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The Man Who Walked Through Time: The Story of the First Trip Afoot Through the Grand Canyon
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The Man Who Walked Through Time: The Story of the First Trip Afoot Through the Grand Canyon

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  2,032 ratings  ·  157 reviews
The Man Who Walked Through Time is a remarkable classic of nature writing, an account of a journey both physical and spiritual. A detour from U.S. 66 to visit the Grand Canyon on a June morning in 1963 inspired Fletcher to walk the length of the Canyon below the rim. It is also a record of the Grand Canyon as it was before the massive influx of tourism. Fletcher's ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published May 14th 1989 by Vintage (first published 1967)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  2,032 ratings  ·  157 reviews

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Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
A really interesting travelogue, varying from the technical to the contemplative. The author walks upstream through the Grand Canyon some 50 years ago, in some places where it is likely no one walked before. His meditations on animals and geology are fascinating, and while he didn't encounter any great mishaps, Colin Fletcher presents himself as very human. Perhaps the most amazing thing to me is that this book was constructed after his adventure from notes in a journal.

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Dec 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
Fletcher, supposedly the first man to walk the length of the Grand Canyon, below the Rim (seems unlikely), wrote a book about it. I must say I’m sorely disappointed in the result. It’s horribly repetitive and boring, to begin with. But my main objection is that Fletcher was determined before he left to have some sort of “break” with his old self, to become a new man, to have new heights of understanding. So every time he had some new impression of the Canyon, he would go on and on about how “now ...more
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I wish everyone who has ever visited the Grand Canyon would read this book. The casual visitor, who only sees the canyon from its rim, will learn about the grottos, the heat, the side canyons, the sweet scent of water, and the nearly 2 billion year old mountain roots that form the unseen base of the canyon, and all the millions of years of ocean silt and dust and dune sand that make up its upper reaches. The reader will learn about night in the canyon, and the path of the canyon, and the tests ...more
Mar 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
I like it very much. Hypnotic. Almost felt like I was meditating while I read it - his writing VERY much made you feel like you were there. Makes me realize how much I missed when we went to the Grand Canyon and meerly peered in! Also, I found this inspiring, and showed the power of something as simple as walking, because this man's walking trips have showed him such amazing things (going slow enough to really notice things, getting more up close and personal than whizzing by in a car or plane.)
Dec 20, 2010 rated it liked it
Am pleased to revisit one of the authors who filled in many gaps in my understanding about backpacking. Back in the late 1960's I bought gear from Trailwise from Berkley, CA, and outfitted myself with the same gear Fletcher used: Svea stove, pack, sleeping bag, dry milk plastic squeeze bottle. His The Complete Walker was my bible. The best part of this book is the end, beginning with the day that Fletcher spent several hundred feet up a cliffsjde in a old set of caves where a family once lived. ...more
Chris Gager
Feb 02, 2015 rated it liked it
I love hiking and I love Arizona. Never got to the Grand Canyon - yet. The style so far seems a but overwrought but maybe it'll calm down once the guy gets onto the trail.

Our man's on the trail now and dealing with the hard realities of the canyon. He's not in any tourist areas right now... That'll come later. It helps to look at a map of the area and get a grip of how much of the gorge is really isolated because of its ruggedness - impressive!

Well... we're finally getting going into the chasm.
Marty Weaver
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book partly because I just spent a week at the Grand Canyon. Even though this was written in 1969, it was fun to hear his perspective of walking the Grand Canyon before there were many or any trails. He was very introspective about his trip which was refreshing- no electronics, people or modern conveniences- just nature. I am most disturbed about the possibility of our politicians allowing mining, rerouting the Colorado River or building within the beautiful Canyon. We need ...more
Sep 30, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was bitterly disappointed by this book. Two things became immediately apparent in the first chapters; 1) the author sees himself as superior to others and 2) he really likes the sound of his own thoughts. This is more a book about Colin Fletcher than a book about the Grand Canyon.

I tried to keep an open mind and thus ignore the ego-nihilism and his unfortunate attempts to be a great thinker. Now at the end of the book, I can say reading it was a complete waste of time. I wanted to learn about
Jan 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel, non-fiction
I've got to say, that after having enjoyed Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods", this book was rather dull. Colin Fletcher hikes from one end of Grand Canyon National Park to the other...and has a perfectly safe, enjoyable time. Nothing dramatic happens to him. He doesn't run out of food or water, he doesn't twist an ankle or get sick or snakebitten. No boulders pin him into an emergency situation requiring a harrowing escape. While I certainly am glad he had a good, safe trip, it does however ...more
Eric Proctor
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Eh...This book didn't do much for me. I think I expected more about the Grand Canyon in a book about walking through the Grand Canyon. I felt it had very little of that, and a lot about the author's personal meditations and attempts to get into the mind of a slug. His journey is a long one, about 2 months. He moves incredibly slow through the Canyon, sometimes resting in the same spot for 3 or 4 days. Yet, the book moves through entire stretches of the Canyon in single sentence. Fletcher is a ...more
Nov 14, 2011 rated it liked it
I spent the weekend with Mr. Fletcher on his journy throuth the Grand Canyon in 1963. His journy took considerably longer. He was in the canyon almost 2 months and most of it in solitude.

Colin was the 1st man to walk the length of Grand Canyon National Park beneth the Rim. He was an experienced hiker, having completed wakling the length of California from Mexico to Oregon in late 1950s.

I learned a lot about the geology of the Grand Canyon. I learned about the wild ponies, burros, snakes, etc.

Mark Walsworth
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great read about a fascinating walk. As soon as I started reading, I couldn’t help but think this is a walk I would very much like to experience.
Jen Doucette
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
There were moments of this that I adored-- many stemming from just hiking the Canyon again so recently. Actually started this book in the base of the Canyon at Phantom Ranch. Yeah, I'm a cliche:)
Mar 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

“By now I had accepted the terrible sweep of geologic time and I had felt, superimposed on the deliberate rhythm of the rocks, the pulse of life and the throb of man. I had glimpsed the way these different arcs of time fitted together, one with the other, interlocking. Above all, I had overcome the fear that lurks somewhere deep in most of us, the fear that comes when somebody first says: “Man is a newcomer on earth,” the fear that threatens to overwhelm us when we first look back and down into
Nov 05, 2018 rated it liked it
A snapshot in time of the Grand Canyon as it was... As it was just after the Hoover Dam, but before the extraordinarily heavy use we see now. Before there were daily rafting trips all the way through, before there were quite so many restrictions...

Fletcher's philosophical ramblings and details of his hike are entertaining, but this is definitely not an adventure book. Sure, some of his days had some kind of sketchy ascents and descents, but this is more of a naturalists view of the terrain than
Asails F
Feb 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
A great look at some on who spent a life walking while considering philosophy, history, and methodologies.

One of my favorite saying from Colin is: Hell is where the police are Italian, the politicians are French and the cooks are English......
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature-hiking
"Whether our sons and daughters and their sons and daighters will be able to make the kind of journey I was able to make -- or, almost as important, whether they will have , always, the rich possibility of making such a journey -- depends on us. We do not have to build a Parthenon. Nor to create any work of art. We face a greater and perhaps almost as difficult task: to shield from the blind fury of material "progress" a work of time that is unique on the surface of our earth. And we shall be ...more
I wanted to like this book. The subject -- walking/hiking through the Grand Canyon -- is interesting. However, the writing style is dull and un-engaging. Somehow, the writer has taken something interesting and made it boring.

Here's a sample of his writing (on page 68):
It was this spring, close under Great Thumb Mesa, that I had chosen as the site for my first airdrop; but we had also arranged an alternate site at a deep rainpocket that Harvey Butchart had recently discovered near the head of
Xavier Shay
Took me ages to get through, never felt like reading it. But did do a pretty good job of capturing solo hiking. Only worth the read if you've some of that. Good last chapter wrapping it all up.

"In late afternoon I passed a Park boundary sign, and a little later it occurred to me quite casually that I had just accomplished what I set out to do: I had traveled on foot from one end of Grand Canyon National Park to the other. It did not seem to mean very much. The journey had succeeded for quite
Julian Walker
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
When I saw this travel book had no pictures, I thought it was unusual. Having read it I completely understand why not. This is a cracking philosophical muse, a rambling mind focused by the serenity and majesty of nature.

He encounters, beaver, small horses, and snakes, walks unfettered by clothing, and sees the rock strata as the layers of time, as he explores the Grand Canyon and ponders on life and nature.

A fabulously engaging approach which had me hooked from the first page and wanting to read
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, 5-star-books
Fletcher spent a year planning the first-ever hike through the Grand Canyon, then took the walk. While his descriptions of the preparations and supplies are interesting, Fletcher's immersive depictions of the impact of the canyon itself, and of the wildlife he encountered, on his personal life - both at the time and thereafter - are simply stunning. I can understand why this book is highly recommended reading for those of us planning a trip through the canyon (by water, not foot!) - it certainly ...more
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Perspective from an older time

This is a very interesting tale of a walk through the Grand Canyon in 1963. The perspective is dated in many ways, but much of it is timeless. The hiking challenges were very interesting to me as well as his disruption of the surroundings. He lost me a little in the spiritual talk of being one with the beaver etc., but that was still interesting keeping in mind the perspective.
Mia Hunefeld
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting true story of the first man to walk from one end of the Grand Canyon to the other, following the Colorado River. His insights of observation of the topography, it’s possible history, and especially his realization and internalization of how he fits into the story of the canyon and its development as such is compelling.
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Should not have read this as restless as ive felt lately.

I want to go to the Grand Canyon and see the Phantom Ranch and hike Bass trail. Great book and it made me even more restless to explore places I haven't been. I wish I had the ability and skills to disappear in remote Backcountry away from humanity for a few months like the author.
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club, nonfiction
I didn't really enjoy the reading experience for this book. It is rather bland as memoirs go, and really bland as travel books go. But I loved having this book as a point of discussion throughout my book club's trip to the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff, and I certainly appreciated Fletcher's experience more after viewing the canyon for the first time.
Kate M
Oct 21, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is written by the first man (supposedly) hiking through the entire length of the Grand Canyon. Some parts of the book are dull and repetitive, but other parts are more interesting, such as his interactions with other animals that seemed to be as curious about him as he was of them. All in all, if you enjoy nature writing it is probably worth a read.
Ray Clendenen
I almost gave the book 5 stars. It was interesting and often delightful. But at times it was tedious and a bit more meditative than I like. But my main reason for giving it only 3 stars was that I couldn't resonate with his thoughts about the evolutionary history of the world and his feeling that he was able to get "inside" it, including rattlesnakes. Maybe so, but not for me.
Karin Mead
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
fabulous adventure

If you love the outdoors you will love the adventure we wish we could all go on if we were brave enough. C. Fletchers descriptions of what the Grand Canyon revealed to him on his 2 month journey are vivid enough to make you feel you are there with him.
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: natural-history
Fantastic read by a great walker author about traveling a place that I treasure - below the rim of the Grand Canyon. The first known walker to complete it - in 1964, I believe.

- on my radar for a long time due to the subject
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Colin Fletcher made me relive my experiences from the Grand Canyon and taught me about what lies within the inner rim! Best parts were of the scenery and nature.
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Colin Fletcher was a pioneering backpacker and writer.

In 1963, Fletcher became the first to walk the length of Grand Canyon entirely within the rim of the canyon "in one go" — only second to complete the entire journey — as chronicled in his bestselling 1967 memoir The Man Who Walked Through Time. Through his influential hiker's guide, The Complete Walker, published the same year, he became a kind
“Soon after I left the Canton I read, in an otherwise unsuccint paper on ecology: "Organisms themselves are relatively transient entities through which materials and energy flow and eventually return to the environment."
In my more skittish moments I am currently inclined to think that I would rather like this sentence as my epitaph.”
“There is a powerful human compulsion to leave things tied up in neat little bundles. But every journey except your last has an open end. And any journey of value is above all a chapter in a personal odyssey. Its end is not so much a goal attained as another point in a continuing process. And the important thing at the end of a journey--or of a book--is to keep moving forward, refreshed, with as little pause as possible.” 2 likes
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