Word is out: The BBC is filming a TV series reenacting John Wesley Powell’s 1869 expedition down the Grand Canyon, the first recorded run of the Colorado River. Powell was a one-armed Civil War veteran with an insatiable interest in Native American culture, geology, and exploring uncharted places. His three-month exploration of the Colorado River encountered many obstacles, both literally and otherwise. Their wooden rowboats were no match for the hundreds of miles of raging rapids. The boats, known as Whitehalls, were designed for ferrying goods and people, not for whitewater rafting. The BBC commissioned a world-renowned boat building school near Seattle to make three replicas.
One of our fellow river outfitters (Arizona Raft Adventures) will be providing support for the trip, which launched on Saturday, Aug. 10. The crew will attempt to recreate the experience of Powell and his men as they navigated what was once a giant blank spot on U.S. maps. Unlike GCW’s mouthwatering menu, they will be eating the same type of food as Powell’s original expedition. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting trip!
Dave Sherman, one of our guides, captured a sneak peek of the boats floating on Lake Mary here in Flagstaff before they launched.