Name:write on line Date:write on line

A Description of the Grand Canyon

In 1869, ten men climbed into four small boats and set off down the Colorado River to explore the Grand Canyon. The trip was led by John Wesley Powell. The group traveled for almost 1,000 miles along waters and through canyons that were unknown to most people. The trip took three months and was very dangerous. Three of the men on the expedition lost their lives.

In the following paragraph, John Wesley Powell describes the size, shapes and colors of the Grand Canyon. The paragraph is from Canyons of the Colorado, a book Powell wrote.

"The walls now are more than a mile in height ... A thousand feet of this is up through granite crags; then steep slopes ... rise one above the other to the summit. The gorge is black and narrow below, red and gray and flaring above, with crags ... on the walls, which, cut in many places by side canyons, seem to be a vast wilderness of rocks."

crags (kragz): steep rocks
summit (SUH miht): top, peak
gorge (gawrj): deep, narrow passage with rocky sides
flaring (FLAIR ihng): bright, like a fire
vast (vast): without limits

1. Circle three words that Powell uses to describe the Grand Canyon. Write their definitions below. write on line write on line write on line

2. When Powell uses words like "crags," "slopes," and "summit," which physical feature is he describing? Circle the physical feature below.
ocean          mountain          prairie          desert

3. In the third sentence, Powell writes about the gorge he sees below him. What colors does Powell use to describe what he sees? Write the colors below. write on line write on line write on line write on line

4. Describe in your own words what a "vast wilderness of rocks" could look like. write on line write on line write on line write on line write on line

You may download, print and make copies of these pages for use in your classroom, provided that you include the copyright notice shown below in all such copies.

Copyright © 1999 Houghton Mifflin Company. All Rights Reserved.