Tuesday, December 07, 2010

More on the Cardenas Party

My most recent blog post was written with the intent to inspire thoughtful discussion. There has been a multitude of discussion about it with some at Grand Canyon National Park. I admit up front that I am more accepting of newer ideas than most others. Some people prefer to initially react in the negative when new ideas are presented - until those ideas can be proven to be right. I tend to accept things more readily because I believe that it can be a faster way to the truth, whatever the truth actually is. In my field of Grand Canyon's geologic evolution, the skeptics hold all of the cards and you know the status of where we are with that.

Anyway, I agree that it is more likely that this inscription was made by someone from Bass's era (hired help or tourist). But Dr. Kenny's hypothesis rightfully should spur a new round of thought on how exactly did the Cardenas party spent their time at Grand Canyon? "Three days on this bank looking for a passage down to the river..." is a powerful description of men looking for a route down into the canyon. To me, the Desert View to Moran Pt. area is not conducive for this, especially to flat-landers like the Spanish. Whether the inscription itself is from the Cardenas party or not, I find it plausible that the Spanish would meander along the rim and attempt a descent as soon as the Esplanade came into view - ironically right here where the Grand Scenic Divide first comes into view as one approaches from the east.

I was told by park staff last night that the esteemed archaeologist Robert Euler visited the site in the early 1980's and proposed that the inscription was left by some Bass era person. However, since the proposed location of the "first view" was first offered in the late 19th or early 20th century, our knowledge of how people interact with landscapes has grown exponentially. A re-evaluation of the "norm" seems to be warranted.

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