In 1911, Ellsworth and Emery Kolb embarked on a wild adventure retracing the route Major John Wesley Powell took in 1869. What the Kolb brothers called, “The Big Trip” began on the Green River in Wyoming. They spent 101 days traveling the canyons of Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona to film the first motion picture of running the rapids and exploring the canyons of the Southwest.
This photographic quest challenged their mental and physical abilities unlike anything they had pursued previously. They endured heat, cold, broken equipment, and the challenge of the unknown. Their perseverance produced the longest running film in cinematic history. The film recorded during “The Big Trip” was shown in the theater located in their home on the South Rim of Grand Canyon for over 60 years.
Ellsworth and Emery each kept a journal of their experience. Ellsworth used his memory and both journals to provide a written record of the adventure. This became a magnificent book produced in 1940. I was recently given a copy of Ellsworth’s book. The second picture shows an inscription made by Ellsworth inside the front cover in 1941.
As an educator at the Grand Canyon, this is a treasure. We are indebted to those who have come before us to pave the way of opportunity to show the wonders of Grand Canyon to you. We have a love for the Grand Canyon that connects us with those who came before us.
Reading the adventures of the Kolb brothers helps us better understand the rich history of the Grand Canyon and equips us to share it with you. (And if you happen to know who Dorothy Lomax is, I would sure like to know.)
About the Author
Jon Albert became the director of Canyon Ministries in June of 2013. He and his beautiful family make their home in the mountains just west of Flagstaff, AZ. The wilderness has always been a powerful place of worship for Jon. God has enabled him to apply his passion for the outdoors to the advancement of the kingdom. He has been a commercial wilderness guide since 1992 around the U.S., Canada, and the Dominican Republic. In addition to his wilderness adventures, Jon has been a pastor, Christian school Bible teacher and administrator, public school administrator, and coach. Jon has a master’s degree in theology and has been studying geology in Grand Canyon since 2008.
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