Send us a suggestion!

"The Secret Knowledge of Water" - fantastic canyoneering (sort of) book

Discussion in 'Archives - Yahoo Canyons Group' started by cougarmagic1, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. cougarmagic1

    cougarmagic1 Guest

    May I suggest a fantastic read - the author is Craig Childs. His writing is so *exactly* what I, and I assume most of you, feel when in canyons, but lack the elegance and skill to put into words. It isn't about canyoneering (though he seems to do a fair amount of it), but rather about water in the desert southwest, in all its forms. Every page seems to have an absolute gem of insight. It's been a very long time since I've been so impressed with writing.

    An excerpt or two:

    "The canyon turned into stone carvings, shapes swelling, masking the sky, marking water's passage with involute profiles. The entire canyon floor was adaptive geometry to the motion of water; each of the shapes, the shallow cups and yawning bends, documented the curve of water's energy. Canyons this intricate are not grotesque like most active geology - the scrambled heaps of mountains, tossed boulders, and rock slides. This is the finest of geomorphology, like wing prints against snow. The stray momentary strands of moving water leave no impression in the rock. They are too transient. But the fundamental and intent currents leave signs, that the bare feathers of moving water are recorded here."

    This place is stained with such ironies, a tension set between the need to find water and the need to get away from it. The floods that come with the least warning arrive at the hottest time of the year, when the last thing on a person's mind is too much water. it shimmers and rises and consumes and offers and drops completely away, changing everything. I watch it move and can't help but want to walk straight into it. To never come back."

    Things to think about when you're wondering what truly is important...

    -Johanna (Cougarmagic)
  2. Randi

    Randi Guest

    "There are two ways to die in the desert ~ thirst and drowning" Love, love, LOVE that book!  :) Craig Child's is so poetic and his words are soul stirring...   You might enjoy this one too (it's also a spiritual journey as well as visceral one) Canyon Solitude ~ a woman's solo river journey through the Grand Canyon.

    --- On Wed, 9/7/11, cougarmagic1 immunity_idol@yahoo.com> wrote:

    From: cougarmagic1 immunity_idol@yahoo.com> Subject: [from Canyons Group] "The Secret Knowledge of Water" - fantastic canyoneering (sort of) book To: Yahoo Canyons Group Date: Wednesday, September 7, 2011, 9:20 PM

     



    May I suggest a fantastic read - the author is Craig Childs. His writing is so *exactly* what I, and I assume most of you, feel when in canyons, but lack the elegance and skill to put into words. It isn't about canyoneering (though he seems to do a fair amount of it), but rather about water in the desert southwest, in all its forms. Every page seems to have an absolute gem of insight. It's been a very long time since I've been so impressed with writing.

    An excerpt or two:

    "The canyon turned into stone carvings, shapes swelling, masking the sky, marking water's passage with involute profiles. The entire canyon floor was adaptive geometry to the motion of water; each of the shapes, the shallow cups and yawning bends, documented the curve of water's energy. Canyons this intricate are not grotesque like most active geology - the scrambled heaps of mountains, tossed boulders, and rock slides. This is the finest of geomorphology, like wing prints against snow. The stray momentary strands of moving water leave no impression in the rock. They are too transient. But the fundamental and intent currents leave signs, that the bare feathers of moving water are recorded here."

    This place is stained with such ironies, a tension set between the need to find water and the need to get away from it. The floods that come with the least warning arrive at the hottest time of the year, when the last thing on a person's mind is too much water. it shimmers and rises and consumes and offers and drops completely away, changing everything. I watch it move and can't help but want to walk straight into it. To never come back."

    Things to think about when you're wondering what truly is important...

    -Johanna (Cougarmagic)
  3. j b

    j b Guest

    As the years go by I gradually lose patience with some similar writing--books consisting of self-serious, meditative essays about some ineffable sojourn through nature--but Child's book is an exception.  It is indeed a good read.  And if Randi gets to add to the list, I guess I will too: JW Powell's classic, "Exploration of the Colorado River and its Canyons."  Lots of fun, some geology, and many memorable passages.  Powell was a practical man, but he wrote of western geography with obvious affection. Jeff

    ________________________________ From: Randi advntr_inxs@yahoo.com> To: Yahoo Canyons Group Sent: Thursday, September 8, 2011 9:57 AM Subject: Re: [from Canyons Group] "The Secret Knowledge of Water" - fantastic canyoneering (sort of) book





    "There are two ways to die in the desert ~ thirst and drowning" Love, love, LOVE that book!  :) Craig Child's is so poetic and his words are soul stirring...   You might enjoy this one too (it's also a spiritual journey as well as visceral one) Canyon Solitude ~ a woman's solo river journey through the Grand Canyon.

    --- On Wed, 9/7/11, cougarmagic1 immunity_idol@yahoo.com> wrote:

    From: cougarmagic1 immunity_idol@yahoo.com> Subject: [from Canyons Group] "The Secret Knowledge of Water" - fantastic canyoneering (sort of) book To: Yahoo Canyons Group Date: Wednesday, September 7, 2011, 9:20 PM

     



    May I suggest a fantastic read - the author is Craig Childs. His writing is so *exactly* what I, and I assume most of you, feel when in canyons, but lack the elegance and skill to put into words. It isn't about canyoneering (though he seems to do a fair amount of it), but rather about water in the desert southwest, in all its forms. Every page seems to have an absolute gem of insight. It's been a very long time since I've been so impressed with writing.

    An excerpt or two:

    "The canyon turned into stone carvings, shapes swelling, masking the sky, marking water's passage with involute profiles. The entire canyon floor was adaptive geometry to the motion of water; each of the shapes, the shallow cups and yawning bends, documented the curve of water's energy. Canyons this intricate are not grotesque like most active geology - the scrambled heaps of mountains, tossed boulders, and rock slides. This is the finest of geomorphology, like wing prints against snow. The stray momentary strands of moving water leave no impression in the rock. They are too transient. But the fundamental and intent currents leave signs, that the bare feathers of moving water are recorded here."

    This place is stained with such ironies, a tension set between the need to find water and the need to get away from it. The floods that come with the least warning arrive at the hottest time of the year, when the last thing on a person's mind is too much water. it shimmers and rises and consumes and offers and drops completely away, changing everything. I watch it move and can't help but want to walk straight into it. To never come back."

    Things to think about when you're wondering what truly is important...

    -Johanna (Cougarmagic)











    ---

    When you post, please change the Subject appropriately, to make reading and searching easier.  You can use the following abbreviations: TRIP = Trip Report; BETA = Canyon Beta; PARTNER = Partner and/or Rides; ETHICS = Ethics; TECH = Technical Questions and Tips; BIZ = E Group Business; SALE = Stuff for Sale.  Please use a Tilde ~ after the abbreviation, so we know you are coding for us, such as:

    Subject: BIZ~ New Abbreviation List - working?

    To change your delivery options, go to the Canyons Egroup page on yahoo: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/canyons/

    This will require logging into Yahoo. Click on the "Edit My Membership" link, and change your delivery option. Press "Save Changes".



    WEB ONLY OPTION will not deliver email; you must visit the web site to view messages. Groups Links
  4. Childs has about 6 titles as of last year, all wonderful!! Pete

    Sent by a mechanism similar to a little cat's feet

    On Sep 8, 2011, at 12:46 PM, j b pofr2004@yahoo.com> wrote:

    > As the years go by I gradually lose patience with some similar writing--books consisting of self-serious, meditative essays about some ineffable sojourn through nature--but Child's book is an exception. It is indeed a good read. And if Randi gets to add to the list, I guess I will too: JW Powell's classic, "Exploration of the Colorado River and its Canyons." Lots of fun, some geology, and many memorable passages. Powell was a practical man, but he wrote of western geography with obvious affection. > Jeff
    ________________________________ > From: Randi advntr_inxs@yahoo.com
    To: Yahoo Canyons Group
    Sent: Thursday, September 8, 2011 9:57 AM > Subject: Re: [from Canyons Group] "The Secret Knowledge of Water" - fantastic canyoneering (sort of) book
    "There are two ways to die in the desert ~ thirst and drowning" > Love, love, LOVE that book! :) > Craig Child's is so poetic and his words are soul stirring...
    You might enjoy this one too (it's also a spiritual journey as well as visceral one) > Canyon Solitude ~ a woman's solo river journey through the Grand Canyon.
    --- On Wed, 9/7/11, cougarmagic1 immunity_idol@yahoo.com> wrote:
    From: cougarmagic1 immunity_idol@yahoo.com
    Subject: [from Canyons Group] "The Secret Knowledge of Water" - fantastic canyoneering (sort of) book > To: Yahoo Canyons Group
    Date: Wednesday, September 7, 2011, 9:20 PM

    May I suggest a fantastic read - the author is Craig Childs. His writing is so *exactly* what I, and I assume most of you, feel when in canyons, but lack the elegance and skill to put into words. It isn't about canyoneering (though he seems to do a fair amount of it), but rather about water in the desert southwest, in all its forms. Every page seems to have an absolute gem of insight. It's been a very long time since I've been so impressed with writing.
    An excerpt or two:
    "The canyon turned into stone carvings, shapes swelling, masking the sky, marking water's passage with involute profiles. The entire canyon floor was adaptive geometry to the motion of water; each of the shapes, the shallow cups and yawning bends, documented the curve of water's energy. Canyons this intricate are not grotesque like most active geology - the scrambled heaps of mountains, tossed boulders, and rock slides. This is the finest of geomorphology, like wing prints against snow. The stray momentary strands of moving water leave no impression in the rock. They are too transient. But the fundamental and intent currents leave signs, that the bare feathers of moving water are recorded here."
    This place is stained with such ironies, a tension set between the need to find water and the need to get away from it. The floods that come with the least warning arrive at the hottest time of the year, when the last thing on a person's mind is too much water. it shimmers and rises and consumes and offers and drops completely away, changing everything. I watch it move and can't help but want to walk straight into it. To never come back."
    Things to think about when you're wondering what truly is important...
    -Johanna (Cougarmagic)

    ---
    When you post, please change the Subject appropriately, to make reading and searching easier. You can use the following abbreviations: TRIP = Trip Report; BETA = Canyon Beta; PARTNER = Partner and/or Rides; ETHICS = Ethics; TECH = Technical Questions and Tips; BIZ = E Group Business; SALE = Stuff for Sale. Please use a Tilde ~ after the abbreviation, so we know you are coding for us, such as:
    Subject: BIZ~ New Abbreviation List - working?
    To change your delivery options, go to the Canyons Egroup page on yahoo: > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/canyons/
    > This will require logging into Yahoo. Click on the "Edit My > Membership" link, and change your delivery option. Press "Save > Changes".
    DAILY DIGEST OPTION will deliver one email > to you each day summarizing that day's messages.
    WEB ONLY OPTION will not deliver email; you > must visit the web site to view messages. Groups Links

    > Reply to sender | Reply to group | Reply via web post | Start a New Topic > Messages in this topic (3) > RECENT ACTIVITY: New Members 7 New Photos 1 New Files 1 > Visit Your Group > When you post, please change the Subject appropriately, to make reading and searching easier. You can use the following abbreviations: TRIP = Trip Report; BETA = Canyon Beta; PARTNER = Partner and/or Rides; ETHICS = Ethics; TECH = Technical Questions and Tips; BIZ = E Group Business; SALE = Stuff for Sale. Please use a Tilde ~ after the abbreviation, so we know you are coding for us, such as:
    Subject: BIZ~ New Abbreviation List - working?
    To change your delivery options, go to the Canyons Egroup page on yahoo: > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/canyons/
    > This will require logging into Yahoo. Click on the "Edit My > Membership" link, and change your delivery option. Press "Save > Changes".
    DAILY DIGEST OPTION will deliver one email > to you each day summarizing that day's messages.
    WEB ONLY OPTION will not deliver email; you > must visit the web site to view messages. > MARKETPLACE > A bad score is 598. A bad idea is not checking yours, at freecreditscore.com. > Stay on top of your group activity without leaving the page you're on - Get the Toolbar now.
    > Switch to: Text-Only, Daily Digest • Unsubscribe • Terms of Use > .
  5. Randi

    Randi Guest

    I've never sought out "nature" writers per say, and both of those books I mentioned were gifts from others, along with (here comes the mention of another wonderful book) Ellen Meloy's "The Color of Turquoise", although I must say - I had to take that one in small doses as it was akin to eating ice cream. I'm not a fan of ice cream after a few blissful spoonfuls as I find it too rich and overpowering after that. Her expose on the "Brazen Harlotry of Flowers" was provocative, sensual, ethereal and all encompassing in as far as describing what it is a nature-loving person instinctively feels/sees when they experience flowers! I swear, I was moved to joyful tears and felt waves of "recollection?" or primitive connection? when I read her descriptions. I don't know what that feeling is, or how to describe it accurately, but it's like finding out some wonderful secret and realizing at the same time, it's something you've known all along. Just wonderful!   I do want to read JW Powell's Canyon Classic and also some Ed Abby, but I always forget to go this route for reading. I always seem to gravitate elsewhere when book shopping. But I will try to keep these Authors in mind for next time! :)~   Thanks for the recommendations!     --- On Thu, 9/8/11, Pete Chatelain echopete@yahoo.com> wrote:

    From: Pete Chatelain echopete@yahoo.com> Subject: Re: [from Canyons Group] "The Secret Knowledge of Water" - fantastic canyoneering (sort of) book To: "Yahoo Canyons Group" <Yahoo Canyons Group> Date: Thursday, September 8, 2011, 1:14 PM

     



    Childs has about 6 titles as of last year, all wonderful!! Pete

    Sent by a mechanism similar to a little cat's feet

    On Sep 8, 2011, at 12:46 PM, j b pofr2004@yahoo.com> wrote:

    > As the years go by I gradually lose patience with some similar writing--books consisting of self-serious, meditative essays about some ineffable sojourn through nature--but Child's book is an exception. It is indeed a good read. And if Randi gets to add to the list, I guess I will too: JW Powell's classic, "Exploration of the Colorado River and its Canyons." Lots of fun, some geology, and many memorable passages. Powell was a practical man, but he wrote of western geography with obvious affection. > Jeff
    ________________________________ > From: Randi advntr_inxs@yahoo.com
    To: Yahoo Canyons Group
    Sent: Thursday, September 8, 2011 9:57 AM > Subject: Re: [from Canyons Group] "The Secret Knowledge of Water" - fantastic canyoneering (sort of) book
    "There are two ways to die in the desert ~ thirst and drowning" > Love, love, LOVE that book! :) > Craig Child's is so poetic and his words are soul stirring...
    You might enjoy this one too (it's also a spiritual journey as well as visceral one) > Canyon Solitude ~ a woman's solo river journey through the Grand Canyon.
    --- On Wed, 9/7/11, cougarmagic1 immunity_idol@yahoo.com> wrote:
    From: cougarmagic1 immunity_idol@yahoo.com
    Subject: [from Canyons Group] "The Secret Knowledge of Water" - fantastic canyoneering (sort of) book > To: Yahoo Canyons Group
    Date: Wednesday, September 7, 2011, 9:20 PM

    May I suggest a fantastic read - the author is Craig Childs. His writing is so *exactly* what I, and I assume most of you, feel when in canyons, but lack the elegance and skill to put into words. It isn't about canyoneering (though he seems to do a fair amount of it), but rather about water in the desert southwest, in all its forms. Every page seems to have an absolute gem of insight. It's been a very long time since I've been so impressed with writing.
    An excerpt or two:
    "The canyon turned into stone carvings, shapes swelling, masking the sky, marking water's passage with involute profiles. The entire canyon floor was adaptive geometry to the motion of water; each of the shapes, the shallow cups and yawning bends, documented the curve of water's energy. Canyons this intricate are not grotesque like most active geology - the scrambled heaps of mountains, tossed boulders, and rock slides. This is the finest of geomorphology, like wing prints against snow. The stray momentary strands of moving water leave no impression in the rock. They are too transient. But the fundamental and intent currents leave signs, that the bare feathers of moving water are recorded here."
    This place is stained with such ironies, a tension set between the need to find water and the need to get away from it. The floods that come with the least warning arrive at the hottest time of the year, when the last thing on a person's mind is too much water. it shimmers and rises and consumes and offers and drops completely away, changing everything. I watch it move and can't help but want to walk straight into it. To never come back."
    Things to think about when you're wondering what truly is important...
    -Johanna (Cougarmagic)

    ---
    When you post, please change the Subject appropriately, to make reading and searching easier. You can use the following abbreviations: TRIP = Trip Report; BETA = Canyon Beta; PARTNER = Partner and/or Rides; ETHICS = Ethics; TECH = Technical Questions and Tips; BIZ = E Group Business; SALE = Stuff for Sale. Please use a Tilde ~ after the abbreviation, so we know you are coding for us, such as:
    Subject: BIZ~ New Abbreviation List - working?
    To change your delivery options, go to the Canyons Egroup page on yahoo: > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/canyons/
    > This will require logging into Yahoo. Click on the &amp;amp;quot;Edit My > Membership&amp;amp;quot; link, and change your delivery option. Press &amp;amp;quot;Save > Changes&amp;amp;quot;.
    DAILY DIGEST OPTION will deliver one email > to you each day summarizing that day's messages.
    WEB ONLY OPTION will not deliver email; you > must visit the web site to view messages. Groups Links

    > Reply to sender | Reply to group | Reply via web post | Start a New Topic > Messages in this topic (3) > RECENT ACTIVITY: New Members 7 New Photos 1 New Files 1 > Visit Your Group > When you post, please change the Subject appropriately, to make reading and searching easier. You can use the following abbreviations: TRIP = Trip Report; BETA = Canyon Beta; PARTNER = Partner and/or Rides; ETHICS = Ethics; TECH = Technical Questions and Tips; BIZ = E Group Business; SALE = Stuff for Sale. Please use a Tilde ~ after the abbreviation, so we know you are coding for us, such as:
    Subject: BIZ~ New Abbreviation List - working?
    To change your delivery options, go to the Canyons Egroup page on yahoo: > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/canyons/
    > This will require logging into Yahoo. Click on the &amp;amp;quot;Edit My > Membership&amp;amp;quot; link, and change your delivery option. Press &amp;amp;quot;Save > Changes&amp;amp;quot;.
    DAILY DIGEST OPTION will deliver one email > to you each day summarizing that day's messages.
    WEB ONLY OPTION will not deliver email; you > must visit the web site to view messages. > MARKETPLACE > A bad score is 598. A bad idea is not checking yours, at freecreditscore.com. > Stay on top of your group activity without leaving the page you're on - Get the Toolbar now.
    > Switch to: Text-Only, Daily Digest • Unsubscribe • Terms of Use > .
  6. cougarmagic1

    cougarmagic1 Guest

    Randi, try "Animal Encounters" by Childs. You'll love it.

    I agree with both of you about some nature writing being overdone, or paradoxically boring (as Jane said once, "Beautiful quiet places are peaceful - yeah, I know that already!") That's why this author was such a great surprise. I had quite enough of mountaineering disaster books (It's cold! There's a storm! Someone fell in a crevasse!). Tried some scientific wildlife biology books...wow, is that ever boring...:) This stuff is a perfect mix of interesting facts, some excitement and drama, and great style.

    I read Powell's book a few years ago. It is great! And have read just about every word Abbey put down on paper. I will definitely check out the other recommendations - thanks!

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, Randi <advntr_inxs@...> wrote:


    > I've never sought out "nature" writers per say, and both of those books I mentioned were gifts from others, along with (here comes the mention of another wonderful book) Ellen Meloy's "The Color of Turquoise",
  7. phil

    phil Guest

    Secret Knowledge is one of my favorites in the top 5 easily. Not sure if folks have read "Mountain of My Fear" but it is one of the best mountaineers books; one that somehow goes well beyond the physical hardships and explores the interpersonal relationships and internal hardships as well. I think it defines the old middle years of mountaineering.

    Childs is also a phenomenal speaker as well and travels the West quite a bit.

    Phillip

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, "cougarmagic1" <immunity_idol@...> wrote:
    Randi, try "Animal Encounters" by Childs. You'll love it.
    I agree with both of you about some nature writing being overdone, or paradoxically boring (as Jane said once, "Beautiful quiet places are peaceful - yeah, I know that already!") That's why this author was such a great surprise. I had quite enough of mountaineering disaster books (It's cold! There's a storm! Someone fell in a crevasse!). Tried some scientific wildlife biology books...wow, is that ever boring...:) This stuff is a perfect mix of interesting facts, some excitement and drama, and great style.
    I read Powell's book a few years ago. It is great! And have read just about every word Abbey put down on paper. I will definitely check out the other recommendations - thanks!
    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, Randi <advntr_inxs@> wrote:






    I've never sought out "nature" writers per say, and both of those books I mentioned were gifts from others, along with (here comes the mention of another wonderful book) Ellen Meloy's "The Color of Turquoise", >
  8. Another great read is the book of the journals of everybody who floated the Colorado, but J W Powell, whose perspective of the two trips(1869 & 1871) written years later, differed significantly from his"men" and their observations. Pete

    Sent by a mechanism similar to a little cat's feet

    On Sep 8, 2011, at 6:33 PM, "phil" Happyfeet00@Hotmail.com> wrote:

    > Secret Knowledge is one of my favorites in the top 5 easily. Not sure if folks have read "Mountain of My Fear" but it is one of the best mountaineers books; one that somehow goes well beyond the physical hardships and explores the interpersonal relationships and internal hardships as well. I think it defines the old middle years of mountaineering.
    Childs is also a phenomenal speaker as well and travels the West quite a bit.
    Phillip
    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, "cougarmagic1" <immunity_idol@...> wrote:

    Randi, try "Animal Encounters" by Childs. You'll love it.

    I agree with both of you about some nature writing being overdone, or paradoxically boring (as Jane said once, "Beautiful quiet places are peaceful - yeah, I know that already!") That's why this author was such a great surprise. I had quite enough of mountaineering disaster books (It's cold! There's a storm! Someone fell in a crevasse!). Tried some scientific wildlife biology books...wow, is that ever boring...:) This stuff is a perfect mix of interesting facts, some excitement and drama, and great style.

    I read Powell's book a few years ago. It is great! And have read just about every word Abbey put down on paper. I will definitely check out the other recommendations - thanks!

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, Randi <advntr_inxs@> wrote:









    > I've never sought out "nature" writers per say, and both of those books I mentioned were gifts from others, along with (here comes the mention of another wonderful book) Ellen Meloy's "The Color of Turquoise",
Similar Threads: Secret Knowledge
Forum Title Date
General Discussion The Secret Life of Ropes Nov 28, 2017
Trip Reports Vultee's Ladder April 2017, Secret Mountain Wilderness (first descent) May 2, 2017
Meet Up Moab March 7th. Super Not so Secret 5000 Tornado arch Mar 5, 2017
Trip Reports A Secret Canyon in the Swell Aug 6, 2015
General Discussion Thank You Secret Canyon Pioneers Jan 15, 2015
Trip Reports "Secret Canyon" Zion Oct 6, 2014