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Old 08-23-2013   #31
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883

Ah, just for the heck of it, I'll throw this into the mix.

Go to and check out my review at

It doesn't contain any nitpicking about minor details that don't really impact one bit the flow or meaning of the tale. It points people in the direction of an interesting book about how three guys rowed the Grand Canyon in a unique way, under unique circumstances.

True, the writing style is expansive in places -- very different than Tom's work in his own books. But for a guy who favors rowing over motors and seems to appreciate little wooden boats, I'm surprised he doesn't like it.


Rich Phillips


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Old 08-23-2013   #32
GoodTimes's Avatar
Eagle, Idaho
Paddling Since: '78
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 794
Alright....I just gotta say guys crack me up, never a missed opportunity when a Grand topic is started. "How many posts and how long will the thread be before Tom and Rich get into it"?

You both live in Flagstaff right?? OK Corral style, high noon, bring your paddle and oar of choice, duke it out and go have a beer together.

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Old 08-23-2013   #33
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Hi GoodTimes,

Nice to know we provide such predictable entertainment. (grin)

Nope, I actually live in Illinois. So I have to cede to Tom without a fight the "True Western River Boater Award" -- even if his point of view on some things calls out to me to make a comment every now and then.

And since I'm actually headed out to Lees Ferry in a few days, you can rest easy this one won't last weeks and weeks, the way some of our discourses on the CRMP have done in the past.

Have a good one.

Rich Phillips
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Old 08-23-2013   #34
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Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Yes indeed, that's funny Good Times! So Rich, you may be coming through town? Good Times has a good idea. Maybe we should get together for dinner as you are passing through?

Yes, I just put out a few "tips of the iceberg" problems with Fedarko's book. Not even tips, just a sign post pointing toward the iceberg. What iceberg you say?

The major things left out of the book are many and include no discussion of wilderness, or allocations starting with the permit system implementation in 1955, or the commercialization of the river, including Martin Litton's formative river trips as a self-guided river runners and how Litton went from Grand Canyon conservationist in the 1960's to concessionaire against wilderness in the 1970's, or no mention of the 1957 flows up to 126,000 cfs, and no mention of Kenton's three wives. The book all but makes him a river eunuch. Finally, and most agregiously, which I am surprised Rich didn't mention at all in his review, is Fedarko's recounting of what was happening at Glen Canyon Dam as the dam spillways were slowly being destroyed in 1983. Anyone who believes Fedarko’s assertion that cavitation has been eliminated from the spillway tubes of Glen Canyon dam may want to buy into his assertion that the Grand Canyon “…is also enriched…” by the dam itself while he ignores the 1983 flood’s removal of millions of cubic feet of sand from the Colorado River in Grand Canyon, never to be resupplied.

The nitpicking minor details include such fun things as where Cardenas saw the river (Desert View? Really?), calling the Powell men who left the 1869 trip deserters, mentioning the trans-canyon water pumps as being at Phantom Ranch (last I checked, they were still at Indian Gardens), and saying the 1951 Riggs brothers speed run was on over 60,000 cfs when they launched on 43,100 cfs and the flow dropped from there. I could go on with additional nits-to-pick, but you get my point.

I'd agree with you Rich and encourage folks to read the book if they want a one sided sanitized factually off-base read.

Best to you both, Tom
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Old 08-23-2013   #35
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883
Hi Tom,

It's that old thing about, "Where you stand depends on where you sit." But for a book that celebrates human-powered travel through the Canyon, you sure are hard on it.

I don't know Fedarko, have had no contact with him before or after publication, and don't have any agenda. I'm just pointing folks to an interesting tale of three guys doing something really hard and dangerous.

Yes, he sets the stage for the trip with lots of collateral information, including material about Litton, the dam, the weather, and so forth. And sure, there's room for amplification on any one of them, or for quibbling about how he presents them, or about minor non-critical content for that matter. Even the best-researched books wind up with Errata, or critical comment regarding arguable content. But it's not a history book, or one about river politics, the dam, or environmental issues. It's a book about the speed run -- a river tale that deserved telling in a bit of detail. No other agenda that I can see.

I'm coming in to the Ferry from Kanab side, but I'll be in Flag for the GCPBA board meeting, arriving late that Thursday. If you want to set up a time and place, shoot me something off-list.

Have a good one.

Rich Phillips
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Old 08-23-2013   #36
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Flagstaff, Arizona
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Posts: 817
Hi Rich, thank you for the Great Laugh! I had not realize the book is "...not a history book, or one about river politics, the dam, or environmental issues." The fact that the speed run was made possible by river politics and caused by an environmental disaster of an out of control dam would have been too much truth in what turned out to be an ethical wasteland of a book.

I'll e-mail you off list. It would be great to visit. Yours, tom
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Old 08-23-2013   #37
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Hi Tom,

Folks on the Buzz are not exactly known for being potted plants.(grin) I'm content to let them decide for themselves -- interesting river tale or ethical wasteland of a book.

I'll get with you on my schedule in Flag. Have a good one.

Rich Phillips
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Old 10-19-2013   #38
duct tape's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 637
Originally Posted by moovin water View Post
I could be wrong, but I think the answer to the original question is the book "Canyon" by Mike Giglieri. Good luck.
Belatedly back on topic if the OP still cares - yes this is correct.
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Old 10-19-2013   #39
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 212
I do care, thanks so much for the answer... Been trying to figure that out for years!

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