Why do we spell the names differently for a town and a river in the same vicinity? The river was named in the 1830s for Johnson Gardner, a rough and illiterate trapper. After 1870, the spelling on maps was Gardiner, probably the result of a mispronunciation. Since 1959, the ocial spelling for the river has eliminated the i to conform to earliest usage. The post oce at Gardiner, established in 1880, took its name from the stream. Sometimes mail consigned to the postmaster and unocial mayor was addressed simply to Jim on the Gardiner. The town ocials have never seen fit to change that spelling. rock to see if the birds are back. Eagle Nest Rock, like most of the rock in the canyon, is made of marine deposits about 100 million years old. Across the road from Eagle Nest Rock, look out in the river to see Split Rock, a large boulder that fell from above and split neatly down the middle. Now willows grow out of the crack. In the 1880s, the road ran on the other side of the river. You can see a remnant of an early bridge, but it’s mostly covered by landslide debris.