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The Man Who Walked Through Time: The Story of the First Trip Afoot Through the Grand Canyon Paperback – May 14, 1989
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Audio, Cassette, Unabridged, Audiobook
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Colin Fletcher is a self-described "compulsive walker." It is not unusual for him to pick up a map, drive to an area that intrigues him, and then start walking. It should come as no surprise then that a detour from U.S. 66 to visit the Grand Canyon on a June morning in 1963 inspired Fletcher to walk the length of the Canyon below the rim. In The Man Who Walked Through Time Fletcher recounts his amazing journey. For two months Fletcher struggled against heat and cold, lack of water and dwindling supplies. The terrain was, at times, nearly impassible, yet despite the physical hardships, Fletcher came away from his experience with a new awareness of how humans fit into the vast scheme of things. He writes, for example, of meeting a rattlesnake on Beaver Sand Bar: "Now I am no rattlesnake aficionado. The first rattler I met scared me purple, and killing it seemed a human duty.... Yet by the end of that California summer I no longer felt an unreasoning fear of rattlers.... Instead, I accepted them as organisms with a niche in the web of life. Accepted them, that is, as fellow creatures."
The Man Who Walked Through Time is a remarkable account of a journey both physical and spiritual. It is also a record of the Grand Canyon as it was before the massive influx of tourism. Fletcher's descriptions of the spectacular geography, the wildlife, and the remnants of much older cultures serve to remind us that the Grand Canyon has been around longer than humankind and may well outlast us.
From the Inside Flap
The remarkable classic of nature writing by the first man ever to have walked the entire length of the Grand Canyon.
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Fletchers writing about his solo travels is unpolluted by ego, fluff or anything else that's worthless. He brings the small but essential experiences into sharp focus with his careful descriptions. A literary critic might have a different view, but as a guy who loves to haul a pack around in lonely and beautiful places, I cant say enough about Fletchers writing.
One of the aspects of this book I dearly love, is that its from a time before the big companies infected the culture of backpacking with the neurotic focus on equipment. Today, too many people focus on gear rather than the experience. Reading backpacking magazines like Outdoor...is sickening to me...its nothing but a ad rag. All hype, fashion and status. Fletcher shares what its like to simply go explore wild places on your own - with no consideration of statistics, competition or...obsession with hyped up equipment. Backpacking is a form of travel that should be inexpensive and in reach of nearly everyone...rather than the over-priced, materialistic BS that Outside and other magazines have turned it into.
This is a great book - worth the price and time to read it.
A good companion to this is "Grand Obsession," about Grand Canyon legend Harvey Butchart. Their brief relationship is interesting.