The Southwest's Contrary Land: Forever Changing Between Four Corners and the Sea of Cortes

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9781893860193: The Southwest's Contrary Land: Forever Changing Between Four Corners and the Sea of Cortes

Here are stories and color photographs that will excite your spirit and lead you on scenic adventures through a land deemed contrary because it brims with contradictions in the landscapes that it puts side by side. This land changes its look as readily as a jet-setter switches wardrobes. Cool, fern-draped valleys sidle up to snow-capped mountains cloaked in conifers. A few miles distant, desertscapes coated with cactus bask under a lamp of sun.

Some compare the Southwest's environmental transitions to what you'd experience traveling from Mexico to Canada. For this book, author Craig Childs trekked over hundreds of miles, observing the transitions close to his Southwest home and discovering something about life. In crystalline prose he relates the landscape to a passage in his life. Scattering his father's ashes in remote Canyon Creek, he reflects:

"I did not think of my father and his ashes as a traveler, ceaselessly flowing from one confluence to the next. Instead, I thought of him as a process. A story being told. I thought of him as a pool of unknown trout and the busted trunk of an alder half sticking up through the water. I thought of him as a raw, deep canyon heaped with boulders and mazes of creek passages -- the canyon he had once promised me. I thought of him as the beginning and the end at once."

Childs' journey of discovery covers Alpine to the Little Blue River; up Mount Graham, a perfectly contained sky island; around Sedona; through Canyon Country; along the lower Colorado River; and through the Sonoran Desert to the Sea of Cortes, with magnificent full-color photography by internationally recognized Arizona Highways photographers illustrating the range of his travels.

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From the Publisher:

For the second time, the Publishers Marketing Association has selected one of Craig Childs' books as Best Nature Book in its prestigious Benjamin Franklin awards competition. In 1999 it was Grand Canyon: Time Below the Rim, and now The Southwest's Contrary Land: Forever Changing Between Four Corners and the Sea of Cortes has garnered the award for 2001.

From the Inside Flap:

Here are stories and color photographs that excite your spirit and lead you on scenic adventures in a land of contradictions. The Southwest is deemed contrary because landscapes as foreign to each other as ocean and desert, forests of pine and forests of cactus, rivers and sere lunar expanses, civilization and wildness exist side by side.

You'll follow a remote stream as it flows from its mountain source, through a rugged canyon, and into the Sonoran Desert. As you do you'll read about transitions of land and of life as author Craig Childs spreads his father's ashes into the same stream where the two often had fished:

"Transformation is a primary element. I see it constantly in landscapes. I spend my life walking through transitions, witnessing them in the spread of forests reaching deserts, mesas leading to canyons to playas to basins. Now I saw it in human life."

You'll trek up a sky island. Instead of water, sky islands are surrounded by valleys and basins that few species of plant, animal, or insect can cross.

Here, Childs observes, "changes in animals, plants, and landscape are so abrupt that if you walk 100 feet, you will cross boundaries that elsewhere come every 200 miles."

You'll reach a place near Sedona where Childs searches for a secret held by the land. "I had passed the final footprints of anyone else and was the first to come through the ice. This precious vacancy urged me forward."

Finally, you'll come to a spot that prompts Childs to tell students: "You will never see anything like this again anywhere. Not on this planet."

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Craig Childs
Published by Arizona Highways Books (2001)
ISBN 10: 1893860191 ISBN 13: 9781893860193
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Childs, Craig
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Book Description Arizona Highways Books. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1893860191 Arizona Highways hardcover with dust jacket, 2001, 1st edition, unused and carefully stored, No remainder marks or "shelf wear", as New/as New; New mylar cover, bubble-wrapped and mailed in a BOX with free delivery confirmation. Bookseller Inventory # 66740OV

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