Even before the end of the 1869 voyage, Powell knew he had to return to the river. The news of Powell's first expedition of 1869 captured the nation's imagination and admiration; and also helped persuade Congress to appropriate $10,000 for the second trip.
Having learned from the hardships the first time, Powell made detailed preparations. There was more food, scientific equipment, photographic equipment, better boats, and even rubber life preservers.
The biggest change, though, was the make-up of the crew. Instead of frontiersmen, Powell's men in 1871 were primarily scientists. The roll call included: Almon Thompson, Stephen Jones, John Steward, Francis Bishop, E.O. Beaman, Walter Powell, Frederick Dellenbaugh, Andy Hattan, Frank Richardson, and Jack Hillers.
On May 22nd, 1871, almost 2 years to the day from the first trip, the men of the second Powell expedition launched from the first island west of this sign. Almost the entire town turned out for the event.
The second trip was slower than the first because of the survey work and ended in Glen Canyon (now under Lake Powell) in 1871. Some of the men returned in 1872 and continued the survey until they reached Kanab Creek, about halfway into the Grand Canyon. Because of high water that year and knowing the rapids ahead, Major Powell ended the expedition - his river explorations were done.