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Stanton Repeat Photography

Mile 137.6, Doris Rapid, Downstream View from River Right (Stake 1765b)

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Stake 1765b, 24 February 1890 View Larger Image
24 February 1890
The Colorado River had suddenly risen 3 feet during the night although the heavy rains had ended several days before. Stanton and his crew began to reap the benefits of higher water, which covered rocks and allowed rapids to be run in relative safety. Stanton’s crew did just that by running 134-Mile and 135-Mile Rapids. After lunch, they arrived at 137 1/2-Mile Rapid, also called Doris Rapid after Doris Nevills, who inadvertently swam it in 1940. To Stanton, the rapid offered ‟high waves, a drop of 8 to 10 feet. Exciting river. Run it.” Before running the rapid, Stanton made this downstream view from the right side at about 1:00 PM.
Photo credit: Robert B. Stanton, 57-RS-592, courtesy of The National Archives

Stake 1765b, 18 February 1991 View Larger Image
18 February 1991
From this angle, the rapid appears unchanged over the last century, but we know from other evidence that the rapid changed significantly shortly before 1940, causing Norm Nevills to misjudge the run through the rapid and dump his wife Doris in for her swim. Prominent catclaw trees at center and right center are more than a century old. Four other catclaw, three clumps of big galleta grass, and two individuals of Mormon tea also are still alive. Biological soil crusts, just apparent in the 1890 photograph, appear undisturbed in the immediate foreground.
Photo credit: Jane Bernard

Stake 1765b, 25 September 2010 View Larger Image
25 September 2010
Two decades later, the view is remarkably similar. The catclaw trees, leafed out, are still apparent, as are some of the Mormon tea and big galleta grass. The barrel cactus in the left foreground has grown considerably, and one that in 1991 was obscured by shrubs is now prominent. The amount of snakeweed and brittlebush has increased slightly over the past twenty years. The biologic soil crust in the immediate foreground is both well developed and undisturbed.  
Photo credit: John Mortimer

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