River : One Man's Journey Down the Colorado, Source to Sea

Overview

At age sixty-seven, Colin Fletcher, the guru of backpacking in America, undertook a rigorous six-month raft expedition down the full length of the Colorado River--alone. He needed "something to pare the fat off my soul...to make me grateful, again, for being alive." The 1,700 miles between the Colorado's source in Wyoming and its conclusion at Mexico's Gulf of California contain some of the most spectacular vistas on earth, and Fletcher is the ideal guide for the terrain. As his privileged companions, we travel ...
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Overview

At age sixty-seven, Colin Fletcher, the guru of backpacking in America, undertook a rigorous six-month raft expedition down the full length of the Colorado River--alone. He needed "something to pare the fat off my soul...to make me grateful, again, for being alive." The 1,700 miles between the Colorado's source in Wyoming and its conclusion at Mexico's Gulf of California contain some of the most spectacular vistas on earth, and Fletcher is the ideal guide for the terrain. As his privileged companions, we travel to places like Disaster Falls and Desolation Canyon, observe beaver and elk, experience sandstorms and whitewater rapids, and share Fletcher's thoughts on the human race, the environment, and the joys of solitude.

The backpacking guru and consummate observer of nature whose previous treks through the American West are recounted in The Man Who Walked Through Time and The Thousand-Mile Summer--now takes readers on a 1,700-mile, six-month journey down the entire length of America's second longest river, the Colorado. 41 photos. 15 maps.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An incredible journey does not necessarily translate into an incredible read, as Fletcher's new book illustrates. The respected 74-year-old author (The Thousand Mile Summer and The Complete Walker) tackled 1700 miles of the Colorado River by raft and on foot, but his language doesn't match the grandeur of the journey. More than half of the book is not about the Colorado River at all, but about a tributary, the Green, where Fletcher begins his trip. Another difficulty is that he tries to combine an adventure narrativethe story of a man and a river over a period of six monthswith a memoir. Although such a parallel construction is not impossible (for example, as in Doug Peacock's Grizzly Years, 1991), it requires a considerable amount of discipline and craft to achieve. The autobiography that Fletcher attempts is fascinatingthe story of a man psychologically wounded during World War II who seeks lifelong refuge in nature and on solitary wilderness tripsbut many of the passages read like hurried journal entries. Only in a few places does the prose shine with that old Fletcher radiance, as when the author describes his raft plunging through the dangerous rapids of the Grand Canyon. Still, although this uneven effort doesn't hold up to Fletcher's own earlier masterpiece on the Grand Canyon, The Man Who Walked Through Time (1968), it is a disappointment well worth pondering. Fletcher's journey is about making peace. In the end, as he rides out into the Gulf of California ("our salt-sea mother"), he concludes, "If that's how dying waswell, all right." Photos and maps. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Solo backpacking legend Fletcher's newest book will likely strike a chord with his many fans, including a generation who grew up reading his classicsThe Complete Walker (LJ 10/15/68), The Man Who Walked Through Time (LJ 2/15/68), and The Thousand-Mile Summer (Random, 1989). Here, the aging-yet-spry Fletcher recounts his attempt to traverse the Colorado River from its source in the mountains of Wyoming to the Gulf of California. Traveling by raft when possible and backpacking the nonnavigable stretches, he embraced six months of solitude in spectacular scenery and gained an appreciation of the river. The reclusive author also offers some personal history and reflections on topics ranging from religion to evironmentalism. Expect strong demand, especially among public and environmental collections. [A BOMC selection.]Tim J. Markus, Evergreen State Coll. Lib., Olympia, Wash.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375701825
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/1998
  • Series: Vintage Departures Series
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 970,360
  • Product dimensions: 5.17 (w) x 7.97 (h) x 0.95 (d)

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