Book Review: “The Emerald Mile”

Hey, it’s been a while fellow book-loving followers!

I know I promised to write quite a few book reviews back in August and I’d like to say I have a good excuse, but I don’t so I’m just going to get on with it.

I had wanted to read The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon by Kevin Fedarko for a few years mainly because it’s one of my best friend’s favorite books but also because I’ve enjoyed a few river trips myself and lived right near the Grand Canyon when I was younger. I’ve always been fascinated by the natural wonder and hope to someday float it myself. And even after reading this epic tale, I maybe want to even a little more.

This book was not something I typically read so I did struggle at the beginning. I had borrowed my friend’s copy and started reading it way back in May of 2020 but after struggling through the first 30 pages, I put the book aside and began to read another instead. Then in July after confessing to my friend that I hadn’t made it that far, she suggested listening to the audiobook instead. So that’s exactly what I did and I’m grateful for it.

The book has a lot of history about the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River, and rafting so even though it could get dull and maybe a bit too textbook-like, there was enough adventure and excitement to keep it moving. Even though a lot of the language was technical and educational for most of the book, the story of the fastest ride was enthralling. The elements of the adventure from not only the three brave river guides, but others along the Grand at the time, was captivating. The danger that peeked around every corner of the winding river would have been enough for most people to claim they’d never set foot near a river again but for Kenton Grua, the dory guide, it was the adventure of a lifetime.

The book begins with the discovery of the Grand Canyon and ends with Grua’s adventurous streak down the infamous river but in between, I learned a lot about the history of the canyon, the politics behind water rights, the gusto it takes to be a full-time river guide, and the mightiness of one of the great natural wonders of the world. Overall a great read (or listen), that I’m glad I powered through. If you’re not an adventurer and are one of those people that would never consider climbing into a small boat to be hurtled down a river for fun, I’d maybe skip this one. If you’ve ever been fascinated by the power of water and interested in once-in-a-lifetime experiences, give The Emerald Mile a shot.

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