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.
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.