Mile 117-123 - Stephen and Conquistador Aisles
Downstream from the inner gorge, the river mellows again as it twists and turns through the long corridors of Stephen and Conquistador Aisles. Conquistadors gazed upon the canyon’s grandeur for the first time near Desert View in 1540. Stephen or Esteban, was a dark-skinned Christianized Moor from Morocco. He was part of the the Marcos de Niza Expedition of 1539, which obsessively roamed the southwest in search of the mythical “Seven Cities of Gold”. Esteban was able to make inroads with several puebloan groups, in large part because his looks stood out starkly from the other Spanish conquistadors. However, his arrogance eventually proved fatal, as he was slain in the village Hawikuh at Zuni.