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Imagine the thrill of being the first geologist to explore the Grand Canyon. That lucky individual—John Strong Newberry—wasn’t originally a rockhound but instead was a doctor from Ohio. 


When NASA launched the Voyager spacecraft in 1977, there were two golden records on board. They contain sounds and songs from Earth, sort of a musical time capsule for any extraterrestrial being that might come upon them. One of the songs comes from a Navajo chant called "Nightway." In his latest Canyon Commentary, Scott Thybony recalls hearing the song while traveling with a Navajo medicine man. 


New Mexico History Museum

In 1846, U.S. soldiers swept down the Santa Fe trail to seize the province of New Mexico for the United States. Santa Fe was then part of Mexico, and for a time during this war soldiers camped in the roomy courtyard at the city’s Palace of the Governors. One soldier wrote an evocative description that includes mention of baking ovens there.


Scott Thybony

This winter is one of the driest on record, but the winter of 1877 was another story. Freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall were documented in the journal of Lucy Flake, a pioneer woman traveling by covered wagon from Utah to Arizona with her young family. At Black Falls, near what is now Wupatki National Monument, Lucy described the hardships and anguish of the group. Commentator Scott Thybony recently hiked that same dry river bed and remembered Lucy’s suffering. 


Scott Thybony

Nearly 120 meteors an hour streamed across the sky earlier this month during the Geminid meteor shower. It’s considered one of most entertaining celestial events for Earthlings because the meteors are so bright and abundant. Writer Scott Thybony decided to view the show from a prehistoric—but undisclosed—site where an ancient meteorite is buried. He has more in his latest Canyon Commentary. 


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