River Runner. Man of Letters. Conservationist.
Kevin Fedarko has spent the better part of the past twenty years writing about adventure, conservation, exploration, and the Grand Canyon. He studied Russian history at Oxford before joining the staff at TIME, where he worked primarily on the foreign affairs desk, then later moved to Outside magazine, where he was a senior editor. His writing has appeared in National Geographic, The New York Times, and Esquire, among other publications, and a trio of his stories from the Himalayas, the Horn of Africa, and the Colorado River are anthologized in The Best American Travel Writing. Fedarko, who lives and works in Flagstaff, Arizona, is the author of The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon, which recounts the true story of a small wooden dory and three river guides who in the summer of 1983 pitted her against the largest flood to sweep the Colorado River in generations with the aim of setting an unbreakable speed record. The book, lauded as “a masterpiece of literary nonfiction” by the Oklahoman and “a work of jaw-dropping scope and page-turning action” by Southwest Books of the Year, won the National Outdoor Book Award and the Reading the West Award, was a finalist for a PEN Literary Sports Writing Award and the Banff Mountain Book Award and became a New York Times bestseller. It is regarded as an essential text for those who revere the Grand Canyon. Scribner recently acquired the rights to publish Kevin’s forthcoming book about his fourteen-month odyssey, on foot, through the heart of the Grand Canyon with National Geographic photographer Pete McBride.
Why Wilderness Matters
Considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is one of the world’s most widely recognized and universally beloved landscapes. It is also surrounded on all sides by threats that include uranium mining activity, helicopter traffic, and real-estate development proposals. In order to explore this paradox, author Kevin Fedarko teamed with his best friend, National Geographic photographer and filmmaker Pete McBride, and together the two men set out to do something rather drastic: hike through the heart of the most iconic and magisterial national park in America—not from rim to rim—but from end to end.
Setting off in the fall of 2015, they embarked on what turned into an epic and unspeakably arduous adventure across 750 miles of terrain that involved more than a year of bushwhacking across the all but impenetrable reaches of the canyon, lugging gear and provisions through scorching heat and freezing cold. The resulting trek came close to killing them both. But it also revealed the gifts of the canyon and underscored the importance of protecting it for posterity.
Photos: courtesy Kevin Fedarko
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