No one would suspect it to be an active geyser. But in 1871, a column of water entirely filling the crater shot from it, which by actual measurement was found to be two hundred and nineteen feet high.
Not more than a hundred yards from the river, there is a large oval aperture eighteen feet wide and twenty-five feet long. The sides are covered with a grayish-white deposit which is distinctly visible at a depth of a hundred feet below the surface.
This geyser is known as the “Giantess,” and a visitor in describing it states that “no water could be discovered on the first approach, but it could be distinctly heard gurgling and boiling at a great distance below. Suddenly it began to rise, spluttering and sending out huge volumes of steam, causing a general scattering of our company.
“When within about forty feet of the surface, it became stationary, and we returned to look upon it. All at once it rose with incredible rapidity, the hot water bursting from the opening with terrific force, rising in a column the full size of this immense aperture to the height of sixty feet.
“Through, and out of the top of this mass, five or six lesser jets or round columns of water, varying in size from six to fifteen inches in diameter, were projected to the marvelous height of two hundred and fifty feet.”
[Illustration: View in the Grand Canon]
The length of the Colorado River, from the sources of the Green River, is about two thousand miles.
For five hundred miles of this distance, the river has worn deep cuts or gorges through the soft rock, called canons.
The rocky sides of these canons form lofty vertical walls, which, in some places, rise to a height of more than a mile above the surface of the water.
The largest and most noted of these vast gorges is the Grand Canon, which extends a distance of more than two hundred miles. The height of the walls of this canon varies from four thousand to seven thousand feet.
The river, as it runs through it, is from fifty to three hundred feet wide. So swift is the current, that it is almost impossible to float a boat down the stream without having it dashed to pieces against the rocky walls on either side.
The first descent through these canons was made in 1867, from a point on Grand River, about thirty miles above its junction with Green River.
Three men were prospecting for gold, and being attacked by Indians and one of their number killed, the other two decided to attempt the descent of the river, rather than retrace their steps through a country where Indians were numerous.
They constructed a raft of a few pieces of drift-wood, and having secured their arms and provisions, commenced their journey down the stream.
A few days afterward, while the raft was descending a cataract, one of the men was drowned and all the provisions were washed overboard.