In 1937, a group of CalTech geology professors and hardy boatmen set out in small wooden boats on a 6 week journey through the Grand Canyon to study the ancient rocks of the canyon’s Inner Gorge. At the time, fewer than a dozen river parties had successfully run the canyon – often with a loss of boats or crew. Leveraging excerpts from several of the members’ trip journals – as well as original photographs and video footage – the presentation discusses the adventures, hardships, conflicts, and triumphs of this important, yet little-known, early science expedition. The talk also sets the expedition in the context of earlier Grand Canyon river trips and the study of the area’s geology.
Raised in Flagstaff, Erik Berg is an award-winning historian and writer with a special interest in the early twentieth century southwest and the impact of science and technology. In addition to contributing to several books, his work has appeared in the Journal of Arizona History, Arizona Highways, and Sedona Magazine. A past-president of the Grand Canyon Historical Society, Berg currently lives in Phoenix.