The Very Hard Way: Bert Loper and the Colorado River

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9781892327697: The Very Hard Way: Bert Loper and the Colorado River

Bert Loper, the Grand Old Man of the Colorado, was born the day Major Powell discovered the confluence of the San Juan and Colorado in 1869. He died just days after the first motorboat had passed through Grand Canyon. He knew every river runner in between, and by the time of his death at 80 years old, had run more of the Colorado than anyone. But it was never easy--orphaned an abused, Loper had to make his way along the bottom of society, often as a hard-rock miner, coal miner or lonely placer miner on a gravel bar. But in the Colorado River he found inspiration, and he died at the oars of his own wooden boat in a major Grand Canyon Rapid. Loper is truly mythic, and his is the story of the Colorado.

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About the Author:

Brad Dimock was born in Ithaca, New York, and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Prescott College in central Arizona. He proceeded to squander his education for more than twenty-five years as a commercial boatman in Grand Canyon and the rivers of Utah, Alaska, Mexico, Guatemala, Chile, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. He is now a writer, river guide, and aspiring hermit living in Flagstaff, Arizona. He has written for numerous magazines and has stories in several anthologies. He was one of three authors that collaborated on The Doing of the Thing; the Brief, Brilliant Whitewater Career of Buzz Holmstrom, which won the National Outdoor Book Award in 1998. His first solo work, Sunk Without a Sound: the Tragic Colorado River Honeymoon of Glen and Bessie Hyde, 2001, also won the National Outdoor Book Award, as well as the Arizona Highways Nonfiction Book Award.

Review:

Dimock has done a truly wonderful job of conveying that toughness in relationship to Loper s life and the land that he called home. Its 456 pages that never once bog down; fast-paced whitewater reading all the way through. The way Dimock formatted the telling of the story was brilliant in that between Loper s life and legend, history, exploits, and deeds and how others perceived him, there is never a dull moment. Very impressive. Brad Dimock has done a beautiful job of making this legend accessible and human and immediate that I feel as if I knew Loper myself and mourn his passing while at the same time marveling in the fact that he was who he was and did what he did. --Joe Foster, Durango Herald

The river was found, rowed and loved by working people, the kind of folks who get scant notice in the books and bluster of the official expedition chroniclers. At last Brad Dimock has brought their hard world to the page. Meet Bert Loper, the man who knew the river and never left it. --Charles Bowden

Tough as boot leather, stubborn and indomitable, Bert Loper was a drifting, uneducated, hard-rock miner, laborer and boatman who came to know and love the rivers of the Southwest like no-one else before or since. This splendid biography, which also tells the definitive history of river-running in the Southwest, takes us down into the canyons and whitewater and shows how they brought grace and meaning to the very hard life of a very hard man. --Richard Grant (American Nomads)

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