Adios Amigos: Tales of Sustenance and Purification in the American West

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9781582435374: Adios Amigos: Tales of Sustenance and Purification in the American West
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In this free-spirited collection of essays, Page Stegner weaves natural history, conservation polemic, ecology, and wilderness adventures on a number of the West's major white-water rivers. Stegner moves effortlessly from his own experiences on the Colorado, Yampa, Green, San Juan, Dolores, and Missouri rivers to first explorations by historical figures such as Lewis and Clark and John Wesley Powell, to modern controversies that threaten the continued unspoiled isolation of these special places.

From its opening essay — recalling a hilarious, albeit hazardous, journey down the Owyhee River in southeastern Oregon — to the final episode on Lake Powell, Stegner's narrative is rich in vivid detail, laced with sardonic humor, and always grounded in a passion for the West — both its past and the promise of its future.

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Adios Amigos is what Stegner calls a boil of particularly vicious rapids in Oregon’s Owyhee River, and he is so obstreperously funny in the book-opening tale of a nearly catastrophic passage during a rare flood, the reader instantly decides to follow this curmudgeonly river rat anywhere. And Stegner does not disappoint. Each blistering chronicle of a cathartically death-defying river journey in a heartbreakingly beautiful or bruised place—including a run on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and a foul-minded report on the sorry state of Lake Powell—is an occasion for brusque history lessons, self-deprecating hilarity, and flinty ruminations on our abuse of western lands. Stegner curses the invasive tamarisks, rolls his eyes at finicky environmental-studies students, gnashes his teeth over the damage done by off-road vehicles, and suggests that now is the time to end unregulated recreation in vulnerable desert canyons. Sharing with gruff grace memories of his father, Wallace Stegner, who had a hand in preserving the West’s most spectacular areas, this rapids rider dispenses tonic straight talk and irreverent humor from the eco-front. --Donna Seaman

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Each blistering chronicle of a cathartically death-defying river journey in a heartbreakingly beautiful or bruised place is an occasion for brusque history lessons, self-deprecating hilarity, and flinty ruminations on our abuse of western lands . . . this rapids rider dispenses tonic straight talk and irreverent humor from the eco-front.” Booklist

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