The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon
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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.
Passion for flying. He had always taken pleasure in staring out the window of an airplane and observing the landscape unfurl beneath him, and he studied the terrain closely as they passed over the Colorado border, swung into the southeastern corner of Utah, and entered the crystalline airspace above John Wesley Powell’s Plateau Province. By now they were approaching the “sky islands,” the isolated pockets of desert mountains that dot the canyon country, and he was able to pick out the Abajos, the.
Supplies that would enable them to perform the same services for an injured boatman. The third container, which was double-lined with heavy plastic garbage bags and included a roll of toilet paper and a toilet seat, would serve as their Porta Potti.I When the trio of rocket boxes was placed in the cross-hatch, the locker located directly behind the boatman’s seat, plenty of room was left for several jugs of drinking water, a bag stuffed with extra clothing for each member of the crew, and a.
Disasters, the river established what would become a familiar pattern. It wheeled sinuously through broad valleys and unpopulated parklands until it ran up against a range of mountains, then cut through the barricade to form a canyon. Inside these declivities, the walls would rise, the world would narrow, and the current would contort into rapids that could last for miles. Eventually, the ramparts would fall back, and as the river flowed into another valley, the land would open up again,.
Powers, Ron. Mark Twain: A Life. New York: Free Press, 2005. Preston, Doug. Talking to the Ground: One Family’s Journey on Horseback Across the Sacred Land of the Navajo. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995. Priestley, J. B. “Arizona Desert.” Harper’s, March 1937, 358–67. ———. Midnight on the Desert: Being an Excursion into Autobiography During a Winter in America. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1937. Pugh, C. A. “Modeling Aeration Devices for Glen Canyon Dam, Proceedings of the.
Like the very best products of human craftsmanship—indeed, like all small objects that have been fashioned with great care from humble materials—the boats were charged with the power of honesty, composure, and time. They embodied a peculiar kind of perfection that gave pleasure to anyone who admired that narrow strip of ground where utility and art converge—an allure that was captured best by John Gardner, a naval architect from Massachusetts, who was the foremost historian of this craft. “There.