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The Emerald Mile

The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


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.

In the spring of 1983, massive flooding along the length of the Colorado River confronted a team of engineers at the Glen Canyon Dam with an unprecedented emergency that may have resulted in the most catastrophic dam failure in history. In the midst of this crisis, the decision to launch a small wooden dory named “The Emerald Mile” at the head of the Grand Canyon, just fifteen miles downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam, seemed not just odd, but downright suicidal.

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 goal was to nail the all-time record for the fastest boat ever propelled—by oar, by motor, or by the grace of God himself—down the entire length of the Colorado River from Lee’s Ferry to Lake Mead. Did he survive? Just barely. Now, this remarkable, epic feat unfolds here, in The Emerald Mile.

From Publishers Weekly

May 13, 2013 – Fearlessness, and possibly foolishness, compelled Kenton Grua and a small crew to launch a refurbished dory, a flat-bottomed fishing boat, named Emerald Mile into the Colorado River "on the crest of flood tide" late one night in the summer of 1983. Grua used the swollen river "as a kind of hydraulic slingshot" to pitch them as fast as possible from Lee's Ferry on one end of the canyon, to the Grand Wash Cliffs on the other. In this absorbing volume, writer and part-time river guide Fedarko provides an intimate look at Grua's motivations and accomplishments. Nicknamed "the Factor" because he "injected a uniquely wild-ass variable into the river equation," Grua was implacably stubborn and combative, but also intensely playful. More importantly, he had a genuine appreciation for "the grand whole of the " the river, the rim rock, and the trails in between. Grua's wild ride on the Colorado, how it mirrored his mercurial personality, is just one part of Fedarko's story; however, the river, which runs through seven states, and the canyon, rich in both geological and political history, prove to be the real protagonists. Eight page photo insert.

Customer Reviews

Great Adventure(s)

Written in the vein of many educational adventure stories such as "The Mapmakers Wife" and Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods". The story tells not the just main adventure of the storyline regarding a group of renegades tackling the Colorado at the highest flow possible, but also the stories of the many adventures of history it took to get to that point.

Educational and interesting. I wish all adventure stories were like this!

Hidden Gem

What to say, I read the sample of this book expecting it to be a decent outdoor. Adventure book about river running, but instead was hooked by end of sample finding book to be so much more than just that.
It covers the history of the canyon going back to its first sighting by Spanish explorers, it covers the first exploratory trip down the river in the 1800's, it covers in amazing details the building of dams I. This country, not Just the 2 big ones along the Grand Canyon, but all throughout the country, it covers the personality and mindset of river guides in general, it goes into politics and environmentalism, it goes into engineering of the worlds largest "machines", dams.... You get the idea, this book is amazingly well researched and written and keeps moving through so much!
I highly recommend it!!

Once I started reading, I could not put it down

I heard about "The Emerald Mile" through OAR's Facebook page. I downloaded the sample on IBooks and quickly realized that I would devour this book. In some ways, I feel like I piloted through the book like Grua, Petschek and Wren piloted that legendary Dory down the swollen Colorado in 1984. Now more than ever, I am committed to one day, take that trip from Lee's Ferry. This is the best book I have read in quite some time.

The Emerald Mile
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  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: United States
  • Published: May 07, 2013
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 432 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings