Airing Friday, Feb. 26
No one had ever attempted to brave the Grand Canyon and its many dangerous rapids until a band of Wild West pioneers took it on in 1869. Nine men, led by a one-armed civil war veteran, Major John Wesley Powell, entered one of the world’s deepest gorges, with no real idea of what they were letting themselves in for.
Powell’s expedition and his scientific survey of what had been called “The Great Unknown” became part of the map of America. But, now, for the first time since 1869, a new group of nine men attempt to navigate all 280 miles of the Grand Canyon in the manner of the original expedition, in antique-style wooden rowing boats more fit for a museum than this wild white water!
8 p.m.: Dan Snow recreates John Wesley Powell’s pioneering 1869 expedition along the Grand Canyon, traversing the Colorado rapids in replicas of the wooden boats used in the original trip.
9 p.m.: As he recreates a famous exploratory trip down the Colorado River, Dan Snow makes use of 19th-century surveying equipment as he records geological data and takes photographs with a period 3D camera as the original team did.