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[40i] with dwarf pines, reached an upland plain, through
Chap. II.} 1540.
which the waters of the Colorado have cleft an abyss for their course. By the party who first gazed down the interminable cliff, the precipice was described as being higher than the side of the highest mountain; the broad, surging torrent below seemed not more than a fathom wide. Two men attempted to descend into the terrible chasm, but after getting, with much toil, a third of the way to the bottom, they climbed back, saying that a massive block, which from the summit seemed no taller than a man, was higher than the tower of the cathedral at Seville. In no other part of the continent has there been found so deep a gulf, hollowed out by a river for its channel, where nature lays bare the processes of countless time, as written on the rocky steep that comes sheer down for thousands of feet. The party on their way back to Zuñi, saw where the little Colorado at two leaps clears a vertical wall of a hundred and twenty feet high.

Thus far, every stream found by the Spaniards flowed to the Gulf of California. In the summer of 1540, before the return of Cardenas, Indians appeared at Zuñi from a province called Cicuye, seventy leagues towards the east, in the country of cattle whose hair was soft and curling like wool. A party under Hernando Alvarado went with the returning Indians. In five days they reached Acoma, which was built on a high cliff, accessible only by a ladder of steps cut in the rock, having on its top land enough to grow maize, and cisterns to catch the rain and snow. Here the Spaniards received gifts of game, deer skins, bread, and maize.

Three other days brought Alvarado to Tiguex, in the valley of the Del Norte, just below Albuquerque,

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