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In the Heart of the Canyonby Elisabeth Hyde
Synopses & Reviews
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
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, a
A rafting trip through the Grand Canyon changes the lives of everyone on board, including JT Maroney, a jaded guide; unemployed Peter, who is avoiding his family; septuagenarian veteran rafters Ruth and Lloyd, who know they will never make this trip again; and teenager Amy Van Doren and her mother, who will face the most daunting journey of all.
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-morningrise 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 besecond-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 dowith reconfiguring the rocky canyons of the heart.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
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 with the U.S. Department of Justice. She currently lives in Colorado with her husband and three children.
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