Matt's Reviews > Any Time, Any Place, Any River: The Nevills of Mexican Hat

Any Time, Any Place, Any River by Nancy   Nelson
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's review
Aug 26, 11

bookshelves: utah, west, wishlist, rare, natural, history, nonfiction, biographies
Recommended for: those who love southern Utah, whitewater, and history
Read from August 11 to 21, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: 1

A fantastic little piece of Colorado River (and San Juan River) literature. Nancy Nelson has ton an amazing amount of in-depth research, tracking down and personally interviewing the people who worked with Norman Nevills, reading their personal diaries and accounts from the time (many of them in journalistic form but never published), and perusing publication archives and old photographs.

It reads a little dry sometimes, but it's a great collection of river-running stories, and the Nevills history woven within, telling of the inception of Nevills Expeditions, the true beginning of whitewater river running throughout the southwest.

I found that the related tales of boating down the old Glen Canyon--the Glen Canyon that no one in the 1950s and 1960s knew well enough to try and save--are heartbreaking. Herbert E. Gregory Natural Bridge, Redbud Canyon, Mystery Canyon, Forbidden Canyon, and many many other beautiful splendors are now hidden under Lake Powell's waters (though recent lower levels at the reservoir have reexposed some of these, including Gregory Bridge). Nelson's book has helped revitalize my conservationist spirit. I haven't seen a much more well-laid out set of stories that touch on these lost beauties (including Edward Abbey).

I am now inspired to yell "Yogi!" as I being rafting or kayaking (or hiking or jumping into a water hole, for that matter). Yogi is the Navajo story for the origin of the Colorado River. I also want to always refer to the San Juan as "the river gone mad" (translation of the Navajo's name for it). And I would still love to see Rainbow Bridge (mainly by hiking to it), and the now-secret Elves Chasm caves.

If you can find this book, don't pass it up! A sweet little rarity to treasure (as I do). You will long for whitewater even harder--and especially for handmade box boats and the glory days when the rivers were truly yours and yours alone.

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Reading Progress

08/15/2011 page 28
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