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Recently, I posted a series of Glen Canyon-Lake Powell diaries. I was also blown away by the great reception I received from the Daily Kos community for sharing my thoughts (and, at times, seasoned with diatribes). Many of you also related how you felt, as I did, cheated for not having seen the real Glen Canyon that was forced to trade part of its estate with Lake Powell. Well, I thought about that, too, especially after posting the personal view and tour in the last diary, the one entitled “The Lost Atlantis Of Canyons.”

And thanks to a good and helpful friend he rigged up a YouTube video of the homespun movie George Steck filmed during his 1959 rafting excursion through Glen Canyon’s interior, including some of his group's hiking excursions. Although I have since donated this vintage and seldom seen film to Northern Arizona University’s Kline Library (Special Collections, 2007), I have never shared the only voice over presentation that George later recorded for me. True, the movie is rustic and crude in some ways. Its faded tincture is also a genuine throwback to 8mm movies at the time that had more of a sepia coloration than today’s natural “Kodak” tincture. The homespun movie is also not edited, mainly because, as he told me, he simply never got around to doing it. This movie was also watched only two times after the Steck’s returned to the Burqy (Albuquerque) and put the fragile film in a vault. The last showing was in their home, in the early 1990s, which he showed to a small gathering of Glen Canyon aficionados, which included one or two monkey wrenchers. (I was part of that privileged audience, and like George and his darling wife, Helen, was not of such radical environmentalism persuasion. I only admired Abbey’s writing skills and his championing open spaces, while chastising dam builders, ranchers, and all others who didn't adhere to the so-called Abbey Road, which, incidentally, is not that other Abbey Road popularized by The Beatles.)

::

::

So, for those of you who have fallen in love with the erstwhile Glen Canyon what this thirty or so minute depiction captures on film is the proverbial real McCoy. It is also a supplemental weekend diary for those who have time to watch and think about the movie; actually a rare entitlement in view of how and why George (long before his death) gave me permission to make a VHS copy of the film, which later I had made into a DVD format. I might also add watching the movie can be declared as a world premier and a special showing for a very special group of people. . .the Daily Kos community. I hope you enjoy watching it and sharing it with your friends and family.

             

That's George in the picture doing what he loved doing. . .backpacking in the canyon country. Tall and gaunt, if you hiked with George (and I did) you had to maintain quite a stride just to keep up!

By the way, the diary that follows is my rendition of the movie, partially told to me by George (his commentary on the film), as well as added research to fill in some of his memory blanks. After all, it was over forty years since he had seen this movie and George was already up there in years. Thus his memory was a bit slipshod, though nonetheless still sharp.

The bottom line is this: George is the narrator and I am the freelance interpreter given my penchant for prose-like descriptions and using a poetic license for imagery and such. Following the movie, feel free to read the corresponding diary entitled: A Companion Narration For George Steck’s Glen Canyon Film.

As always, I am looking forward to reading and responding to your intelligent and thoughtful commentaries.

Rich
http://www.grandcanyon.org/...

P. S. Here is a vintage photo of a lone rafting party floating the Glen after a freak storm. Where George and the gang will take you on this upcoming trip won't so much as raise a ripple in the water. Instead, it is a flat river and slow going for the next 200 or so miles to the end.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh boy. What a treat! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ExStr8, high uintas, frankzappatista

    Reccd., tipped.

    Watching now and coming back to comment.

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 08:27:06 AM PST

    •  I thought so. . . (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      willyr, high uintas, frankzappatista

      in the sense you especially would revere the movie, willyr. I can't tell you exactly how many times I have watched this movie over many years, but I can say in an odd phrase "heap plenty!" And every time watching the movie I took a seat in the raft and felt at home, indeed, blissful, being there.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 08:58:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That was fun to watch, though sad at what was lost (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        high uintas, frankzappatista

        under Lake Foul.

        Great panels of pictographs.

        I was especially taken by the moment when he notes the junction of the Escalante, because I have camped at that exact same spot. Or, more accurately on the bar where the Escalante now joins the "lake", since the junction is many feet under the surface now, as is the painted "Escalante" sign on the rock wall. (I didn't know that sign was there. I wonder how long ago it had been painted?)

        Great clips of the hikes up the side canyons too.

        And very interesting clothing...especially the straw hats. These days most people would probably be wearing a ball cap---but those weren't popular then.

        Great stuff, Rich. I'm forwarding the YouTube to friends who've done Utah floats with me & hiked in and around Escalante.

        Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

        by willyr on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 09:16:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  About those shoes . . . (0+ / 0-)

    just curious . . .

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 08:43:50 AM PST

    •  Deward. . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deward Hastings, PHScott

      you, so far, are the only astute person to notice the singular foot ware George preferred hiking in. I have heard different stories about this, including what George once told me, and I think it comes down to his left foot was more comfortably matched with a sneaker compared to a boot. I am going to write or call Tom Myers, the rather famous ER doc at the Grand Canyon (for a couple or more decades), also a fellow Grand Canyon Field Institute instructor. He and George were very close friends and they hiked a lot of terrain together. Not me, so much. When I find out from Tom what the real (true) story is I'll let know. Anyway, hope you enjoyed the movie; it's truly a world premier and an historical and valuable record to boot.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 08:56:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have a bunion (0+ / 0-)

        on my right foot, and have considered it.  Mostly resolved with a (modified) boot stretcher (and VFF wherever terrain permits . . . I love 'em).

        Whatever it takes to keep walking . . .

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 09:09:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  a boot stretcher, is it? (0+ / 0-)

          well, whatever works, huh? I am very fortunate that I never had any foot problems, and I may have racked some 8K of backpacking mileage in my time. The only thing I ruined were my knees, the so-called "holy kneecaps" in Yoga terms. I'm afraid my backpacking and trail tramping days are mostly over. I think. Anyway, thanks for reporting this and I think your advice may work for others who read these commentators. I take it you are indeed a lover of hiking and backpacking. I sure am. Or was.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 09:17:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I always wear Teva sandals hiking (0+ / 0-)

          in the Wind River range of Wyoming. They work great for me and I sometimes see the NOLS kids doing the same.

          There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

          by frankzappatista on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:25:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've got a couple pair (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            frankzappatista

            of Dunham sandals that I often wear (with socks) on "developed" trails (and Tevas for in the water).  But in many places they pick up too much debris, and they don't give the stability and protection of either a boot or VFFs.  Still, they were my primary "alternate footwear" until the VFFs came along.  I've been known to go out with sandals on and Treks in the rucksack.

            I've become a serious fan of the Trek (and Trek Sport if it's wet) . . . close to the earth "barefoot" walking has its advantages.  Cold in the winter, though.

            Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

            by Deward Hastings on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:55:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I use the old school Tevas without the (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Deward Hastings

              sidewalls, they work fine for debris. I tried Keens and they didn't work nearly as well, they keep all the sand and stuff in. Tevas do pick up a lot of fine grit though, definitely hell on socks. But I like not having to change at water crossings. The tradeoff is either get your boots wet or pack the extra weight of sandals. But Tevas are a real pain if you spend a lot of time off trail back in timber; much rather have real boots for that.

              There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

              by frankzappatista on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 05:24:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Ps. (0+ / 0-)

      Looks a lot like my old (but still in use!) Trailwise pack frame . . .

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 09:02:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually. . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deward Hastings

        I remember hiking with George when he, like myself, both had North Face "Back Magic" backpacks. I'm sure he, also like me, had other frames, but I don't think he wore, as I did, an internal frame (which, when mountaineering, or for excessive long canyon hikes, works better for me because I can carry more gear). Anyway, I have long since donated all that stuff to Good Will or similar. I know I could have sold it on eBay or some such, but I prefer giving back something, especially when I have made such a great and grand living and income as an educator-guide type. Oh, there's not too much money in this line of work, but I got to meet some of the greatest people in the world, and all of whom had a common bond of loving the outdoors. What's not to love about that?

        Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

        by richholtzin on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 09:20:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wow! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frankzappatista

    Beautiful.

    Something in my eye....maybe sand.

    "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

    by high uintas on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 09:50:25 AM PST

  •  Love that shoe-boot system (0+ / 0-)

    I wonder if the kids called him Shoe-booty a la Archie Bunker :-)

    There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

    by frankzappatista on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:29:51 PM PST

    •  whatever works, huh? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      frankzappatista

      I mean when hiking in the tough country. I like the name you gave it. I'm waiting for Tom Meyers to respond to the matter. He and George covered a lot more ground together compared to me and George. (Tom wrote the book "Death and Dying in the Grand Canyon, was also the ER doc up at the rim for about 20 or so years. I think he's even back doing that stuff these days.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 01:50:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hello from Durango... (0+ / 0-)

    I've been loving all your diaries and like you, I am a HUGE canyon nut.  I think you're an instructor at gcfi and if you are, we have lots of mutual friends!  And if you are not, I bet we still have lots of mutual friends!  Just got through rereading one of Katie Lee's books and your diaries have put an exclamation point on how special Glen Canyon was and what a damnation it is now.  Love the Plateau geology and history, especially when it comes to the gc.  It would be an honor to meet you.  Next time you're through our little town look me up, we'll hit up a microbrewery and some dinner and talk about the Plateau and hiking.  (Off to the gc next weekend for a Canyon fix!)

    •  hey there. . . (0+ / 0-)

      intotheOutdoors, I love that little town of you'rn. Last time there I was visiting a good friend, Brad Frank, and you probably know him since he's a boatmen, a beatnik, a writer, and so on. And, yep, I've been with the field institute staff for over 12 years. We likely know lots of the same people. I also taught at NAU and Yavapai College, doing the usual outdoorsy stuff. So, yes, contact me thru my profile email and we can work out a rendezvous when I'm in your neck of the woods. You doing a hike in the big ditch of northern Arizona, or just going for a look-see over the rim and such? I've been trekking there since 1970 and lots of great memories, friends, and of course the students from the past. Thanks for your comments this time around. Again. And, yes, a very big canyon nut. . .me, like you.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 06:32:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for sharing this. (0+ / 0-)

    I've watched about half of the film, and will certainly watch the rest.

    Whenever I see an artificial lake, I always wonder what was lost beneath the rising waters.

    •  thanks for posting, (0+ / 0-)

      foresterbob, and so now you know what's beneath Lake Powell: Paradise. And to think none of us get to experience its beauty and tranquility. Not until that lake dries up and the dam goes away. Happy to hear you've watched the flick, or will finish.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 12:08:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What a fantastic film!!!! Thank you! (0+ / 0-)

    Amazing. And heart breaking at the same time. How terrific it is to hear George's voice narrate this after having read your previous diaries. I also especially liked that places that I have heard about which are now underwater, e.g., the end of Hole in the Rock Road where the Mormons moved their animals and wagons down the cliffs. A coupe of those petroglyphs were amazing as were the ruins. What a shame to lose those. I suppose it would not happen today as those sites would be declared historic treasures and spiritual meccas - or am I being too optimistic?

    I also noticed George's two different shoes right off the bat. Interesting but entirely understandable!  

    Thanks again for another great diary.  

    •  Thanks and let me also say. . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Don Enrique

      I posted this diary for folks especially like you (and your good wife). It is also people like us who revere the old Glen Canyon and realize how much was lost in that epic deluge Dominy, et al., got away with. Funny thing is: Glen Canyon was on his and the Bureau of Wrecklamation's hit list all along. The brief notice that went out to the public, and appeared as a backstory in newspapers, gave a little warning to archeologists about the coming of hell for the Glen. Hence, am ambitious campaign to photograph as many ruins and glyps, and in the end out of some 3,000 ruins only four are extant today. Four! The sad thing is the Antiquities Act was passed in the 1920s. Anyway, I am happy you enjoyed the sadness of this beauty lost. I trust you received my email via my profile? All the best to you both in that warmer and humid place where you now are. Be well! Be safe. In fact, just be!

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:49:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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