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. 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. While these conditions excited Grua, they put the Glen Canyon Dam at risk. This one is, and Fedarko’s book is as inspiring as a … In the … Gamble is called to the dam and he observes that the water exiting the spillways is a pink color, suggesting that the bedrock is being eroded, meaning that there are holes in the dam’s tunnels. Chapter 1 “First Contact” (19-29) *OK TO SKIM. This meant the men had to row at a breakneck pace for the duration of the run, including throughout the nights, an impressive and exhausting physical feat. Chapter 5 “Flooding the Cathedral” (69-88). After hours of painstaking observation and many damaged boats, Litton’s crew finally learned how to get through Crystal Rapid. Kevin Fedarko's remarkable The Emerald Mile re-creates an incredible voyage through the flood-swollen Grand Canyon in such heart-pounding detail that you need to pause every few pages to catch your breath. 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. Chapter 2 “The Grand Old Man” (29-39) *OK TO SKIM. In addition to massive storms, 1983 would see one of the largest snow-melts from the top of the Rocky Mountains, meaning even more runoff water would be flowing into the Colorado River. Kenton Grua was fascinated by dories and the river. Instead, the Emerald Mile clawed toward the top of the wave, then fell backward, "an end-over-end flip with a twist," Fedarko writes, "the sort of performance one might expect if a strand of DNA were to go into a swoon.". The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History through the Heart of the Grand Canyon Summary SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature  detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major … Chapter 3 “Into the Great Unknown” (40-50). All three men claw their way to the shore, where they have to use their collective weight to pull the Emerald Mile back to shore and make further repairs. “The air was alive with pink-and-lavender dragonflies that paused, twitchingly, on the shafts of their suspended oars.” It’s also a rare and fascinating glimpse into what could have been one of our nation’s biggest environmental disasters ever—the failure of the Glen Canyon Dam. Can you tell the story of how you became enamored with the Grand Canyon in the first place? Fedarko describes the beauty and majesty of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon in 1983 at a time when the flow of the river is enhanced by extra water being released from the Glen Canyon Dam. The dam’s operators released as much water as they thought they safely could, a flow so extreme that it was already ripping up the concrete that lined the outflow tunnels, yet the water kept rising. Finally, Fedarko reflects on some of the book’s larger themes: man’s interaction with nature, risk taking, and environmental conservation vs. human progress. Movies. After a pause and debate over whether or not to quit the run, Grua and his men “scramble” back in the Emerald Mile. He sought to … The rest of the passengers had to be rescued and suffered serious injuries. He understands the Colorado’s capricious moods, its rapids and eddies that can transform an easy voyage into an icy fight for life. Describing it as seeing “a vertical wall” of “boiling water”, the men use all of the strength from their oars and the weight of their bodies to will the Emerald Mile through the rapid. 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. “Every mile or so, the walls opened and gave way to yet another side canyon filled with secret springs and waterfalls,” he writes. They pull the boat over to take a quick rest and allow the moon to further illuminate the river before they attempt Mile 205. They got permission from the park service to do the speed run by arguing that they would collect data to learn the shortest possible time for rescuing rafters from the canyon. When Grua made the 1983 speed run, he broke federal law by disobeying the Park Service, a government agency. While other boatman may have been more talented, none were more enamored. He writes so vividly that your favorite reading chair becomes a spray-soaked perch on a bucking boat hit hard by a river running high and fast. Upon reaching a massive rapid, several of the expedition’s men quit; they scale the canyon walls and hope to walk to a settlement, believing that staying with the expedition would mean certain death. Fedarko begins with a narrative summarizing Martin Litton’s early life. Grua decides that this is a perfect opportunity to break his speed record and seeks permission from the Park Service. Despite much debate and controversy, the building of the Glen Canyon Dam was approved in 1956. Fedarko then goes on to detail several historic dam breaks (ranging from Egypt in BCE to Johnstown, PA in 1889 and Los Angeles in 1928) to illustrate the damage and deaths that could result if the Glen Canyon Dam failed. In the winter of 1983, the largest El Niño event on record, a series of "superstorms," battered the West. His defense was that the superintendent's failure to call him back officially saying that the speed run was prohibited, was equivalent to approval. The Emerald Mile : the epic story of the fastest ride in history through the heart of the Grand Canyon by ... Summary. Their boats are designed to carry cargo and are very ill-suited for rivers with rapids, like the Colorado. Their aim was to set a speed record for the 277-mile passage, a record that could never be beaten. Fedarko describes the massive Glen Canyon Dam, made out of concrete. They hurriedly put the boat in the water, get in and row away into the night. Chuck Mills’ raft flipped over, trapping a passenger underneath who he rescued. If traversed unsuccessfully, the rapid could literally rip boats apart, especially the little wooden dories. Can an adventure story be as beautiful as it is heart-stopping and exciting? Kevin Fedarko is among the writers scheduled to appear at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, July 19-21 in Grapevine. Then, a truck towing a boat called The Emerald Mile pulls up and three men get out. They rush back into the boat and have to row furiously for the rest of the trip to make up their lost time. A boat called "The Emerald Mile" sails down the Colorado River during an epic flood in record time. Fedarko retells the history of Cardenas, a Spanish explorer, and his team looking for gold in the North American southwest during the 1500s, but instead finding the Grand Canyon. We’ll get to The Emerald Mile – but first, some river history. When the dam was complete, it had created Lake Powell, a massive body of water that filled part of the Grand Canyon to its rim. While this gave Gamble slightly more time to figure out how to fix the spillways and release water from the lake, several other problems, like major leaks and vibrations, were discovered throughout the dam. After setting off to attempt the speed run, Grua and his crew calculate that they will need to travel 9-10 MPH to beat the record; 3 MPH faster than the current of the river. John Wesley Powell and a group of nine other men set off to explore the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon in the year 1869. Deciding that “not a no” was a tacit “yes” from the superintendent, Grua and his crew launched onto the river in the middle of the night, hoping that no rangers would stop them. The Emerald Mile The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon (Book) : Fedarko, Kevin : The epic story of the fastest boat ride in history, on a hand-built dory named the "Emerald Mile," through the heart of the Grand Canyon on the Colorado river. by Nancy L. C. Steele. This is so much more than the story of the Emerald Mile's speed run atop Grand Canyon floodwaters. As the little boat bounded through the rapids, with a 30-foot standing wave dead ahead, Grua searched for “a sweet spot, a keyhole no wider than the dory’s bowpost” where he “might find the seam in the cosmos and blast through to the other side.”, It didn't happen. Kenton Grua recognizes the conditions as an opportunity to break his own speed record. In the mountains that feed the Colorado with snowmelt, the winter of 1983 had been like no other, with such incredible amounts of snow that the melt seemed unending. The Emerald Mile was the name of a boat, a legendary wooden dory that was once thought dead. This chapter continues to detail their speed run down the river. Host Rachel Martin talks to writer Kevin Fedarko about his new book, The Emerald Mile, which tells the harrowing story of three men who ride the … Sometimes, he even risked the safety of his fellow passengers during runs through the rapid. In this final chapter, the author wraps up the stories of the book’s key characters, like Litton and Grua. 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. SPOILER ALERT STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS: The boat flipped keel over stern, throwing the men into the river and causing one crewman to get sucked down through the rapid to the bottom of the river. In an accident, the Emerald Mile suffered serious damage but Grua repaired the boat because his latest endeavor would be to set a record for the fastest run down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Chapter 24 “Beneath the River of Shooting Stars” (318-326). The Emerald Mile The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon (Book) : Fedarko, Kevin : The epic story of the fastest boat ride in history, on a hand-built dory named the "Emerald Mile," through the heart of the Grand Canyon on the Colorado river. Sign in|Report Abuse|Print Page|Powered By Google Sites, Fedarko describes the beauty and majesty of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon in 1983 at a time when the flow of the river is enhanced by extra water being released from the Glen Canyon Dam. Although the engineers of the Glen Canyon Dam rarely released water from Lake Powell, in 1980 they decided to test the spillways with a small release of water. This includes an explanation of how dams can be built, looks specifically at the Hoover Dam, and discusses the challenges of controlling the Colorado because of its size and power. 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. At the base of the dam, there is a power plant with a control room that Fedarko calls the “nerve center”. Towards the end of the chapter, Fedarko suggests that other rafting companies chose to use inflatable rafts that were safer and easier to use, but that lacked the grace and skill required to master the Colorado River on dories. The Emerald Mile. Fedarko explains that a meteorological anomaly in 1983 was brewing to create even more perfect weather conditions for Grua to attempt another speed run. Chapter 26 “The Trial” (335-341) *OK TO SKIM. This was the Colorado of legend, “the most tempestuous river on the continent, savage and unpredictable, often dangerous, and almost psychotic in its surges,” Fedarko writes. It's about the crew at Glen Canyon Dam trying to mitigate damage and keep the waters under control. With the surge of water being released from the dam, Crystal Rapid gained terrifying strength. Ted Cruz accused of abetting sedition and inspiring pro-Trump riot by resisting Biden’s victory, Radio legend’s ranch west of Fort Worth hits the market, Here’s where you can sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine in North Texas. At the end of this chapter, the reader discovers whether or not Grua and his crew set the speed record in the Emerald Mile. Plot. The sum of the book is much greater, detailing the recorded history of the mighty Colorado River and the men who explored it; the brilliant engineering behind the dams that largely tamed it; and the power this river and the canyon it carved hold over those who love it. For those that don’t know, the southwest experienced record rainfalls in the El Nino year of 1983. In additional to Powell, Fedarko also provides some historical background of what is going on in the United States in terms of  of westward expansion, technological advances, and previous expeditions to the canyon. Then, a truck towing a boat called The Emerald Mile pulls up and three men get out. The Emerald Mile The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon (Book) : Fedarko, Kevin : 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. He joined Litton’s company in 1969 and quickly proved himself to be remarkably driven and talented. The downpour resulted in a landslide, the likes of which had dramatically impacted the shapes of the canyon over the centuries. The Emerald Mile is damaged at a series of 9 rapids early in the run, and the crew loses time while having to repair the boat. The Emerald Mile is written by Kevin Fedarko. Emerald Mile Book Review by Nancy Green Ready for a rollicking story that sets you on the edge of your seat – even though you know how this tale goes? Book review: ‘The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon,’ by Kevin Fedarko, Some Texas Democrats in Congress demand Trump’s immediate removal by 25th Amendment or impeachment, Dallas County reports record coronavirus hospitalizations, 2,590 new cases, 20 deaths, Harris County confirms first reported case of more contagious COVID-19 variant in Texas, To streamline COVID-19 inoculations, Texas will start sending doses to large vaccination hubs, Dallas County’s first ‘mega’ public COVID vaccination site will be at Fair Park, Supreme Court rejects Gohmert’s last-ditch bid to change election results, Boeing will pay $2.5 billion to settle criminal fraud charges over 737 Max, North Texas lawyer unemployed after sharing video saying he was tear-gassed outside U.S. Capitol, Missing woman last seen in Far North Dallas, police say, Meteorologists eyeing potential for wintry mix in Dallas-Fort Worth this weekend, Dallas’ Undermain Theatre’s latest dance-drama confronts what the COVID-19 pandemic has stolen from us all, ‘D.O.A.,’ one of the creepiest hits ever by a D-FW band, marks 50th anniversary, In ‘Real Housewives of Dallas’ premiere, Asian cast member educates friend about racist remarks, Mother-son duo from Fort Worth get superpowers in Netflix’s ‘We Can Be Heroes’, At a slower pace, serial pedestrian Zac Crain found unexpected beauty in Dallas... and the source of downtown’s cookie smell. In the summer of 1983, the flooded Colorado River threatened to overwhelm Glen Canyon Dam. " The Emerald Mile is the rarest of creations–a magical convergence of words and paper, wood and water, rock and sky, human character and cosmic caprice. Operators who were surveying the dam for damage heard a thunderous sound coming from deep inside the structure, which indicated damage. It’s a very simple story. In this chapter, Fedarko introduces John Wesley Powell’s background of being an explorer, his family, and his role in the Civil War. While Cardenas did not descend down into the canyon, Fedarko describes the eras of fossils that they would have found if they did. Chapter 22 “Perfection in a Wave” (293-305). Faced with this massive canyon, Fedarko describes how the explorers were in awe because it was unlike anything they had seen in scope, magnitude, or beauty. Book Summary The 1983 Colorado River flood threatened the region with a catastrophic dam failure and prompted oarsman Kenton Grua into a near-suicidal effort. Then, a truck towing a boat called. With so much water pushing through the tunnels, it was as if the dam had never been built. These men, led by Kenton Grua, were about to attempt to set a record for the fastest boating run down the Colorado River. They hurriedly put the boat in the water, get in and row away into the night. The chapter ends with a geographical overview of the canyon and the Colorado river in comparison to other parts of the world. He believes in the Colorado River first and foremost as a pragmatic source of energy for human use. Chapter 12 “Thunder on the Water” (171-177), Chapter 16 “Raising the Castle Walls” (214-228), Chapter 20 “The Doing of the Thing” (268-278). When the superintendent was supposed to notify Grua about whether his speed run had been approved, he was too busy trying to close Crystal Rapid and he forgot to call Grua. He had to pay a $500 fine, most of which he worked off by doing community service. In the winter of 1983, the largest El Niño event on record, a series of "superstorms," battered the West. After rowing through an intense storm, Grua and his crew beat the set record for the fastest run down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon by six hours. Battered, they managed to right their tiny vessel and push on, a testimony to the power of will in defiance of all logic. Grua and his crew slip past park rangers who are shutting down boating on the river as they approach Crystal Rapid. Tom Gamble is introduced as the leader of the Glen Dam power plant. That spring, a massive snowmelt sent runoff racing down the Colorado River toward the Glen Canyon Dam. 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. Grua and the crew unintentionally fall asleep for over two hours! Bludgeoned by the blow, the men were ripped from the boat, plunged into the icy water and held deep before they finally surfaced. Summary “Launch” (pgs 1-5) Fedarko describes the beauty and majesty of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon in 1983 at a time when the flow of the river is enhanced by extra water being released from the Glen Canyon Dam. Each of the three was a superb boatman, but The Emerald Mile is largely the story of Grua — a short, powerful man of obsessive tenacity. In an effort to buy time, they engineered a solution: building plywood walls along the sides of the lake increased its capacity by 645,000 acre-feet of water. Litton himself became passionate about teaching anyone who went on one of his trips about the beauties and unique qualities of the canyon. That spring, a massive snowmelt sent runoff racing down the Colorado River toward the Glen Canyon Dam. pulls up and three men get out. In order to assess the damage, Gamble and his team strap into safety harnesses and enter the massive spillways in 5 foot-wide cards hanging from cables. In this chapter, Fedarko also introduces The Emerald Mile as both a dorie and a main character of the story, describing her as “suffer[ing] from the indignity of having been claimed by no one, which deprived her of care and attention.” In 1977, the Emerald Mile was torn apart by a rapid called Corner Pocket and was sent to the junkyard, but Kenton Grua decided to save her. The Epic Story of the FastestRide in History Through theHeart of the Grand Canyon. The sun has long set, and the crew know they are taking a risk in trying to get through this area at night. Copyright © 2021 The Dallas Morning News. The men who abandoned the expedition were killed by Native Americans while searching for a settlement. The Emerald Mile The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Though the Heart of the Grand Canyon (Book) : Fedarko, Kevin : 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. The Emerald Mile The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon (Book) : Fedarko, Kevin : The epic story of the fastest boat ride in history, on a hand-built dory named the "Emerald Mile, " through the heart of the Grand Canyon on the Colorado river. Quickly, their boats are damaged, they lose cargo, and a few months into their trip they are running out of food, their clothes are ruined, and they are badly sunburned -- all without having any idea how much more of the river they had left to explore. Although Litton pushed for the charges to be dropped, Grua stood trial. After detailing several environmentalist and conservationist movements against the dam, Fedarko reinforces Gamble’s opinion. Richard Marks, superintendent of the Park Service, tried to decide the best way to keep all of the white water boaters safe while the water levels were high. As the success of his rafting company grew, Litton began to design and build new dories to expand his business. He emphasizes the immense responsibility of the people running the power plant, as the dam is holding back millions of gallons of water that, if released, would do significant damage. Rather than closing the entire river, he decided to close only Crystal Rapid, forcing boating parties to walk along the bank at that part of the river. SPOILER ALERT STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS: The boat flipped keel over stern, throwing the men into the river and causing one crewman to get sucked down through the rapid to the bottom of the river. Menu. In the spring of 2003, I saw my very first whitewater dory when I walked into a boathouse on the outskirts of Flagstaff, Arizona. This would be enough to create conditions for Grua and a few other guides to attempt a speed-run down the Colorado River. Grua petitions Litton for permission to do the speed run, who in turn asks the superintendent of the Park Service for permission. Grand Canyon Boatman Stories (2006), and Kevin Fedarko's The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Though the Heart of the Grand Canyon (2013). This particular landslide changed the composition of the canyon walls so much that it created a new rapid: Crystal Rapid, one of the most “dreadful stretches of white water in the West.”, Chapter 9 “The Death of the Emerald Mile” (124-137) *OK TO SKIM. 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”. It was a boatman’s dream, “the Old Man himself, unbound, a thing of monstrous and terrible beauty.”. ** Page 90 - There is a useful map of the river here **. ¿Dónde está mi cheque de estímulo de $600? Against that backdrop, three river guides pushed their dory, the Emerald Mile, into the torrent. Chapter 8 “Crystal Genesis” (113-123) *OK TO SKIM), Fedarko sets the scene of a 1966 storm that dumped more than 14 inches of rain in 36 hours, creating significant run off into the canyon and Colorado river. Down river, three boatmen had a crazy plan: use the raging river to slingshot a wooden boat called the Emerald Mile through the Grand Canyon faster than any vessel ever. Chapter 17 “The Grand Confluence” (231-241). When George Crawford opened his hard-cover edition of The Emerald Mile by Keven Fedarko, I heard gasps of surprise in the room. One passenger, Bill Wert, was killed by the impact of a piece of equipment being flung from the boat into his chest. Details are posted at journalism.unt.edu/maybornconference. Chapter 20 “The Doing of the Thing” (268-278) *OK TO SKIM EXCEPT FOR PAGES 271-273. Gamble, the director of the Glen Dam, miraculously ensures that the dam safely functions through both the expanded runoff melting and significant damage in the spillway tunnels, averting significant destruction for the communities around the dam. The Emerald Mile is ostensibly a book about Kenton Grua’s illicit speed run through Grand Canyon in a dory when record levels of water were being released from the dam in 1983, but it’s actually quite a bit more. Chapter 16 “Raising the Castle Walls” (214-228) *OK TO SKIM. Some guides stated that the rapid was three times as dangerous as it had been even a few days prior during Georgie White’s run. The guides had miscalculated the intricacies of the rapid and the first boat through is torn to pieces, literally destroyed. The dam’s engineers had no choice but to open the floodgates. The river collected the runoff and funneled it toward the arcing sweep of the Glen Canyon Dam, filling its huge reservoir at Lake Powell to the bursting point. Beginning with an overview of Kenton Grua’s early life, this chapter explains how Grua became impassioned about white water boating and dories. All three men claw their way to the shore, where they have to use their collective weight to pull the Emerald Mile back to shore and make further repairs. With expanding his business, Litton also began to attract guides that were more free spirits and had a respect for the river and the canyon. Fedarko describes the first attempts, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, to harness the power of the Colorado river for the creation of electricity. That refusal to give up is the essence of The Emerald Mile, the thread linking the earliest Spanish explorers to Maj. John Wesley Powell's explorations with his ragtag fleet, then the builders of America's great dams and the ultimate success of these three bold men in a very small boat. Up the stories of the Glen Dam power plant with a geographical overview of the passengers had learn. 342-354 ) surveying the Dam for damage heard a thunderous sound coming from deep inside the structure, indicated... 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