Synopses & Reviews
"It's well known that Mother River doesn't like a smart aleck," says Patricia McCairen. Accordingly, she plies her oars with reverence and skill on a sometimes hair-raising solo rafting trip along the Colorado River that winds though the stupendous stone valleys of the American Grand Canyon. Like the waters of the Colorado, which change from long, still stretches to boiling white water that barely clothes sharp rocks and hides holes that can suck down a raft, McCairen's moods--and even her name--change as the miles unwind. One moment, she's the cocky, athletic river guide Babe; the next, she's an earthier, more spiritual woman who answers to the name of Patch. Hours later, she seems more vulnerable, less convinced of her strength and joy in the solitude she so zealously courts. Canyon Solitude records these shifts and beautifully limns a journey that tests McCairen's mettle and shows that determination, grit, and the will to spurn conventional rewards offer their own deep satisfactions.
"McCairen's experience reflects a complex array of emotions, but it is her fear, joy and ultimate elation that come through most vividly." Publishers Weekly
"As an exercise in self-exploration, it isn't much; but, as a trip down a challenging river, it's quite good." Kirkus Reviews
From navigating the noisy streets of New York City to steering through the roaring rapids of the Colorado River, Patricia McCairen guides herself through a midlife crisis to the calm waters of contentment. She recounts the journey of personal discovery where the river and life merge, where whitewater becomes a metaphor for life's challenges.