Downcanyon: A Naturalist Explores the Colorado River

Downcanyon: A Naturalist Explores the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon Every writer comes to the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon with a unique point of view Ann Zwinger s is that of a naturalist, an observer at the river s brim Teamed with scientists and other volunteer naturalists, Zwinger was part of an ongoing study of change along the Colorado In all seasons and all weathers, in almost every kind of craft that goes down the waves, she returned to the Grand Canyon again and again to explore, look, and listen From the thrill of running the rapids to the wonder in a grain of sand, her words take the reader downmiles of the ever flowing, energetic, whooping and hollering, galloping river Zwinger s book begins with a bald eagle count at Nankoweap Creek in January and ends with a subzero, snowy walk out of the canyon at winter solstice Between are the delights of spring in side canyons, the benediction of rain on a summer beach, and the chill that comes off limestone walls in November Her eye for detail catches the enchantment of small things played against the immensity of the river the gatling gun love song of tree frogs the fragile beauty of an evening primrose ravens always in close attendance, like lugubrious, sharp eyed, nineteenth century undertakers and a golden eagle chasing a trout with wings akimbo like a cleaning lady after a cockroach As she travels downstream, Zwinger follows others in history who have risked and occasionally lost their lives on the Colorado Hiking in narrow canyons, she finds cliff dwellings and broken pottery of prehistoric Indians Rounding a bend or running a rapid, she remembers the triumphs and tragedies of early explorers and pioneers She describes the changes that have come with putting a big dam on a big river and how the dam has affected the riverine flora and fauna as well as the rapids and their future Science in the hands of a poet, this captivating book is for armchair travelers who may never see the grandiose Colorado and for those who have run it wisely and well Like the author, readers will find themselves bewitched by the color and flow of the river, and enticed by what s around the next bend With her, they will find its rhythms still in the mind, long after the splash and spray and pound are gone



10 thoughts on “Downcanyon: A Naturalist Explores the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon

  1. Clint Clint says:

    The first Ann Zwinger book I ve read I ve enjoyed most the way way her focus adjusts from the Micro to the Macro Details about the various insects encountered, give way to early history of the canyon


  2. PCD PCD says:

    I was searching for books at my local library to prep me for an upcoming trip to the GC I m so glad I stumbled on Downcanyon This book is many things Zwinger does a wonderful job describing the abundant na


  3. Barbara Q Barbara Q says:

    Finally finished this book It wasn t what I thought it would be, but I respect the author s knowledge of natural history and geology There are interesting vignettes of insect behavior and anatomy but too many f


  4. Cheryl Cheryl says:

    I just returned from a trip to southern Utah and pilgrimaged to the North Rim of Grand Canyon I had forgotten, all the time spent in red rock country, how incredibly vaster the Canyon is, and howcolorful Mauve, rasp


  5. Patricia Patricia says:

    This landscape is animate it moves, transposes, build, proceeds, shifts, always going on, never coming back, and one can retain it only in vignettes, impressions caught in a flash , flipped through in succession, leaving


  6. Jan Jan says:

    Much of the book I enjoyed Sometimes a bit over wordy perhaps trying to use a word never used before I loved the insect descriptions, plant a d geology descriptions, too I read it while in the canyon, which brought so much to


  7. Lee Lee says:

    Generally enjoyable but question naturalist status of author who reports there are only two raptors on the canyon bald eagles and ravens really Many raptors there and ravens aren t raptors though they are ever present


  8. Christian Christian says:

    spittlebug nymphs safely siphon sap 106 if not clunky, then at least overdonediscordant metaphors simileslyrical description of the flora, fauna, geology, and human history of the Colorado and its canyons.


  9. Sarah Sarah says:

    I m enjoying this book because I prefer to daydream about being in the canyon than deal with the reality of living even temporarily in Maryland


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