From one of Outside magazine’s “Literary All-Stars” comes the thrilling true tale of the fastest boat ride ever, down the entire length of the Colorado River and through the Grand Canyon, during the legendary flood of 1983.
In the spring of 1983, massive flooding along the length of the Colorado River confronted a team of engineers at the Glen Canyon Dam with an unprecedented emergency that may have resulted in the most catastrophic dam failure in history. In the midst of this crisis, the decision to launch a small wooden dory named “The Emerald Mile” at the head of the Grand Canyon, just fifteen miles downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam, seemed not just odd, but downright suicidal.
The Emerald Mile, at one time slated to be destroyed, was rescued and brought back to life by Kenton Grua, the man at the oars, who intended to use this flood as a kind of hydraulic sling-shot. The goal was to nail the all-time record for the fastest boat ever propelled—by oar, by motor, or by the grace of God himself—down the entire length of the Colorado River from Lee’s Ferry to Lake Mead. Did he survive? Just barely. Now, this remarkable, epic feat unfolds here, in The Emerald Mile.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Part I The World Beneath the Rims 17
1 First Contact 19
2 The Grand Old Man 29
3 Into the Great Unknown 40
Part II America's Pyramids 51
4 The Kingdom of Water 53
5 Flooding the Cathedral 69
Part III The Sweet Lines of Desire 89
6 Dories 91
7 The Golden Age of Guiding 102
8 Crystal Genesis 113
9 The Death of the Emerald Mile 124
Part IV The Master of the Emerald Mile 139
10 The Factor 141
11 Speed 155
12 Thunder on the Water 171
Part V The Gathering Storm 179
13 Deluge 181
14 Into the Bedrock 190
15 The Mouth of the Dragon 202
16 Raising the Castle Walls 214
Part VI The Maelstrom 229
17 The Grand Confluence 231
18 The White Demon 242
19 Ghost Boat 251
20 The Doing of the Thing 268
Part VII The Speed Run 279
21 The Old Man Himself 281
22 Perfection in a Wave 293
23 The Reckoning 306
24 Beneath the River of Shooting Stars 318
25 Tail Waves 327
26 The Trial 335
Epilogue: The Legend of the Emerald Mile 342
Notes on Sources 360
Select Bibliography 388
Photograph Credits 399
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
We need to be reminded that the Grand Canyon is one of 7 Wonders of the Natural World. And, Kevin Fedarko does a masterful job awakening your mind and heart to the majesty and splendor to be found in this world treasure. A fascinating history of the canyon is compellingly woven around the seminal event - a speed run through the canyon. While that ride is surely thrilling, more thrilling is the portrait of beauty, grandeur and awe the writing inspires for the Grand Canyon. This book has compelled me to add a trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon to my bucket list and moved it to the top of that list!
I read this book a few months ago. It is not my kind of book--I like fiction-- but this book picked me up with the first sentences and swept me along to the end. I learned so much, and I am buying this paperback so that I can share it with my family. Kevin Fedarko knows his stuff: he knows the Canyon; he knows the people who have dealt with it; and he knows how to write about it.
Not just one of the best outdoor books I've ever read but one of the best books I've ever read. The history of the canyon and river, the descriptions of the float in the canyon, the event itself, and everything else that was going on at the time. I didn't want to put it down.
I finished this book about a month ago, and it still slips into my mind every few days. What a well written story of the near catastrophe of the Glen Canyon Dam, the breaking of the record of the Emerald Mile, and the men and women who wrestled with the Colorado River. During my reading, we did go to the Grand Canyon, and it was magnificent to see what the writer was describing. Highly recommend this book. Makes me want to go back and experience the river and meet the guides.
I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it to anyone who loves the wilderness!!
What a great first book for Kevin Fedarko! What a wonderful ride into history and onto the Colorado River! The Grand Canyon just got put on my bucket list. But yet I feel like I have already been there in Kevin's words