The late Colin Fletcher at the age of 67 decided to make a foot and raft expedition, some 1700 miles, down the full length of the fabled Colorado River–alone. Pursuing an idea that came to him in the shower, Fletcher commenced the six-month river trip from the Wyoming Rockies to Mexico’s Gulf of California, having never even been in a raft before. Fletcher felt strongly that “because the early years are what we remember most vividly about our own lives, I needed to know the source of the river in order to have it firmly fixed in my mind as I journeyed to its end.” He recounts the heart-pounding rapids, the wildlife he met on the way, the beauty of nature and how being alone in the wilds brought up echoes of his own past. At times you can almost feel the spray of the water through Fletcher’s thoughtful, eloquent recollections of a journey few of us even dare to dream about.
A celebrated author and guru of the backpacking world, Fletcher(1922-2007) was author of many books including The Man Who Walked Through Time: The Story of the First Trip Afoot Through the Grand Canyon (Vintage 1989), Secret Worlds of Colin Fletcher (Vintage 1990), with co-author Chip Rawlins, The Complete Walker IV (Knopf, revised 2002), and River: One Man’s Journey Down the Colorado, Source to Sea (Vintage 1998).
Topics Explored in this Dialogue:
- How the river’s course parallels our own lives
- What compels Fletcher to undertake his thousand-mile journeys
- Fletcher’s engaging encounters with wildlife along the way
- How to plan a trip of this magnitude
- What is the scariest part of the trip
- How “coming home” is a “culture shock”
- How Fletcher’s adventures have changed his life
Program Number: 2640 Host: Michael Toms Interview Date: 6/19/1997