Q: Is there anything that's gnawing away inside him?
MG: John Wesley Powell was expected, by his father, to follow in his footsteps of
the Methodist minister, something that Powell didn't want to do and something that Powell
resisted year after year after year. And, having chosen a path of science, completely
aside from and against his father's wishes and his mother's wishes, he was engaging on a path
where if he failed, it would be the classic, I told you so, God did not intend for you to be
on this path. So, when Powell was in a Colorado River system facing all these unknown
dangers, I'm sure the specter of his parents and their thoughts about religion, God, and
the meaning of life were never far away. In other words, he had to succeed here for a number
of reasons. He at least had to vindicate his own love of science
and exploration and show that he was in fact in a right path, in his life.