Our Traveler of the Week’s duo of reviews spell out four favorite books about his recent most favorite topic, the Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon National Park’s peak visiting season is the Northern Hemisphere’s summer, so we’re glad for these book ideas as excuses to stay warm inside and plan to see the Grand Canyon in the warmer months.
(Don’t get us wrong--the winter can be a great time to go. Back in 2001, rdetmorita did a thorough exploration of winter in northern Arizona.)
Traveler Callen60 starts at the beginning. Exploration of the Colorado River and its Canyons an account by the one-armed amateur scientist who headed the first known end-to-end running of the Colorado River, John Wesley Powell. Apparently, before Powell’s journey, no one knew what hundreds of miles of the river looked like, and “rumors of mythological proportion swirled around it: it dove underground for miles at a stretch; it was impassable due to whirlpools of unfathomable size; the rapids were miles long and unrunnable in any craft. In the end, Powell took three ordinary wooden boats and nine ordinary men, and with precious little planning, carved through the heart of the only uncharted territory in the U.S.”
The second book, A Canyon Voyage, is the story of Powell’s second voyage that Frederick Dellenbaugh wrote from the diaries he kept on the trip as a 17-year-old, and the result is, “a wonderful balance of a daily account of the expedition from a resourceful, thoughtful, and fully engaged participant who hardly comes across as a teen.” Callen60 proclaims it the better read of the two, and while he had the pleasure of reading a 1926 edition, it’s available for free at Project Gutenberg.
For readers looking for more modern tales of the Canyon, Callen60 shares his thoughts on The Man Who Walked Through Time. This is the story of Colin Fletcher’s end-to-end hike of the canyon. For this and other journeys, he’s been seen as both the initiator of the backpacking craze and “an inveterate” or “compulsive walker.” Lastly, How the Canyon Became Grand, which Callen60 picked up at the suggestion of a North Rim bookstore clerk, gave him “a great understanding of how [the canyon] came to figure so significantly in our cultural and scientific understanding, rising from wasteland to jewel over less than a century.”
And a jewel it is, as evidenced by a gratuitous shot of the Canyon in warmer months (this one comes from vampirefan’s “Bucket List Item” review of the park). Thanks to Callen60 for sharing literary ways to experience it, and if you want to read more, check out his excellent Spring Break at the Canyon journal!
More Grand Canyon and Arizona on IgoUgo
Flights to Phoenix
Places to stay near the Canyon, including campgrounds
More Grand Canyon Photos
Posted by eyesoftheworld (Anna Welch)