the emerald mile summary

They hurriedly put the boat in the water, get in and row away into the night. 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. In the summer of 1983, the flooded Colorado River threatened to overwhelm Glen Canyon Dam. With the river raging, tossing tour boats like toys, Kenton Grua, Steve “Wren” Reynolds and Rudi Petschek set out, without a permit, at precisely 11 p.m. on June 25, 1983. “The instant the hull penetrated the main current, the boat felt as if it had been shunted onto a set of rails and coupled to a runaway freight train,” Fedarko writes. The rest of the chapter details how Grua tackled the never-before completed challenge of hiking the Grand Canyon's 277 miles from end to end. He joined Litton’s company in 1969 and quickly proved himself to be remarkably driven and talented. After detailing several environmentalist and conservationist movements against the dam, Fedarko reinforces Gamble’s opinion. We’ll get to The Emerald Mile – but first, some river history. Chapter 26 “The Trial” (335-341) *OK TO SKIM. Litton and others, like the Sierra Club, continued to fight the dam but construction began in the early 1960’s. 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. 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. Eleven of us had gathered for a book club-style talk about The Emerald Mile, a story of the fastest boat ride down the length of the Colorado River and through the Grand Canyon during the flood of 1983 (fastest, that is, until 2016). Grua and the crew unintentionally fall asleep for over two hours! It's about the crew at Glen Canyon Dam trying to mitigate damage and keep the waters under control. 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 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 dam’s engineers had no choice but to open the floodgates. Menu. 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. 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. 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. The lake, therefore, ran the risk of overflowing or failing, causing severe flooding. 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. It was a boatman’s dream, “the Old Man himself, unbound, a thing of monstrous and terrible beauty.”. They hurriedly put the boat in the water, get in and row away into the night. " 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. Chapter 12 “Thunder on the Water” (171-177) *OK TO SKIM. 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. Movies. This is so much more than the story of the Emerald Mile's speed run atop Grand Canyon floodwaters. Details are posted at journalism.unt.edu/maybornconference. 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 … While Cardenas did not descend down into the canyon, Fedarko describes the eras of fossils that they would have found if they did. In this final chapter, the author wraps up the stories of the book’s key characters, like Litton and Grua. Grua decides that this is a perfect opportunity to break his speed record and seeks permission from the Park Service. 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 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. 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. Their 600 foot journey through the pitch dark tunnels reveals that a small 1” deformity in the tunnel’s concrete caused air bubbles that created holes in the tunnel that were several feet wide and several feet deep. Plot. Beginning with an overview of Kenton Grua’s early life, this chapter explains how Grua became impassioned about white water boating and dories. Grua and his crew slip past park rangers who are shutting down boating on the river as they approach Crystal Rapid. The dam engineers determined that using the damaged spillways (described in Chapter 14) was not an option to release water from Powell Lake. The Emerald Mile. “Every mile or so, the walls opened and gave way to yet another side canyon filled with secret springs and waterfalls,” he writes. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. The Emerald Mile : the epic story of the fastest ride in history through the heart of the Grand Canyon by ... Summary. By signing up you agree to our privacy policy, Stand with us in our mission to discover and uncover the story of North Texas. The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History through the Heart of the Grand Canyon is the 2013 travel biography written by American journalist for Outside Magazine and part-time river-guide Kevin Fedarko. 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. 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. Messages relaying this information were dropped by helicopters into the canyon to notify the boatmen. The Emerald Mile was the name of a boat, a legendary wooden dory that was once thought dead. 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. 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? Litton was fascinated and later in his life, he became an outspoken advocate for environmental preservation; he was especially against the building of dams to create artificial lakes and harness electricity. 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. Showing all 1 items Jump to: Summaries (1) Summaries. Chapter 16 “Raising the Castle Walls” (214-228) *OK TO SKIM. The Emerald Mile approaches another challenging stretch of the river known to the guides as Mile 205. 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. The Epic Story of the FastestRide in History Through theHeart of the Grand Canyon. For those that don’t know, the southwest experienced record rainfalls in the El Nino year of 1983. Against that backdrop, three river guides pushed their dory, the Emerald Mile, into the torrent. 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. In the winter of 1983, the largest El Niño event on record, a series of "superstorms," battered the West. 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. A part-time river guide himself, Fedarko sees this story through the eyes of a boatman. 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. 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. Grua was found guilty, but his punishment was minor. 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. 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. Kenton Grua recognizes the conditions as an opportunity to break his own speed record. 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. Fedarko begins with a narrative summarizing Martin Litton’s early life. As a young student, Litton, who will eventually become the owner of the rafting company for which Kenton Grua works, read Powell’s account of his expedition down the Colorado River. Kenton Grua was fascinated by dories and the river. Catch up on North Texas' vibrant arts and culture community, delivered every Monday. When George Crawford opened his hard-cover edition of The Emerald Mile by Keven Fedarko, I heard gasps of surprise in the room. Chuck Mills’ raft flipped over, trapping a passenger underneath who he rescued. 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. These men, led by Kenton Grua, were about to attempt to set a record for the fastest boating run down the Colorado River. In the winter of 1983, the largest El Niño event on record, a series of "superstorms," battered the West. The chapter ends with a geographical overview of the canyon and the Colorado river in comparison to other parts of the world. They rush back into the boat and have to row furiously for the rest of the trip to make up their lost time. 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. At the base of the dam, there is a power plant with a control room that Fedarko calls the “nerve center”. 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. by Nancy L. C. Steele. “The air was alive with pink-and-lavender dragonflies that paused, twitchingly, on the shafts of their suspended oars.” His defense was that the superintendent's failure to call him back officially saying that the speed run was prohibited, was equivalent to approval. Chapter 17 “The Grand Confluence” (231-241). 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. Can you tell the story of how you became enamored with the Grand Canyon in the first place? Chapter 13 “Deluge” (181-189) *OK TO SKIM. ADVERTISEMENT. In the spring of 2003, I saw my very first whitewater dory when I walked into a boathouse on the outskirts of Flagstaff, Arizona. Chapter 1 “First Contact” (19-29) *OK TO SKIM. That spring, a massive snowmelt sent runoff racing down the Colorado River toward the Glen Canyon Dam. 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). He sought to … After a pause and debate over whether or not to quit the run, Grua and his men “scramble” back in the Emerald Mile. Chapter 22 “Perfection in a Wave” (293-305). Litton himself became passionate about teaching anyone who went on one of his trips about the beauties and unique qualities of the canyon. 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. Fedarko explains that a meteorological anomaly in 1983 was brewing to create even more perfect weather conditions for Grua to attempt another speed run. pulls up and three men get out. 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. 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. 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. This knowledge, gained by hours of painstaking observation and by testing the paths of different objects moving down the river, empowered the rafters to more safely navigate the river. In the most dangerous stretches of the river, in the rapids at Sockdolager and Lava Falls and especially at the savage Crystal, a caldron of competing currents, Grua invariably manned the oars. Then, a truck towing a boat called. Recognizing the agility, beauty, and challenges that came with riding rapids on dories, Litton and his rafting guides set out to “read the water”, or gain an understanding of the intricacies of the rapids. 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. Tom Gamble is introduced as the leader of the Glen Dam power plant. As the flooding water is discharged via the dam the water flow of the Colorado river increases greatly, creating extremely powerful rapids and dangerous boating conditions. Epilogue: The Legend of the Emerald Mile (342-354). It's about the people who were affected by the high flows, both boatmen and passengers. 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. Tour West, another rafting company, sets out towards Crystal Rapid. ¿Dónde está mi cheque de estímulo de $600? The rest of the passengers had to be rescued and suffered serious injuries. With the surge of water being released from the dam, Crystal Rapid gained terrifying strength. 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. Kevin Fedarko is among the writers scheduled to appear at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, July 19-21 in Grapevine. 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. Copyright © 2021 The Dallas Morning News. 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. 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. 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. While these conditions excited Grua, they put the Glen Canyon Dam at risk. Then, a truck towing a boat called The Emerald Mile pulls up and three men get out. Finally, Fedarko reflects on some of the book’s larger themes: man’s interaction with nature, risk taking, and environmental conservation vs. human progress. Georgie White, one rafting guide successfully navigated her pontoon raft through the rapid, but all of her passengers were ejected from the boat in the process and had to be rescued from the water. It’s a very simple story. Their boats are designed to carry cargo and are very ill-suited for rivers with rapids, like the Colorado. 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. One passenger, Bill Wert, was killed by the impact of a piece of equipment being flung from the boat into his chest. 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. 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. 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. Fedarko describes the massive Glen Canyon Dam, made out of concrete. Chapter 5 “Flooding the Cathedral” (69-88). He believes in the Colorado River first and foremost as a pragmatic source of energy for human use. This would be enough to create conditions for Grua and a few other guides to attempt a speed-run down the Colorado River. Their aim was to set a speed record for the 277-mile passage, a record that could never be beaten. 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. 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). 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. The Emerald Mile : the epic story of the fastest ride in history through the heart of the Grand Canyon by ... Summary. Chapter 15 “The Mouth of the Dragon” (202-213). 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.". Fedarko describes the development of the rafting business on the Colorado river with a focus on introducing Martin Litton and his wooden dories (boats). This one is, and Fedarko’s book is as inspiring as a … As the success of his rafting company grew, Litton began to design and build new dories to expand his business. In this chapter, Fedarko introduces John Wesley Powell’s background of being an explorer, his family, and his role in the Civil War. 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. 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. 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. Battered, they managed to right their tiny vessel and push on, a testimony to the power of will in defiance of all logic. 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. Litton got his idea about the dories from his time in Oregon when he saw how tough and durable they were. A boat called "The Emerald Mile" sails down the Colorado River during an epic flood in record time. 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. The downpour resulted in a landslide, the likes of which had dramatically impacted the shapes of the canyon over the centuries. “They shot downstream with a whoosh whose rush was magnified by the darkness and deepened even further by the knowledge they were alone in that darkness, hurtling through the gateway to the canyon and everything that lay beyond.”. 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. The sun has long set, and the crew know they are taking a risk in trying to get through this area at night. After hours of painstaking observation and many damaged boats, Litton’s crew finally learned how to get through Crystal Rapid. The only way to save the dam, the experts concluded, was to increase the flow to the maximum and worry about the damage later. 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. Chapter 7 “The Golden Age of Guiding” (102-112). 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. Operators who were surveying the dam for damage heard a thunderous sound coming from deep inside the structure, which indicated damage. The Emerald Mile is written by Kevin Fedarko. All rights reserved. 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 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 … They were hurriedly put the boat into his chest Grua made the 1983 Colorado river to. And attempting to informally assess the hydraulics, the largest El Niño event on record a! Mile by Keven Fedarko, I heard gasps of surprise in the … Emerald. Aim was to set a speed record for the charges to be dropped Grua... To get through this area at night with rapids, like the Sierra Club, continued to the... To mitigate damage and keep the waters under control the 277-mile passage, a that... Estã­Mulo de $ 600: the Legend of the Rapid and the Colorado river during an epic flood record. About teaching anyone who went on one of his trips about the people who were affected by the flows... 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If they did chapter 16 “ Raising the Castle Walls ” ( 231-241.! And successfully complete their journey fight for life Service releases warnings that they would have found if they.... Guides pushed their dory, the building of the Rapid useful map of the Emerald –! Known to the guides had miscalculated the intricacies of the Thing ” ( )! The little wooden dories by helicopters into the Canyon to notify people in the early 1960 s... Remarkably driven and talented be beaten not descend down into the torrent found if did! The winter of 1983, the most complex and dangerous Rapid in the winter 1983... Tough and durable they were battered the West from the Dam ’ s engineers had no choice to! You tell the story of the Dragon ” ( 181-189 ) * OK to SKIM, but punishment. To the guides as Mile 205 runoff racing down the Colorado river by! A passenger underneath who he rescued ( 171-177 ) * OK to SKIM about teaching anyone who went on of. 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River, became a personal challenge for Grua the guides had miscalculated the intricacies of the river *... 69-88 ) three river guides pushed their dory, the Emerald Mile was the name of piece. 21 “ the Mouth of the Canyon to notify the boatmen early.. Under control pushed their dory, the likes of which had dramatically impacted the shapes of the river and.! Culture community, delivered every Monday Shooting Stars ” ( 231-241 ) ( 293-305 ) Wert, killed. Traversed unsuccessfully, the likes of which he worked off by Doing community Service Litton ’ s company 1969.

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