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The Emerald Mile

The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon
Fedarko, Kevin (Book - 2013 )
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
The Emerald Mile
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IN THE TRADITION OF THE PERFECT STORM AND SEABISCUIT, THE ENGROSSING TALE OF THE FASTEST BOAT RIDE EVER DOWN THE COLORADO RIVER THROUGH THE GRAND CANYON IN THE WINTER OF 1983, the largest El Niño event on record-a chain of "superstorms" that swept in from the Pacific Ocean-battered the entire West. That spring, a massive snowmelt sent runoff racing down the Colorado River toward the Glen Canyon Dam, a 710-foot-high wall of concrete that sat at the head of the most iconic landscape feature in America, the Grand Canyon. As the water clawed toward the parapet of the dam, worried federal officials desperately scrambled to avoid a worst-case scenario: one of the most dramatic dam failures in history. In the midst of this crisis, beneath the light of a full moon, a trio of river guides secretly launched a small, hand-built wooden boat, a dory named the Emerald Mile, into the Colorado just below the dam's base and rocketed toward the dark chasm downstream, where the torrents of water released by the dam engineers had created a rock-walled maelstrom so powerful it shifted giant boulders and created bizarre hydraulic features never previously seen. The river was already choked with the wreckage of commercial rafting trips: injured passengers clung to the remnants of three-ton motorboats that had been turned upside down and torn to pieces. The chaos had claimed its first fatality, further launches were forbidden, and rangers were conducting the largest helicopter evacuation in the history of Grand Canyon National Park. An insurgent river run under such conditions seemed to border on the suicidal, but Kenton Grua, the captain of that dory, was on an unusual mission: a gesture of defiance unlike anything the river world had ever seen. His aim was to use the flood as a hydraulic slingshot that would hurl him and two companions through 277 miles of some of the most ferocious white water in North America and, if everything went as planned, catapult the Emerald Mile into legend as the fastest boat ever propelled-by oar, by motor, or by the grace of God-through the heart of the Grand Canyon. Grua himself was already something of a mythic figure, a fearless boatman obsessed with the mysteries of the canyon. His quest embraced not only the trials of the speed run itself but also the larger story of his predecessors: the men who had first discovered the canyon and pioneered its exploration, as well as those who waged a landmark battle to prevent it from being hog-tied by a series of massive hydroelectric dams-a conflict that continues to this day. A writer who has worked as a river guide himself and is intimately familiar with the canyon's many secrets, Kevin Fedarko is the ideal narrator for this American epic. The saga of the Emerald Mile is a thrilling adventure, as well as a magisterial portrait of the hidden kingdom of white water at the bottom of the greatest river canyon on earth. This book announces Fedarko as a major writing talent and at last sets forth the full story of an American legend-the legend of the Emerald Mile .
Authors: Fedarko, Kevin
Title: The Emerald Mile
the epic story of the fastest ride in history through the heart of the Grand Canyon
Publisher: New York :, Scribner,, 2013
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
Characteristics: 415 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates :,illustrations, map ;,24 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Kevin Fedarko
Contents: Pt. 1. The world beneath the rims. First contact ; The grand old man ; Into the great unknown
pt. 2. America's pyramids. The kingdom of water ; Flooding the cathedral
pt. 3. The sweet lines of desire. Dories ; The golden age of guiding ; Crystal genesis ; The death of the Emerald Mile
pt. 4. The master of the Emerald Mile. The factor ; Speed ; Thunder on the water
pt. 5. The gathering storm. Deluge ; Into the bedrock ; The mouth of the dragon ; Raising the castle walls
pt. 6. The maelstrom. The grand confluence ; The white demon ; Ghost boat ; The doing of the thing
pt. 7. The speed run. The old man himself ; Perfection in a wave ; The reckoning ; Beneath the river of shooting stars ; Tail waves ; The trial ; Epilogue: The legend of the Emerald Mile
ISBN: 9781439159859
1439159858
9781476735290
1476735298
Branch Call Number: 979.132 F292e 2013
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and index
Subject Headings: Grua, Kenton, 1950-2002 Grand Canyon National Park (Ariz.) Colorado River (Colo.-Mexico) Floods Colorado River (Colo.-Mexico) History Rapids Colorado River (Colo.-Mexico) Boatmen Biography
Topical Term: Floods
Rapids
Boatmen
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It's the spring of 1983 and a massive snowmelt causes the Colorado River to threaten to overtop the Glen Canyon Dam. Beneath a full moon a group of river guides secretly launch a small wooden boat just below the dam's base as engineers begin a massive release of water to avoid a dam failure. The ... Read More »

In spring of 1983, a massive snowmelt sent runoff racing down the Colorado River toward the Glen Canyon Dam. Worried federal officials desperately scrambled to avoid a worst-case scenario: one of the most dramatic dam failures in history.


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"An award-winning Outside magazine writer documents the 1983 Colorado River flood that threatened the region with a catastrophic dam failure and prompted oarsman Kenton Grua's near-suicidal effort to navigate the turbulent waters of the Emerald Mile on a small wooden dory to achieve a world speed record." Armchair Travel February 2014 newsletter http://www.libraryaware.com/996/NewsletterIssues/ViewIssue/65a45623-29d8-4930-a050-7045f18b95cf?postId=fbfe1dbc-f888-4b7d-a453-8350c366f628

Dec 18, 2013
  • sess430 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Fedarko gave a very interesting presentation of his book at this year's Texas Book Festival. Part of the book reads like a mini-biography of the 3 men who made the 277 mile speed run in the wooden dory in June 1983. These & other colorful, eccentric river guides are depicted in a highly entertaining style. The Colorado river was running at 90,000 cfs that month, which gave the dory a big boost and almost caused a failure of the Glen Canyon dam. I also enjoyed the wonderful pictures & the epilogue, which tells what happened to the characters in the 30 years since '83, when the speed record was set. Highly recommended, especially to those who've seen the Grand Canyon &/or ridden on the river.

I heard the author speak about this book at the National Archives. If the book is half as good as his talk, it will fantastic!

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Version pocillo (pocillo) Last updated 2014/08/21 13:32