9780307276421

In the Heart of the Canyon

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780307276421

  • ISBN10:

    0307276422

  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2010-07-13
  • Publisher: Vintage
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Summary

Over the course of thirteen long days, twelve assorted passengers, three rafting guides and one stray dog will navigate the rapids of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon together. From their early-morning rise on the shore of the river to the adrenaline rush of paddling through Lava Falls, they will soon come to know each other more intimately than they could have expected. Tempers will flare and decisions will be second-guessed . . . and ultimately all of them, from an unhappy teenager to an aging river guide, will realize that sometimes the most daunting adventures have nothing to do with white-water rapids, and everything to do with reconfiguring the rocky canyons of the heart.

Author Biography

Elisabeth Hyde is the author of four previous novels. Born and raised in New Hampshire, she has since lived in Vermont, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Seattle. In 1979 she received her law degree and practiced briefly with the U.S. Department of Justice. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpts

T H E G U E S T S
Peter Kramer, age twenty-seven, a cartographer from Cincinnati

Evelyn Burns, age fifty, a biology professor at Harvard University

The Frankels, from Evanston, Illinois
Ruth, age seventy-three, a painter
Lloyd, age seventy-six, a physician

The Van Dorens, from Mequon, Wisconsin
Susan, age forty-three, a guidance counselor
Amy, age seventeen

The Boyer-Brandts, from Green River, Wyoming
Mitchell, age fifty-nine, a devoted historian
Lena, age sixty, a kindergarten teacher

The Compsons, from Salt Lake City
Jill, age thirty-eight, a stay-at-home mom
Mark, age forty, a businessman
Matthew, age thirteen
Sam, age twelve


T H E G U I D E S

JT Maroney, Trip Leader, age fifty-two

Abo, the paddle captain, age thirty-five

Dixie Ann Gillis, age twenty-seven



PROLOGUE

Down in the heart of the canyon, in the bone-baking heat, they put their lives on hold.
Most of the travelers had never experienced anything quite like it. Peter Kramer, whose year mapping the jungles of Central America included a monthlong stay in an unair-conditioned hospital with a fever of 104, found it impossible to suck down more than short little
gasps of hot air. Evelyn Burns, professor of biology at Harvard University, spent the first day lecturing everyone about the tolerability of dry heat (105 in Arizona being nothing compared to 90 in Boston), then vomited five minutes into the first windstorm. Dr. and Mrs. Lloyd Frankel, river veterans, lay on their sleeping mats in stunned oblivion to the velvety orange wasps that scurried in blind circles on the hot
sand between them. And Amy Van Doren, who unbeknownst to her mother had weighed in at 237 pounds on the hotel spa scale the night
before the trip, rigorously shook the bottle of hot sauce over everything on her plate, for she knew that chile peppers made you sweat,
which in turn would not only cool her off but enable her to lose a few pounds.

JT, the head guide, had seen it all before. This being his 125th trip down the Colorado River, he’d witnessed time and again the universal
zombielike walk of his guests at the end of the day when they staggered up the beach in search of a campsite. He called it the Death
Walk and always reminded his fellow guides not to expect much volunteer help in the first few days of any July trip, as guests acclimated to the suffocating conditions of the Grand Canyon. It was simply a matter of physiology: the human body wasn’t designed to go from a comfortable air-conditioned existence to the prehistoric inferno of canyon life in a day. When his heat-stomped campers marveled at his energy, he kept at what he was doing and raised an eyebrow and said, “You’ll adjust.”

JT was a man of few words.

At night it was so hot you slept without a blanket, or even a sheet, for well past midnight the winds continued to fan the heat off the sun-baked canyon walls. In early morning, as people shook out their clothes for scorpions, the air could feel temperate, and they might be
fine in just a bathing suit; but as soon as the sun’s rays came barreling over the canyon walls, out came the long-sleeved cotton shirts, which got repeatedly dunked in the river, wrung out, and worn, soaked to chill, until sundown.

During the midday furnace, when even the guides crawled into whatever shade they could find and collectively dreamt of that first brisk morning in October when you could see your breath, JT himself would confront the heat head-on. Alone in his raft, he would kneel against the side tubes with his arms draped over the edge, staring in a kind of rapt hypnosis at the sheer walls across the river. Something in
the flat midday light, he’d found, caused them to eventually sta

Excerpted from In the Heart of the Canyon by Elisabeth Hyde
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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