1 Teams That Do Big Things

Those who know history increase their ability to make it. Here’s a brief look at a team that made an epic impact. These seemingly unexceptional people demonstrated that together most any team can do big things. And they left a map for you to do the same.

At 1:00 P.M. on May 24, 1869, a team of 10 explorers pushed their boats into the water and floated away from Green River Station, Wyoming. They were determined to do something that had never been done: travel and chart the Green and Colorado Rivers of the western United States. At this point in history, the details of the nearly 100-year-old country’s map were largely complete—except for one conspicuously large space. In an area the size of France, cartographers had simply written “unexplored.” The region was unknown. And for good reason.

Downriver, danger lurked. To begin with, the desert terrain was nearly all rock and sand. Native Americans roamed the untamed and unknown territory. And the river—it was already legendary. Tales were told of waterfalls that made Niagara look small. Others claimed the river disappeared completely like an enormous snake vanishing down a hole.1

The last portion of the journey would take the explorers through what is now known as the Grand Canyon, a gouge in the earth 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and a mile deep. Today, tens of thousands of people apply for the chance to raft the river for sport; occasionally, some lose their lives as they do so. But to the team pushing ...

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