There’s This River: Grand Canyon Boatman Stories
edited by Christa Sadler
Grand Canyon Boatmen. These me and women make their living guiding passengers through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River. They are raunchy, rowdy, and king – some of the most talented people around. Boatmen can take a 33-foot motor rig through a rocky rapid at low water, or guide a tiny paddle boat through the giant waves of Lava Falls without missing a stroke. They’ll cook the best food you’ve ever eaten, bandage a wound, set up at tent during the rain in record time, or patch a seven-foot rip in a boat – with a grin on their face. In their other lives these people are writers, teachers, doctors, scientists, ski instructors, carpenters, artists.
And they can tell stories! Not just tales of adventure and excitement, but stories of a favorite passenger, a particularly beautiful sunset, or a side canyon that was somehow special that day. And they tell how they see this place in more than words – paintings, drawings, photographs. These stories and artwork and the expressions of a unique American community, in an incomparable place. The Grand Canyon.
About the Editor:
Christa Sadler’s love of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon began at the age of twelve, when she rode a mule to the bottom of the canyon to have Thanksgiving dinner. Dreams of mule wrangling gave way to dreams of being a geologist when she took her first trip down the river in 1985; a six-day motor trip with Hatch River Expeditions. Despite the fact that Ted Hatch smiled politely and refused to consider her quest to work for him, she went home to her graduate studies in geology at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and proceeded to learn the basics of rowing on the Rouge River in Oregon. She worked for a season on the rivers of Oregon and northern California, and dreamed of coming back to the Colorado. In 1987 Christa came to Flagstaff to find a job on the river, although she told her parents it was to finish a master’s degree in earth sciences at Northern Arizona University, the only legitimate excuse she could come up with. She did indeed finish her degree, as well as become a guide on the river, something she admits to planning her life around since finishing school.
In her attempt to avoid a desk job and stay outdoors in the most beautiful places she can find, Christa has worked on rivers throughout the Southwest and Alaska, and in Ecuador. She has worked as a sea kayak guide, naturalist and educator for several ecotourism companies in Mexico, Alaska and on the Colorado Plateau. Her research in archaeology, geology and paleontology has included several ridiculously hot summers searching for dinosaurs in the badlands of Montana, fighting off dust storms and overly curious camels in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, and steering clear of annoyed marine iguanas in the Galapagos Islands.
Christa has taught introductory geology and paleontology at Northern Arizona University and Coconino Community College in Flagstaff and Prescott College, in Prescott Arizona. She works as an instructor for the Grand Canyon Field Institute, and run geology programs for park service personelle at Grand Canyon National Park. She also operates This Earth, a business that brings earth science programs to children and adults around the United States, and deigns earth science exercises, programs and field trips for students grades K-12. Check out her programs at www.this-earth.com