Rough-water Man

Rough-water Man

Elwyn Blake's Colorado River Expeditions

eBook - 1992
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In 1902 the passage of the Reclamation Act and its mandate for the federal government to build dams for irrigation in the West created a need for accurate topographical surveys and geological studies of the rivers where the dams would be built. By 1920 the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and other agencies had surveyed the easily accessible stretches of the Colorado River and its main tributaries. The remaining segments had yet to be charted because they were located in deep canyons that were coursed by rapids and reachable only by boat. Rough-Water Man is the first detailed account of the USGS mapping expeditions of the San Juan Canyon in 1921, the upper Green River in 1922, and the Grand Canyon in 1923. It is also the personal story of how young Henry Elwyn Blake, Jr., the young boatman who was the only man to be on all three of these trips, evolved from novice waterman into expert rapids runner. Based on Blake's diaries, as well as the diaries and field notes of other USGS party members, Rough-Water Man details the adventure, the hardships, mishaps, and personal conflicts that occurred on Blake's expeditions of the Colorado River. Traveling in small wooden boats, their passage was more difficult and more dangerous than it had been in previous expeditions because the men had to maintain a line of sight from one survey to the next; this forced them to land every few hundred yards, even in rapids or where the canyon walls were almost vertical. In Rough-Water Man, the first detailed record of the surveys of the deep canyons of the Colorado River, Westwood provides a brief history of previous river explorations, outlines the results of the surveys, and includes comments on dam construction and present uses of the dams. He brings us up to date with a discussion of the controversies and environmental problems that surround the river and its use today.
Publisher: Reno, Nev. : University of Nevada Press, ©1992.
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xxi, 259 pages) : illustrations, maps

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