"River" by Colin Fletcher is the March Selection of the Meltwater Book Club

One Man's Journey Down the Colorado, Source to Sea. Colin Fletcher illustrates more than any other that Life is a Journey. Rivers have been used as a metaphor for the journey of life since writers started writing. In truth, this blog uses that theme as well. Meltwater. Torrents. Meanderings. Delta. Those four words describe a river's evolution just as they describe a man's journey through life.

Colin Fletcher is the guru of backpacking America, and his treks through the California desert and the Grand Canyon have delighted hundreds of thousands of readers. But when, at age 67, Colin Fletcher decided to make a six-month single-handed foot and raft expedition down the full length of the Colorado River, it was not only for adventure (and the likelihood that no one had accomplished it before), but because he needed "something to pare the fat off my soul...to make me grateful again for being alive."

From its Green River source in Wyoming to its black conclusion in Mexico's Gulf of California, the 1,700 mile Colorado is America's second longest river and the one with the most beautiful vistas. For Fletcher this was an opportunity to perform aesthetic and emotional geology on the landscape (and on himself), and to treat the reader to a host of dramatic, moving, and hilarious experiences. We see sandhill cranes and great blue herons; we experience many miles of whitewater challenges that stretch Fletcher's rafting capabilities to the limit; we float through stupendous canyons and open desert, pass mountains and abandoned villages; we flyfish for rainbow trout. We meet the people who live along the river, other adventurers, tourists. We wake up every morning to fresh views and the rewards of wilderness solitude. And finally we come to know this feisty curmudgeon who in his late sixties achieved the journey of a lifetime.

The author of the Grand Canyon classic The Man Who Walked Through Time, adds to his life list of desert voyages. He ponders his own life's passage, musing on lost loves, the experience of war, the onset of old age, and impending mortality. Following in the footsteps of John Wesley Powell, "River" is a welcome addition to the growing body of Colorado River Exploration Lore, and remains a pioneering adventure worthy of ranking among the world's best.

Thanks for reading.


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