The remarkable classic of nature writing by the first man ever to have walked the entire length of the Grand Canyon.
Colin Fletcher is a self-described "compulsive walker." It is not unusual for him to pick up a map, drive to an area that intrigues him, and then start walking. It should come as no surprise then that a detour from U.S. 66 to visit the Grand Canyon on a June morning in 1963 inspired Fletcher to walk the length of the Canyon below the rim. In The Man Who Walked Through Time
Fletcher recounts his amazing journey. For two months Fletcher struggled against heat and cold, lack of water and dwindling supplies. The terrain was, at times, nearly impassible, yet despite the physical hardships, Fletcher came away from his experience with a new awareness of how humans fit into the vast scheme of things. He writes, for example, of meeting a rattlesnake on Beaver Sand Bar: "Now I am no rattlesnake aficionado
. The first rattler I met scared me purple, and killing it seemed a human duty.... Yet by the end of that California summer I no longer felt an unreasoning fear of rattlers.... Instead, I accepted them as organisms with a niche in the web of life. Accepted them, that is, as fellow creatures."
The Man Who Walked Through Time is a remarkable account of a journey both physical and spiritual. It is also a record of the Grand Canyon as it was before the massive influx of tourism. Fletcher's descriptions of the spectacular geography, the wildlife, and the remnants of much older cultures serve to remind us that the Grand Canyon has been around longer than humankind and may well outlast us.