The Doing of the Thing: The Brief Brilliant Whitewater Career of Buzz Holmstrom
by Vince Welch, Cort Conley, and Brad Dimock
In November of 1973, Buzz Holmstrom, an unknown service station attendant from the tiny logging town of Coquille, Oregon, made headlines across the country. Alone, in a boat he designed and built himself, he navigated over a thousand miles of the rapid-strewn Green and Colorado Rivers.
Without saying much, he went back to work at the service station, where the press tracked him down. How he came to have the boatbuilding or river running skills, or even the desire to do such a thing, was unclear.
Nine years and thousands or river miles later, Holmstrom’s body was found beside the Grande Ronde River in Oregon. At 37, his story and ended in even greater mystery than it began.
Now, fifty years later, three boatman have brought to light a story about rivers and wooden boats, about heroes, humility, unbearable beauty, solitude, and death. Holmstrom’s is the tale of a man’s lone struggle in a difficult and changing world.
The story that evolved is far more than a string of whitewater tales. IT tells of a deep and complex young man, caught between the old and new, between duty and desire, between price and humility. Buzz Holmstrom’s life, river voyages, and death, tell of a lone man’s struggle in a difficult and changing world.