The Fastest Ride in History Though the Heart of the Grand Canyon

Sep 3, 2013

In the spring of 1983, the convergence of the largest El Niño event on record, a massive snowmelt and a desperate scramble to avoid a catastrophic dam failure saw three men create a legend.

Credit Simon & Schuster

In the second part of Wednesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with Kevin Fedarko, author of The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Though the Heart of the Grand Canyon. Fedarko tells the story of the three river guides who, in an act of defiance, ran the Colorado River in conditions so severe that park rangers were conducting the largest helicopter evacuation in the history of Grand Canyon National Park. We learn what sent these men into the roiling waters of the Colorado in a wooden dory christened The Emerald Mile.

Hear in KC: Kevin Fedarko speaks about his book on Thursday evening September 5 at 6:30 at the National Archives in Kansas City, 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, Mo. You can RSVP for the talk: 816 268 8010 or write


Credit Simon & Schuster

  • Kevin Fedarko lives in northern New Mexico and works as a part-time river guide in Grand Canyon National Park. In addition to his travel narratives in Outside, where he worked as a senior editor, Fedarko’s work has appeared in Esquire, National Geographic Adventure, and other publications, and has been anthologized in The Best American Travel Writing in 2004 and 2006. Fedarko was a staff writer at Time magazine from 1991 to 1997, where his work helped garner an Overseas Press Club Award for a story on the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Fedarko earned a Masters of Philosophy in Russian history at Oxford in 1990.