A Walk in the Park: The True Story of a Spectacular Misadventure in the Grand Canyon (Hardcover)

A Walk in the Park: The True Story of a Spectacular Misadventure in the Grand Canyon By Kevin Fedarko Cover Image
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Description


Two friends, zero preparation, one dream. From the author of the beloved bestseller The Emerald Mile, a rollicking and poignant account of an epic 750-mile odyssey, on foot, through the heart of America’s most magnificent national park and the grandest wilderness on earth.

A few years after quitting his job to follow an ill-advised dream of becoming a guide on the Colorado River, Kevin Fedarko was approached by his best friend, the National Geographic photographer Pete McBride, with a vision as bold as it was harebrained. Together, they would embark on an end-to-end traverse of the Grand Canyon, a journey that, McBride promised, would be “a walk in the park.” Against his better judgment, Fedarko agreed to the scheme, unaware that the small cluster of experts who had completed the crossing billed it as “the toughest hike in the world.”

The ensuing ordeal, which lasted more than a year, revealed a place that was deeper, richer, and far more complex than anything the two men had imagined—and came within a hair’s breadth of killing them both. They struggled to make their way through the all but impenetrable reaches of its truest wilderness, a vertical labyrinth of thousand-foot cliffs and crumbling ledges where water is measured out by the teaspoon and every step is fraught with peril—and where, even today, there is still no trail along the length of the country’s best-known and most iconic park.

Along the way, veteran long-distance hikers ushered them into secret pockets, invisible to the millions of tourists gathered on the rim, where only a handful of humans have ever laid eyes. Members of the canyon’s eleven Native American tribes brought them face-to-face with layers of history that forced them to reconsider myths at the center of our national parks—and exposed them to the impinging threats of commercial tourism. Even Fedarko’s dying father, who had first pointed him toward the canyon more than forty years earlier but had never set foot there himself, opened him to a new way of seeing the landscape.

And always, there was the great gorge itself: austere and unforgiving but suffused with magic, drenched in wonder, and redeemed by its own transcendent beauty.

A Walk in the Park is a singular portrait of a sublime place, and a deeply moving plea for the preservation of America’s greatest natural treasure.

About the Author


Kevin Fedarko has spent the past twenty years writing about conservation, exploration, and the Grand Canyon. He has been a staff writer at Time magazine, where he worked primarily on the foreign affairs desk, and a senior editor at Outside, where he covered outdoor adventure. His writing has appeared in National Geographic, the New York Times, and Esquire, among other publications. His first book, The Emerald MileThe Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon, which won a National Outdoor Book Award and the Reading the West Book Award, was a New York Times bestseller. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Praise For…


"A Walk in the Park is a triumph. Fedarko doesn’t describe awe; he induces it, with page-turning action, startling insights, and the kind of verbal grace that makes multipage descriptions of, say, a flock of pelicans feel riveting and new. . . . Readers will be tempted to visit the canyon just to keep the book’s spell alive longer—and to feel Fedarko’s company in their awe." —Blair Braverman, The New York Times Book Review

"An exciting adventure, a compelling drama and a moving romance that illustrates how the people we love and the places we admire find equal space in our hearts. It reminds us of how wondrous our natural world is and how we must do our best to help it continue to thrive for generations to come." —BookReporter

"Passionate . . . memorable . . . life-affirming." —Wall Street Journal

"Complex, rich, and fascinating . . . What really draws the reader in is Fedarko’s writing style—familiar and approachable while at the same time compelling and mesmerizing. Perhaps there is no other writer as capable of capturing in words the beauty of this magnificent chasm than he." —Durango Telegraph

"Wonderful and important . . . Fedarko skillfully weaves multiple stories into his narrative, breaking up their adventure story by revealing its context. He condenses a mountain of experience and research into a compelling portrait of the Grand Canyon. . . . A Walk in the Park is a marvelous adventure story well told, but also a serious treatment of many issues facing Grand Canyon and other national parks . . . a most enjoyable read." —National Parks Traveler

“The book is its own wonder, one of nature and adventure and humanism that earns its place on the same rarefied shelf that is home to Edward Abbey and John McPhee.” —Air Mail

"An immersive account of the challenges of a grueling 750-mile hike through the Grand Canyon. . . . Fedarko expansively describes the journey . . . with a combination of dry humor and horror, and he pays tribute to the spare beauty, grandeur, and silence of a place that few have seen, resulting in a memorable reading experience." —Kirkus (starred review)

“Readers will appreciate the buddy-comedy element throughout as Fedarko shares his and McBride’s steps, missteps, and arguments along the way, all supplemented nicely by McBride’s photographs. A Walk in the Park, though, particularly inspires when Fedarko shifts away from the tourist aspect of the canyon, detailing the ancestral history of the land and some of the Indigenous voices who continue to fight against overdevelopment today amid everbooming visitor numbers.” —Booklist 

"Part memoir, part travelogue, part extended essay on the profound meanings of wilderness, A Walk in the Park is a paean to one of earth’s most spectacular places, and a testament to the irresistible pull this mighty landscape exerts over human beings. Fans of Bill Bryson, Cheryl Strayed, and Edward Abbey will love this rich, funny, and spirited work from the Grand Canyon’s most eloquent bard. Fedarko's bushwhacking, boulder-hopping, scree-slipping odyssey makes for delightful reading, and underscores the essential truth that mystics and penitents down through the ages have always known: Put one foot in front of the other, and magical things will follow.”  —Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of Blood and Thunder and The Wide Wide Sea

 “I love this book. It’s an insane premise, an implausible journey through an incomprehensible landscape, undertaken by people who are life-threateningly stubborn to a degree that is, itself, insane. What they accomplished is, by contrast, startlingly real.” —S. C. Gwynne, New York Times bestselling author of Empire of the Summer Moon

“While fighting for survival on a blistering journey through one of the world’s most formidable and spectacular landscapes, not only does Fedarko carry us deep into the Grand Canyon, he pulls us back in time to dwell with the region’s native peoples whose legacy and ancestors he refuses to ignore, wrestling with the right and just stewardship of the place. You will laugh, cry, and shake your head in marvel as he and his best buddy, adventure photographer and filmmaker Pete McBride, struggle mightily, and you will be moved by this deeply personal journey and triumph of will.” —Dean King, nationally bestselling author of Skeletons on the Zahara and Guardians of the Valley: John Muir and the Friendship That Saved Yosemite

"Fedarko’s prose is often funny, but he also pays appropriate respect to both the land and the native people that have called it home for thousands of years." —Columbia Magazine


Product Details
ISBN: 9781501183058
ISBN-10: 1501183052
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: May 28th, 2024
Pages: 512
Language: English