Down the Rio Grande — the trip from Mesilla to Brownsville.
A party of four adventurous gentlemen--Mr. Louis Bucha
, merchant; Dr. Bradshaw
, dentist; Mr. Brackett
, distiller; and Mr. Patchin
, miner — arrived in this city on Saturday last from the town of Mesilla
, in the Territory of Arizona
, after a voyage of two months down the Rio Grande
Teh party left Mesilla
on the 29th day of June last, and have been on the river ever since, without stopping at any place more than a day until they arrived at Davis
ranche, where they stopped four days.
The experiment of navigating the Rio Grande
from El Paso
, fifty miles this side of Mesilla
, has often been talked of, but no person has heretofore performed the hazardous undertaking.
The gentlemen who arrived here on Saturday were solely prompted to the voyage, which they have so successfully accomplished, by the desire to do what so many had talked of, and which was pronounced an impossible journey.
At present considerable bets are pending in Mesilla
on the result of the undertaking, and many promises of reward will have to be fulfilled by the public-spirited citizens of that place towards the successful voyagers.
The party first constructed two willow canoes, which they lashed together and loaded with their provisions and baggage.
In the next place, they erected about the sides of their raft a breastwork of hides, to protect them from the Indians, who were the first danger of which they were warned.
Thus fitted out, the party started upon their novel trip.
They floated along with the current, using the paddles but little, and directing the course of their raft with a rudder.
They travelled during the day only, always making fast to the shore and camping on terra firma at night to avoid accidents in the river.
The Rio Grande
did not treat the party roughly until they came within sixty miles of Eagle Pass
, where, in descending the falls in the river, the raft upset.
The water was not sufficiently deep, however, to swamp their baggage, consequently they soon righted themselves at that place.
A short distance this side of Laredo
, the raft capsized and in descending some falls, but without loss.
At what is known as the Ten-Foot Falls, near Roma
, the raft capsized, for the third time, and the party lost all their baggage, and Dr. Bradshaw
lost a valuable set of dental instruments
These falls are commonly understood to be a solitary fall, where the river precipitates itself over a shelf ten feet high; but Mr. Bucha
corrects this report, and says that there are three falls at that point, two of which are ten feet high, and one of which is only five feet.
It is the impression of the gentlemen composing the above party, that it will never be practicable to navigate the Rio Grande
above the Ten-Foot Falls; as the current of the river is not only very strong, but the depth of water is very inconsiderable, and the bed of the river is interrupted by frequent falls and ledges of rocks which no rise of water will suffice to overcome.
The impression which widely obtains that there is a point in the Rio Grande
, above Laredo
and below Eagle Pass
, where the river entirely disappears under the mountains, is incorrect, and the gentleman with whom we conversed accounts for it thus:--One or two parties have started from El Paso
to descend the Rio Grande
, but they have all failed at a point below Eagle Pass
, where the mountains approach up to the water's edge, and where the bed of the stream is very rugged and the current very swift.
At this point all other expeditions have failed, and from the place where their boats capsized, looking down the stream to where the cliffs beetle over the stream, which makes a sudden bend, the appearance of the scene seems to indicate that the projecting cliffs overlapped the river and forces the Rio Grande
to make its way under the overhanging mountains.
But this is found to be a delusion in descending the river, as the stream only makes a sudden bend and continues its rough and muddy course between instead of under the mountains.
Wild game — such as deer, turkeys, rabits, and birds abound on the river, and even if the voyagers had not found settlements every hundred or hundred and fifty miles, they could have subsisted themselves very well on what wild animals they could have killed on the river bank.
The land in many places is good.
Speaking in general terms, the gentlemen express their entire satisfaction with the trip, and would have no objection to going over the route again.