Grand Obsession: Harvey Butchart and the Exploration of Grand Canyon

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9780970097347: Grand Obsession: Harvey Butchart and the Exploration of Grand Canyon
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Winner of a 2008 National Outdoor Book Award, a 2008 Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY), and named a Book of the Year by the Pima County Library, "Grand Obsession" continues to gather recognition for its striking portrayal of a man who felt compelled to do what no one had dared attempt in modern times: explore the deepest, most inhospitable reaches of the Grand Canyon, crown jewel of America's national parks - something which took decades to achieve and exacted a great personal cost.

Writers Elias Butler and Thomas M. Myers (co-author of the book "Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon") poured 15 years of research into this book. Legendary Grand Canyoneer Harvey Butchart climbed, hiked, floated and bushwhacked 12,000 pioneering miles below the rim during a 42-year obsession with the world-famous gorge. He became the first man to walk across Grand Canyon National Park, doing so in 1963 just ahead of writer Colin Fletcher, who famously described Butchart in his classic adventure book "The Man Who Walked Through Time."

Here for the first time is Harvey's life story: his early years as a fatherless child in a mystical, rugged mountain range in China, his struggles in America during the Great Depression, and finally, his all-consuming drive for greatness by exploring one of the West's last unknown wildernesses. Butchart's accomplishments found favor with the public, but also led to the death of his favorite hiking partner and took a decades-long toll on his marriage.

The authors retrace Harvey's footsteps on dangerous cliff edges while chronicling his thrilling exploits, heart-breaking tragedies, and lasting triumphs. Part biography, part modern-day adventure, "Grand Obsession" will take you deeper into the soul of this fascinating man - and Grand Canyon - than you have ever been before.

Contains over 170 photographs, many never-before-published, and Harvey Butchart's hand-stenciled maps showing his treks in Grand Canyon. The paperback edition contains black-and-white maps, the hardback edition contains color maps.

Butchart's feats continue to receive recognition, most recently by the Arizona State Board of Names, which in 2008 designated a rocky summit "Butchart Butte" within Grand Canyon National Park.

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About the Author:

Elias Butler is a writer and photographer living in Flagstaff, Arizona. Butler has written for Backpacker, National Geographic Adventure, The Fretboard Journal, the Las Vegas-Review Journal and the Arizona Daily Sun. Butler's photography has been published in USA Today, Reader's Digest, Arizona Highways, and Backpacker . This is his first book.

At age 19, Tom Myers began celebrating the dawning of each new year by hiking in the Grand Canyon. It is a tradition he and his wife continue to share with their three children. He has co-authored two previous Canyon books, Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon (with Michael Ghiglieri) and Fateful Journey (with Larry Stevens and Chris Becker).

Review:

"Butler and Myers do wonders with this book, taking what seems at first glance a prosaic subject, and fashioning it into a fascinating portrait of a man hopelessly addicted to a place." -- 2008 National Outdoor Book Awards, which named Grand Obsession a winner in the History/Biography category.

"Of all the Grand Canyon books out there, this one stands alone as a classic work showcasing man and nature at their best." -- Lynn Arave, The Deseret Morning News

"Through Butchart's experiences, readers get a feel for how impressive, humbling, unforgiving and fascinating this place is. Read it." -- Amy Maesta, Inside/Outside Southwest

"There's a special word for finding your own way around the Grand Canyon without following established trails: "butcharting," an homage to Harvey Butchart." -- Susan Spano, The Los Angeles Times

"Written by two other Canyon explorers, with personal accounts of their efforts to follow in Butchart's footsteps, this story of a remarkable life transcends biography and becomes gripping adventure." -- Pima County Library and Arizona Historical Society, which named "Grand Obsession" a 2007 Southwest Book of the Year.

"The book is well written and the story of Harvey's life is extremely interesting. I highly recommend this book!" -- Denise Traver, former NPS ranger and author of hitthetrail, a Grand Canyon website.

"Harvey Butchart, the man who has walked over more of the Grand Canyon than any other alive or dead..." --Edward Abbey, writing in his journal at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in 1969 --Ed Abbey

"Nobody knew the Grand Canyon better than Harvey Butchart did. Now comes our chance to better know Butchart, the enigmatic hiker-explorer who is regarded as the father of American desert canyoneering. "Grand Obsession: Harvey Butchart and the Exploration of Grand Canyon," by Elias Butler and Tom Myers, tells the story of this mild-mannered math professor who turned tenacious below the canyon's rims - logging 12,000 miles on foot, blazing dozens of new routes from rim to river and notching 28 first recorded ascents of buttes and other formidable formations in the canyon's torrid interior. He wrote three famously cryptic backcountry guidebooks that helped cement his status among canyon aficionados as part Superman, part Yoda." --Joe Hudson, The Denver Post

"Harvey Butchart was the legendary hiker and canyoneer who explored more of the Grand Canyon than any other person. He was largely known through his sparse and somewhat cryptic hiking guidebooks. But even more cryptic was Butchart himself. Who was this man, and why did his interest in the canyon become an obsession that consumed his life? You'll find out in this uncommonly well researched, well-structured and well-written biography." --2008 2008 National Outdoor Book Awards web site

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