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. Then, a truck towing a boat called. Litton himself became passionate about teaching anyone who went on one of his trips about the beauties and unique qualities of the canyon. Litton got his idea about the dories from his time in Oregon when he saw how tough and durable they were. 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. 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. In the winter of 1983, the largest El Niño event on record, a series of "superstorms," battered the West. They hurriedly put the boat in the water, get in and row away into the night. The dam’s engineers had no choice but to open the floodgates. After hours of painstaking observation and many damaged boats, Litton’s crew finally learned how to get through Crystal Rapid. Although Litton pushed for the charges to be dropped, Grua stood trial. The chapter ends with a geographical overview of the canyon and the Colorado river in comparison to other parts of the world. Movies. Grua and the crew unintentionally fall asleep for over two hours! Can an adventure story be as beautiful as it is heart-stopping and exciting? 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. 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. Grua decides that this is a perfect opportunity to break his speed record and seeks permission from the Park Service. Operators who were surveying the dam for damage heard a thunderous sound coming from deep inside the structure, which indicated damage. 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. 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). At the end of this chapter, the reader discovers whether or not Grua and his crew set the speed record in the Emerald Mile. 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. Against that backdrop, three river guides pushed their dory, the Emerald Mile, into the torrent. 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. 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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. A part-time river guide himself, Fedarko sees this story through the eyes of a boatman. 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? “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.”. 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. 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. Kevin Fedarko is among the writers scheduled to appear at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, July 19-21 in Grapevine. 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. Despite much debate and controversy, the building of the Glen Canyon Dam was approved in 1956. Fedarko explains that a meteorological anomaly in 1983 was brewing to create even more perfect weather conditions for Grua to attempt another speed run. We’ll get to The Emerald Mile – but first, some river history. Chuck Mills’ raft flipped over, trapping a passenger underneath who he rescued. 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 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”. Their boats are designed to carry cargo and are very ill-suited for rivers with rapids, like the Colorado. Beginning with an overview of Kenton Grua’s early life, this chapter explains how Grua became impassioned about white water boating and dories. 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 describes the development of the rafting business on the Colorado river with a focus on introducing Martin Litton and his wooden dories (boats). 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. 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 1 “First Contact” (19-29) *OK TO SKIM. The Epic Story of the FastestRide in History Through theHeart of the Grand Canyon. 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. 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 … 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. After surveying the rapid and attempting to informally assess the hydraulics, the Tour West boats set off. 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. Tour West, another rafting company, sets out towards Crystal 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. 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. Chapter 2 “The Grand Old Man” (29-39) *OK TO SKIM. It's about the people who were affected by the high flows, both boatmen and passengers. 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. 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. 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 : the epic story of the fastest ride in history through the heart of the Grand Canyon by ... Summary. This one is, and Fedarko’s book is as inspiring as a … Chapter 22 “Perfection in a Wave” (293-305). While these conditions excited Grua, they put the Glen Canyon Dam at risk. 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. Fedarko begins with a narrative summarizing Martin Litton’s early life. 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, 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. 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. 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. 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. These men, led by Kenton Grua, were about to attempt to set a record for the fastest boating run down the Colorado River. 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