After surviving the rapids in Cataract Canyon,
Powell's expedition camped below at the mouth of the
Dirty Devil River.
The water is exceedingly muddy and has an unpleasant
odor. One of the men in the boat following, seeing what
we have done, shouts to Dunn and asks whether it is a
trout stream. Dunn replies, much disgusted, that it is
"a dirty devil," and by this name the river is to be
John Wesley Powell
In 1869, when Powell launched the first voyage down
the Colorado, the river's exact course was a mystery.
There were rumors of waterfalls, and whirlpools that
could swallow boats whole.