have a short ride to-day, and that we will reach an Indian village, situated by a good spring. Our way is across the spurs that put out from the great mountain, as we pass it to the left.

Up and down we go, across deep ravines, and the fragments of lava clank under our horses’ feet; now among cedars, now among pines, and now across mountain side glades. At one o’clock we descend into a lovely valley, with a carpet of waving grass; sometimes there is a little water in the upper end of it, and, during some seasons, the Indians we wish to find are encamped here. Chu‑ar’-ru-um-peak rides on to find them, and to say we are friends, otherwise they would run away, or propose to fight us, should we come without notice. Soon we see Chu-ar’-ru-um-peak riding at full speed, and hear him shouting at the top of his voice, and away in the distance are two Indians, scampering up the mountain side. One stops; the other still goes on, and is soon lost to view. We ride up, and find Chu-ar’-ru-um-peak talking with the one who had stopped. It is one of the ladies resident in these mountain glades; she is evidently paying taxes, Godiva like. She tells us that her people are at the spring; that it is only two hours’ ride; that her good master has gone on to tell them we are coming, and that she is harvesting seeds.

We sit down and eat our luncheon, and share our biscuit with the woman of the mountains; then on we go, over a divide between two rounded peaks. I send the party on to the village, and climb the peak on the left, riding my horse to the upper limit of trees, and then tugging up afoot. From this point I can see the Grand Cañon, and know where I am. I can see the Indian village, too, in a grassy valley, embosomed in the mountains, the smoke curling up from their fires; my men are turning out their horses, and a group of natives stand around. Down the mountain I go, and reach camp at sunset.

After supper we put some cedar boughs on the fire, the dusky villagers sit around, and we have a smoke and a talk. I explain the object of my visit, and assure them of my friendly intentions. Then I ask them about a way down into the cañon. They tell me that years ago, a way was discovered by which parties could go down, but that no one has attempted it for a long time; that it is a very difficult and very dangerous undertaking to reach the “Big Water.” Then I inquire about the Shi’-vwits, a tribe that lives about the springs on the mountain sides and cañon cliffs to the southwest. They say that their village is now about thirty miles away, and promise to send a messenger for them tomorrow morning.

Having finished our business for the evening, I ask if there is a tu-gwi’-na-gunt in camp: that is, if there is any one present who is skilled in relating their mythology. Chu-ar’-ru-um-peak says To-mor’-ro-un-tikai, the chief of these Indians, is a very noted man for his skill in this matter; but they both object, by saying that the season for tu-gwi’nai has not yet arrived. But I had anticipated this, and soon some members of the party come with pipes and tobacco, a large kettle of coffee, and a tray of biscuits, and, after sundry ceremonies of pipe lighting and smoking, we all feast, and, warmed up by this, to them, unusual good living, it is decided that the night shall be spent in relating mythology. I ask To-mor’-ro-un-ti-kai to tell us about the So’-kus Wai’-un-ats, or One Two Boys, and to this he agrees.

The long winter evenings of an Indian camp are usually devoted to the relation of mythological stories, which purport to give a history of an ancient race of animal gods. The stories are usually told by some old man, assisted by others of the party, who take secondary parts, while the members of the tribe gather about, and make comments, or receive impressions from the morals which are enforced by the story teller, or, more properly, story tellers; for the exercise partakes somewhat of the nature of a theatrical performance.


Tum-pwi-nai’-ro-gwi-nump, he who had a stone shirt, killed Si-kor’, the Crane, and stole his wife, and seeing that she had a child, and thinking it would be an encumbrance to them on their travels, he ordered her to kill it. But the mother, loving the babe, hid it under her dress, and carried it away to its grandmother. And Stone Shirt carried his captured bride to his own land.

In a few years the child grew to be a fine lad, under the care of his grandmother, and was her companion wherever she went.

One day they were digging flag roots, on the margin of the river, and putting them in a heap on the bank. When they had been at work a little while, the boy perceived that the roots came up with greater ease than was customary, and he asked the old woman the cause of this, but she did not know; and, as they continued their work, still the reeds came up with less effort, at which their wonder increased, until the grandmother said, “Surely, some strange thing is about to transpire.” Then the boy went to the heap, where they had been placing the roots, and found that some one had taken them away, and he ran back, exclaiming, “Grandmother, did you take the roots away?” And she answered, “No, my child; perhaps some ghost has taken them off; let us dig no more; come away.” But the boy was not satisfied, as he greatly desired to know what all this meant; so he searched about for a time, and at length found a man sitting under a tree, whom he taunted with being a thief, and threw mud and stones at him, until he broke the stranger’s leg, who answered not the boy, nor resented the injuries he received, but remained silent and sorrowful; and, when his leg was broken, he tied it up in sticks, and bathed it in the river, and sat down again under the tree, and beckoned the boy to approach. When the lad came near, the stranger told him he had something of great importance to reveal. “My son,” said he, “did that old woman ever tell you about your father and mother?” “No,” answered the boy; “I have never heard of them.” “My son, do you see these bones scattered on the ground? Whose bones are these?” “How should I know?” answered the boy. “It may be that some elk or deer has been killed here.” “No,” said the old man. “Perhaps they are the bones of a bear;” but the old man shook his head. So the boy mentioned many other animals, but the stranger still shook his head, and finally said, “These are the bones of your father; Stone Shirt killed him, and left him to rot here on the ground, like a wolf.” And the boy was filled with indignation against the slayer of his father. Then the stranger asked, “Is your mother in yonder lodge?” and the boy replied, “No.” “Does your mother live on the banks of this river?” and the boy answered, “I don’t know my mother; I have never seen her; she is dead.” “My son,” replied the stranger, “Stone Shirt, who killed your father, stole your mother, and took her away to the shore of a distant lake, and there she is his wife to-day.” And the boy wept bitterly, and while the tears filled his eyes so that he could not see, the stranger disappeared. Then the boy was filled with wonder at what he had seen and heard, and malice grew in his heart against his father’s enemy. He returned to the old woman, and said, “Grandmother, why have you lied to me about my father and mother?” and she answered not, for she knew that a ghost had told all to the boy. And the boy fell upon the ground weeping and sobbing, until he fell into a deep sleep, when strange things were told him.

His slumber continued three days and three nights, and when he awoke, he said to his grandmother: “I am going away to enlist all nations in my fight;” and straightway he departed.

(Here the boy’s travels are related with many circumstances concerning the way he was received by the people, all given in a series of conversations, very lengthy, so they will be omitted.)

Finally he returned in advance of the people whom he had enlisted, bringing with him Shin-au’-av, the wolf, and To-go’-av, the rattlesnake. When the three had eaten food, the boy said to the old woman: “Grandmother, cut me in two!” But she demurred, saying she did not wish to kill one whom she loved so dearly. “Cut me in two!” demanded the boy; and he gave her a stone ax, which he had brought from a distant country, and with a manner of great authority he again commanded her to cut him in two. So she stood before him, and severed him in twain, and fled in terror. And lo! each part took the form of an entire man, and the one beautiful boy appeared as two, and they were so much alike no one could tell them apart.

When the people or natives, whom the boy had enlisted, came pouring into the camp, Shin-aú-av and To-go’-av were engaged in telling them of the wonderful thing that had happened to the boy, and that now there were two; and they all held it to be an augury of a successful expedition to the land of Stone Shirt. And they started on their journey.

Now the boy had been told in the dream of his three days’ slumber, of a magical cup, and he had brought it home with him from his journey among the nations, and the So’kus Wai’-un-ats carried it between them, filled with water. Shin-aú-av walked on their right, and To-go’-av on their left, and the nations followed in the order in which they had been enlisted. There was a vast number of them, so that when they were stretched out in line it was one day’s journey from the front to the rear of the column.

When they had journeyed two days, and were far out on the desert, all the people thirsted, for they found no water, and they fell down upon the sand, groaning, and murmuring that they had been deceived, and they cursed the One-Two.

But the So’-kus Wai’-un-ats had been told in the wonderful dream of the suffering which would be endured, and that the water which they carried in the cup was only to be used in dire necessity; and the brothers said to each other: “Now the time has come for us to drink the water.” And when one had quaffed of the magical bowl, he found it still full; and he gave it to the other to drink, and still it was full; and the One-Two gave it to the people, and one after another did they all drink, and still the cup was full to the brim.

But Shin-au’-av was dead, and all the people mourned, for he was a great man.

The brothers held the cup over him, and sprinkled him with water, when he arose and said: “Why do you disturb me? I did have a vision of mountain brooks and meadows, of cane where honey-dew was plenty.” They gave him the cup, and he drank also; but when he had finished there was none left. Refreshed and rejoicing they proceeded on their journey.

The next day, being without food, they were hungry, and all were about to perish; and again they murmured at the brothers, and cursed them. But the So’-kus Wai’-un-ats saw in the distance an antelope, standing on an eminence in the plain, in bold relief against the sky; and Shin-aú-av knew it was the wonderful antelope with many eyes, which Stone Shirt kept for his watchman; and he proposed to go and kill it, but To-go’-av demurred, and said: “It were better that I should go, for he will see you, and run away.” But the So’-kus Wai’-un-ats told Shin-aú-av to go; and he started in a direction away to the left of where the antelope was standing, that he might make a long detour about some hills, and come upon him from the other side. To-go’-av went a little way from camp, and called to the brothers: “Do you see me?” and they answered they did not. “Hunt for me;” and while they were hunting for him, the rattlesnake said: “I can see you; you are doing” — so and so, telling them what they were doing; but they could not find him.

Then the rattlesnake came forth, declaring: “Now you know I can see others, and that I cannot be seen when I so desire. Shin-au’-av cannot kill that antelope, for he has many eyes, and is the wonderful watchman of Stone Shirt; but I can kill him, for I can go where he is, and he cannot see me.” So the brothers were convinced, and permitted him to go; and he went and killed the antelope. When Shin-au’-av saw it fall, he was very angry, for he was extremely proud of his fame as a hunter, and anxious to have the honor of killing this famous antelope, and he ran up with the intention of killing To‑go’-av; but when he drew near, and saw the antelope was fat, and would make a rich feast for the people, his anger was appeased. “What matters it,” said he, “who kills the game, when we can all eat it?”

So all the people were fed in abundance, and they proceeded on their journey.

The next day the people again suffered for water, and the magical cup was empty; but the So’-kus Wai’-un-ats, having been told in their dream what to do, transformed themselves into doves, and flew away to a lake, on the margin of which was the home of Stone Shirt.

Coming near to the shore, they saw two maidens bathing in the water; and the birds stood and looked, for the maidens were very beautiful. Then they flew into some bushes, near by, to have a nearer view, and were caught in a snare which the girls had placed for intrusive birds. The beautiful maidens came up, and, taking the birds out of the snare, admired them very much, for they had never seen such birds before. They carried them to their father, Stone Shirt, who said: “My daughters, I very much fear these are spies from my enemies, for such birds do not live in our land;” and he was about to throw them into the fire, when the maidens besought him, with tears, that he would not destroy their beautiful birds; but he yielded to their entreaties with much misgiving. Then they took the birds to the shore of the lake, and set them free.

When the birds were at liberty once more, they flew around among the bushes, until they found the magical cup which they had lost, and taking it up, they carried it out into the middle of the lake and settled down upon the water, and the maidens supposed they were drowned.

The birds, when they had filled their cup, rose again, and went back to the people in the desert, where they arrived just at the right time to save them with the cup of water, from which each drank; and yet it was full until the last was satisfied, and then not a drop remained.

The brothers reported that they had seen Stone Shirt and his daughters.

The next day they came near to the home of the enemy, and the brothers, in proper person, went out to reconnoitre. Seeing a woman gleaning seeds, they drew near, and knew it was their mother, whom Stone Shirt had stolen from Si-kor’, the crane. They told her they were her sons, but she denied it, and said she had never had but one son; but the boys related to her their history, with the origin of the two from one, and she was convinced. She tried to dissuade them from making war upon Stone Shirt, and told them that no arrow could possibly penetrate his armor, and that he was a great warrior, and had no other delight than in killing his enemies, and that his daughters also were furnished with magical bows and arrows, which they could shoot so fast that the arrows would fill the air like a cloud, and that it was not necessary for them to take aim, for their missiles went where they willed; they thought the arrows to the hearts of their enemies; and thus the maidens could kill the whole of the people before a common arrow could be shot by a common person. But the boys told her what the spirit had said in the long dream, and had promised that Stone Shirt should be killed. They told her to go down to the lake at dawn, so as not to be endangered by the battle.

During the night, the So’-kus Wai’-un-ats transformed themselves into mice, and proceeded to the home of Stone Shirt, and found the magical bows and arrows that belonged to the maidens, and with their sharp teeth they cut the sinew on the backs of the bows, and nibbled the bow strings, so that they were worthless; while To-go’-av hid himself under a rock near by.

When dawn came into the sky, Tum-pwinai’-ro-gwi-nump, the Stone Shirt man, arose and walked out of his tent, exulting in his strength and security, and sat down upon the rock under which To-go’-av was hiding; and he, seeing his opportunity, sunk his fangs into the flesh of the hero. Stone Shirt sprang high into the air, and called to his daughters that they were betrayed, and that the enemy was near; and they seized their magical bows, and their quivers filled with magical arrows, and hurried to his defense. At the same time, all the nations who were surrounding the camp rushed down to battle. But the beautiful maidens, finding their weapons were destroyed, waved back their enemies, as if they would parley; and, standing for a few moments over the body of their slain father, sang the death song, and danced the death dance, whirling in giddy circles about the dead hero, and wailing with despair, until they sank down and expired.

The conquerors buried the maidens by the shores of the lake; but Tum-pwi-nai’-ro-gwinump was left to rot, and his bones to bleach on the sands, as he had left Si-kor’.

There is this proverb among the Utes: “Do not murmur when you suffer in doing what the spirits have commanded, for a cup of water is provided.” And another: “What matters it who kills the game, when we can all eat of it.”

It is long after midnight when the performance is ended. The story itself was interesting, though I had heard it many times before; but never, perhaps, under circumstances more effective. Stretched beneath tall, sombre pines; a great camp fire, and by the fire, men, old, wrinkled, and ugly; deformed, blear eyed, wry faced women; lithe, stately young men; pretty but simpering maidens, naked children, all intently listening, or laughing and talking at times, their strange faces and dusky forms lit up with the glare of the pine-knot fire. All the circumstances conspired to make it a scene strange and weird. One old man, the sorcerer or medicine-man of the tribe, peculiarly impressed me. Now and then he would interrupt the play for the purpose of correcting the speakers, or impressing the moral of the story with a strange dignity and impressiveness that seemed to pass to the very border of the ludicrous; yet at no time did it make me smile.

The story is finished, but there is yet time for an hour or two’s sleep. I take Chu-ar’-ru-um-peak to one side for a talk. The three men who left us in the cañon last year found their way up the lateral gorge, by which they went into the Shi’-vwits Mountains, lying west of us, where they met with the Indians, and camped with them one or two nights, and were finally killed. I am anxious to learn the circumstances, and as the people of the tribe who committed the deed live but a little way from and are intimate with these people, I ask Chu-ar’-ru-um-peak to make inquiry for me. Then we go to bed.

September 17. — Early this morning the Indians come up to our camp. They have concluded to send out a young man after the Shi’-vwits. The runner fixes his moccasins, puts some food in a sack and water in a little wicker work jug, straps them on his back, and starts at a good round pace.

We have concluded to go down the cañon, hoping to meet the Shi’-vwits on our return. Soon we are ready to start, leaving the camp and pack animals in charge of the two Indians who came with us. As we move out, our new guide comes up, a blear eyed, weazen faced, quiet old man, with his bow and arrows in one hand, and a small cane in the other. These Indians all carry canes with a crooked handle, they say to kill rattlesnakes, and to pull rabbits from their holes. The valley is high up in the mountain, and we descend from it, by a rocky, precipitous trail, down, down, down for two long, weary hours, leading our ponies and stumbling over the rocks. At last we are at the foot of the mountain, standing on a little knoll, from which we can look into a cañon below. Into this we descend, and then we follow it for miles, clambering down and still down. Often we cross beds of lava, that have been poured into the cañon by lateral channels, and these angular fragments of basalt make the way very rough for the animals.

About two o’clock the guide halts us with his wand, and springing over the rocks he is lost in a gulch. In a few minutes he returns, and tells us there is a little water below in a pocket. It is vile and stinking, and our ponies refuse to drink it. We pass on, still ever descending. A mile or two from the water basin we come to a precipice, more than a thousand feet to the bottom. There is a cañon running at a greater depth, and at right angles to this, into which this enters by the precipice; and this second cañon is a lateral one to the greater one, in the bottom of which we are to find the river. Searching about, we find a way by which we can descend along the shelves, and steps, and piles of broken rocks.

We start leading our ponies; a wall upon our left; unknown depths on or right. At places our way is along shelves so narrow, or so sloping, that I ache with fear lest a pony should make a misstep, and knock a man over the cliffs with him. Now and then we start the loose rocks under or feet, and over the cliffs they go, thundering down, down, as the echoes roll through distant cañons. At last we pass along a level shelf for some distance, then we turn to the right, and zigzag down a steep slope to the bottom. Now we pass along this lower cañon, for two or three miles, to where it terminates in the Grand Cañon, as the other ended in this, only the river is 1,800 feet below us, and it seems, at this distance, to be but a creek. Our withered guide, the human pickle, seats himself on a rock, and seems wonderfully amused at our discomfiture, for we can see no way by which to descend to the river. After some minutes, he quietly rises, and, beckoning us to follow, he points out a narrow sloping shelf on the right, and this is to be our way. It leads along the cliff, for half a mile, to a wider bench beyond, which, he says, is broken down on the other side in a great slide, and there we can get to the river. So we start out on the shelf; it is so steep we can hardly stand on it, and to fall, or slip, is to go — don’t look and see!

It is soon manifest that we cannot get the ponies along the ledge. The storms have washed it down, since our guide was here last, years ago. One of the ponies has gone so far that we cannot turn him back until we find a wider place, but at last we get him off. With part of the men, I take the horses back to the place where there are a few bushes growing, and turn them loose; in the meantime the other men are looking for some way by which we can get down to the river. When I return, one, Captain Bishop, has found a way, and gone down. We pack bread, coffee, sugar, and two or three blankets among us, and set out. It is now nearly dark, and we cannot find the way by which the captain went, and an hour is spent in fruitless search. Two of the men go away around an amphitheater, more than a fourth of a mile, and start down a broken chasm that faces us, who are behind. These walls, that are vertical, or nearly so, are often cut by chasms, where the showers run down, and the top of these chasms will be back a distance from the face of the wall, and the bed of the chasm will slope down, with here and there a fall. At other places, huge rocks have fallen, and block the way. Down such a one the two men start. There is a curious plant growing out from the crevices of the rock. A dozen stems will start from one root, and grow to the length of eight or ten feet, and not throw out a branch or twig, but these stems are thickly covered with leaves. Now and then the two men come to a bunch of dead stems, and make a fire to mark for us their way and progress.

In the meantime we find such a gulch, and start down, but soon come to the “jumping off place,” where we can throw a stone, and hear it faintly striking, away below. We fear that we shall have to stay here, clinging to the rocks until daylight. Our little Indian gathers a few dry stems, ties them into a bundle, lights one end, and holds it up. The others do the same, and with these torches we find a way out of trouble. Helping each other, holding torches for each other, one clinging to another’s hand until we can get footing, then supporting the other on his shoulders, so we make our passage into the depths of the cañon. And now Captain Bishop has kindled a huge fire of driftwood, on the bank of the river. This, and the fires in the gulch opposite, and our own flaming torches, light up little patches, that make more manifest the awful darkness below. Still, on we go, for an hour or two, and at last we see Captain Bishop coming up the gulch, with a huge torch-light on his shoulders. He looks like a fiend, waving brands and lighting the fires of hell, and the men in the opposite gulch are imps, lighting delusive fires in inaccessible crevices, over yawning chasms; our own little Indian is surely the king of wizards, so I think, as I stop for a few moments on a rock to rest. At last we meet Captain Bishop, with his flaming torch, and, as he has learned the way, he soon pilots us to the side of the great Colorado. We are hungry and athirst, almost to starvation. Here we lie down on the rocks and drink, just a mouthful or so, as we dare; then we make a cup of coffee, and, spreading our blankets on a sand beach, the roaring Colorado lulls us to sleep.

September 18. — We are in the Grand Cañon, by the side of the Colorado, more than six thousand feet below or camp on the mountain side, which is eighteen miles away; but the miles of horizontal distance represent but a small part of the day’s labor before us. It is the mile of altitude we must gain that makes it a herculean task. We are up early; a little bread and coffee, and we look about us. Our conclusion is, that we can make this a dépôt of supplies, should it be necessary; that we can pack our rations to the point where we left our animals last night, and that we can employ Indians to bring them down to the water’s edge.

On a broad shelf, we find the ruins of an old stone house, the walls of which are broken down, and we can see where the ancient people who lived here — a race more highly civilized than the present — had made a garden, and used a great spring, that comes out of the rocks, for irrigation. On some rocks near by we discover some curious etchings. Still, searching about, we find an obscure trail up the cañon wall, marked, here and there, by steps which have been built in the loose rock, elsewhere hewn stairways, and we find a much easier way to go up than that by which we came down in the darkness last night. Coming to the top of the wall, we catch our horses, and start. Up the cañon our jaded ponies toil, and we reach the second cliff; up this we go, by easy stages, leading the animals. Now we reach the stinking water-pocket; our ponies have had no water for thirty hours, and are eager even for this foul fluid. We carefully strain a kettleful for ourselves, then divide what is left between them — two or three gallons for each; but this does not satisfy them, and they rage around, refusing to eat the scanty grass. We boil our kettle of water, and skim it; straining, boiling, and skimming makes it a little better, for it was full of loathsome, wriggling larvæ, with huge black heads. But plenty of coffee takes away the bad smell, and so modifies the taste that most of us can drink, though our little Indian seems to prefer the original mixture. We reach camp about sunset, and are glad to rest.

September 19. — We are tired and sore, and must rest a day with or Indian neighbors. During the inclement season they live in shelters, made of boughs, or bark of the cedar, which they strip off in long shreds. In this climate, most of the year is dry and warm, and during such time they do not care for shelter. Clearing a small, circular space of ground, they bank it around with brush and sand, and wallow in it during the day, and huddle together in a heap at night, men, women, and children; buckskin, rags, and sand. They wear very little clothing, not needing much in this lovely climate.

Altogether, these Indians are more nearly in their primitive condition than any others on the continent with whom I am acquainted.

They have never received anything from the Government, and are too poor to tempt the trader, and their country is so nearly inaccessible that the white man never visits them. The sunny mountain side is covered with wild fruits, nuts, and native grains, upon which they subsist. The oose, the fruit of the yucca, or Spanish bayonet, is rich, and not unlike the paw-paw of the valley of the Ohio. They eat it raw, and also roast it in the ashes. They gather the fruits of a cactus plant, which is rich and luscious, and eat them as grapes, or from them express the juice, making the dry pulp into cakes, and saving them for winter; the wine they drink about their camp fires, until the midnight is merry with the revelries.

They gather the seeds of many plants, as sunflowers, goldenrods, and grasses. For this purpose, they have large conical baskets, which hold two or more bushels. The women carry them on their backs, suspended from their foreheads by broad straps, and with a smaller one in the left hand, and a willow woven fan in the right, they walk among the grasses, and sweep the seed into the smaller basket, which is emptied, now and then, into the larger, until it is full of seeds and chaff; then they winnow out the chaff and roast the seeds. They roast these curiously; they put the seeds, with a quantity of red hot coals, into a willow tray, and, by rapidly and dexterously shaking and tossing them, keep the coals aglow, and the seeds and tray from burning. As if by magic, so skilled are the crones in this work, they roll the seeds to one side of the tray, as they are roasted, and the coals to the other. Then they grind the seeds into a fine flour, and make it into cakes and mush.

It is a merry sight, sometimes, to see the women grinding at the mill. For a mill, they use a large flat rock, lying on the ground, and another small cylindrical one in their hands. They sit prone on the ground, hold the large flat rock between the feet and legs, then fill their laps with seeds, making a hopper to the mill with their dusky legs, and grind by pushing the seeds across the larger rock, where it drops into a tray. I have seen a group of women grinding together, keeping time to a chant, or gossiping and chatting, while the younger lassies would jest and chatter, and make the pine woods merry with their laughter. Mothers carry their babes curiously in baskets. They make a wicker board, by plaiting willows, and sew a buckskin cloth to either edge, and this is fulled in the middle, so as to form a sack, closed at the bottom. At the top, they make a wicker shade, like “my grandmother’s sun bonnet,” and, wrapping the little one in a wild cat robe, place it in the basket, and this they carry on their backs, strapped over the forehead, and the little brown midgets are ever peering over their mother’s shoulders. In camp, they stand the basket against the trunk of a tree, or hang it to a limb.

There is little game in the country, yet they get a mountain sheep now and then, or a deer, with their arrows, for they are not yet supplied with guns. They get many rabbits, sometimes with arrows, sometimes with nets. They make a net of twine, made of the fibers of a native flax. Sometimes this is made a hundred yards in length, and is placed in a half circular position, with wings of sage brush. They have a circle hunt, and drive great numbers of rabbits into the snare, where they are shot with arrows. Most of their bows are made of cedar, but the best are made of the horns of mountain sheep. These are taken, soaked in water, until quite soft, cut into long thin strips, and glued together, and are then quite elastic. During the autumn, grasshoppers are very abundant. When cold weather sets in, these insects are numbed, and can be gathered by the bushel. At such a time, they dig a hole in the sand, heat stones in a fire near by, put some in the bottom of the hole, put on a layer of grasshoppers, then a layer of hot stones, and continue this, until they put bushels on to roast. There they are left until cool, when they are taken out, thoroughly dried, and ground into meal. Grasshopper gruel, or grasshopper cake, is a great treat.

Their lore consists in a mass of traditions, or mythology. It is very difficult to induce them to tell it to white men; but the old Spanish priests, in the days of the conquest of New Mexico, have spread among the Indians of this country many Bible stories, which the Indians are usually willing to tell. It is not always easy to recognize them, the Indian mind being a strange receptacle for such stories, and they are apt to sprout new limbs. Maybe much of their added quaintness is due to the way in which they were told by the “fathers.” But in a confidential way, while you are alone, or when you are admitted to their camp fire on a winter night, you will hear the stories of their mythology. I believe that the greatest mark of friendship, or confidence, that an Indian can give, is to tell you his religion. After one has so talked with me, I should ever trust him; and I feel on very good terms with these Indians, since our experience of the other night.

A knowledge of the watering places, and of the trails and passes, is considered of great importance, and is necessary, to give standing to a chief.

This evening, the Shi’-vwits, for whom we have sent, come in, and, after supper, we hold a long council. A blazing fire is built, and around this we sit — the Indians living here, the Shi’-vwits, Jacob Hamblin, and myself. This man, Hamblin, speaks their language well, and has a great influence over all the Indians in the region round about. He is a silent, reserved man, and when he speaks, it is in a slow, quiet way, that inspires great awe. His talk is so low that they must listen attentively to hear, and they sit around him in deathlike silence. When he finishes a measured sentence, the chief repeats it, and they all give a solemn grunt. But, first, I fill my pipe, light it, and take a few whiffs, then pass it to Hamblin; he smokes, and gives it to the man next, and so it goes around. When it has passed the chief, he takes out his own pipe, fills, and lights it, and passes it around after mine. I can smoke my own pipe in turn, but, when the Indian pipe comes around, I am nonplussed. It has a large stem, which has, at some time, been broken, and now there is a buckskin rag wound around it, and tied with sinew, so that the end of the stem is a huge mouthful, and looks like the burying ground of old dead spittle, venerable for a century. To gain time, I refill it, then engage in very earnest conversation, and, all unawares, I pass it to my neighbor unlighted.

I tell the Indians that I wish to spend some months in their country during the coming year, and that I would like them to treat me as a friend. I do not wish to trade; do not want their lands. Heretofore I have found it very difficult to make the natives understand my object, but the gravity of the Mormon missionary helps me much. I tell them that all the great and good white men are anxious to know very many things; that they spend much time in learning, and that the greatest man is he who knows the most. They want to know all about the mountains and the valleys, the rivers and the cañons, the beasts, and birds, and snakes. Then I tell them of many Indian tribes, and where they live; of the European nations; of the Chinese, of Africans, and all the strange things about them that come to my mind. I tell them of the ocean, of great rivers and high mountains, of strange beasts and birds. At last I tell them I wish to learn about their cañons and mountains, and about themselves, to tell other men at home; and that I want to take pictures of everything, and show them to my friends. All this occupied much time, and the matter and manner made a deep impression.

Then their chief replies: “Your talk is good, and we believe what you say. We believe in Jacob, and look upon you as a father. When you are hungry, you may have our game. You may gather our sweet fruits. We will give you food when you come to our land. We will show you the springs, and you may drink; the water is good. We will be friends, and when you come we will be glad. We will tell the Indians who live on the other side of the great river that we have seen Ka’-pu-rats, and he is the Indians’ friend. We will tell them he is Jacob’s friend. We are very poor. Look at our women and children; they are naked. We have no horses; we climb the rocks, and our feet are sore. We live among rocks, and they yield little food and many thorns. When the cold moons come, our children are hungry. We have not much to give; you must not think us mean. You are wise; we have heard you tell strange things. We are ignorant. Last year we killed three white men. Bad men said they were our enemies. They told great lies. We thought them true. We were mad; it made us big fools. We are very sorry. Do not think of them, it is done; let us be friends. We are ignorant — like little children in understanding compared with you. When we do wrong, do not get mad, and be like children too.

“When white men kill our people, we kill them. Then they kill more of us. It is not good. We hear that the white men are a great number. When they stop killing us, there will be no Indian left to bury the dead. We love our country; we know not other lands. We hear that other lands are better; we do not know. The pines sing, and we are glad. Our children play in the warm sand; we hear them sing, and are glad. The seeds ripen, and we have to eat, and we are glad. We do not want their good lands; we want our rocks, and the great mountains where our fathers lived. We are very poor; we are very ignorant; but we are very honest. You have horses, and many things. You are very wise; you have a good heart. We will be friends. Nothing more have I to say.”

Ka’-pu-rats is the name by which I am known among the Utes and Shoshones, meaning “arm off.” There was much more repetition than I have given, and much emphasis. After this a few presents were given, we shook hands, and the council broke up.

Mr. Hamblin fell into conversation with one of the men, and held him until the others had left, and then learned more of the particulars of the death of the three men. They came upon the Indian village almost starved and exhausted with fatigue. They were supplied with food, and put on their way to the settlements. Shortly after they had left, an Indian from the east of the Colorado arrived at their village, and told them about a number of miners having killed a squaw in drunken brawl, and no doubt these were the men. No person had ever come down the cañon; that was impossible; they were trying to hide their guilt. In this way he worked them into a great rage. They followed, surrounded the men in ambush, and filled them full of arrows. 2

That night I slept in peace, although these murderers of my men, and their friends, the U-in-ka-rets, were sleeping not five hundred yards away. While we were gone to the cañon, the pack-train and supplies, enough to make an Indian rich beyond his wildest dreams, were all left in their charge, and were all safe; not even a lump of sugar was pilfered by the children.

September 20. — For several days we have been discussing the relative merits of several names for these mountains. The Indians call them U-in-ka-rets, the region of pines, and we adopt the name. The great mountain we call Mount Trumbull, in honor of the Senator. To-day the train starts back to the cañon water-pocket, while Captain Bishop and I climb Mont 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 ten to twenty 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 you can see the outlines of streams and waves. 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 walked two miles to the foot of the one looking to be the highest, then a long, hard climb to its summit. And here, oh, 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 Mountain to the northwest, clothed in mellow, perspective haze; unnamed mountains to the southwest, towering over cañons, bottomless to my peering gaze, like chasms to the 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.

Two days more, and we are at Pipe Spring; one day, and we are at Kanab. Eight miles above the town is a cañon, on either side of which is a group of lakes. By the side of one of these I sit, the crystal waters at my feet, at which I may drink at will.



1 Here the story is continued in September of the following year, 1870. (Ed.)

2 The murder of the two Howlands and Dunn was committed at what is now known as Ambush Waterpocket, south of Mount Dellenbaugh. (Ed.)

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