August 13, 2019...Day 12 Post-SCREE! - Jessica Flock

Our Sesquicentennial Colorado Exploring Expedition ended on August 1, 2019 at the approximate confluence of the Virgin River and Colorado River on Lake Mead. Five of us got dropped off at South Cove on July 31 in anticipation of being picked up by Aksi and Rene Kikut in a 26’ pontoon boat to make the run down lake to the Virgin River. Shortly after our compatriots left we enjoyed a July monsoon that moved through the area and waited for our ride. Photo Credit: Patrick Kikut (lead artist), Ben Kraushaar, Jessica Flock, David Jones and Tom Minckley (Project Leader) waiting on the dock at South Cove.

Since August 1, we’ve spent 12 days above the rim sorting/cleaning gear & boats, reminiscing about life on the boats, exploring photos/videos of the expedition and considering many notions about what is next. We collected a large amount of scientific data, photographs, stories and memories which we look forward to sharing with you in the next many months at conferences, presentations and online.

We’ve spent many hours reflecting upon the three years of planning, the great number of people, organizations and businesses who have supported us in this endeavor, the incredible people we met, landscapes we floated through and the future of the Colorado River Basin. We are incredibly grateful to all of you! Thank you!

Hope to see you in Flagstaff, AZ on Monday, Sept. 9 at the Biennial Conference of Science and Management.

150 years ago today, John Wesley Powell and his men entered “the Great Unknown.” August 13, 1869..."We are now ready to start on our way down the Great Unknown. Our boats tied to a common stake, chafe each other as they are tossed by the fretful river. They ride high and buoyant, for their loads are lighter than we could desire. We have but a month's rations remaining. The flour has been re-sifted through the mosquito-net sieve; the spoiled bacon has been dried and the worst of it boiled; the few pounds of dried apples have been re-shrunken to their normal bulk. The sugar has all melted and gone on its way down the river. But we have a large sack of coffee. The lightening of the boats has this advantage: they will ride the waves better and we shall have but little to carry when we make a portage.

We are three quarters of a mile in the depths of the earth, and the great river shrinks into insignificance as it dashes its angry waves against the walls and cliffs that rise to the world above; the waves are but puny ripples, and we but pigmies, running up and down the sands or lost among the boulders.

We have an unknown distance yet to run, an unknown river to explore. What falls there are, we know not; what rocks beset the channel, we know not; what walls rise over the river, we know not. Ah, well ! we may conjecture many things. The men talk as cheerfully as ever; jests are bandied about freely this morning; but to me the cheer is somber and the jests are ghastly." (p.247, "The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Tributaries)

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