Feb. 2019, Update #4, Translations
It’s certainly a truism that writing consists of long periods, often years, of solitary plodding, punctuated, if the writer is both good and lucky, by brief periods of recognition and social interaction – book launches, tours, reviews good & bad, etc. It’s hard to write an interesting newsletter about the plodding; hence it has been a while since my last.
That’s not to say nothing has been happening. My research achieved a major breakthrough when a very generous friend translated essential primary source material into English from Czech and German concerning what I believe were the two first major kayak expeditions in the Himalayas: the Czechs and Slovaks on the Dudh Kosi down Everest in 1973, and the West Germans down the Kali Gandaki, 18,000+ feet deep between the peaks of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri, in 1974. Very little seems to be known about these pioneering expeditions in the English-speaking paddling world. Toni Morrison advised “If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” So here I am.
I’ve also started interesting conversations with Doug Ammons about his remarkable (to say the least) solo kayak run down the Grand Canyon of the Stikine in the British Columbian Rockies, and with Skip Horner about the first run, in rafts, on the Zambezi below Victoria Falls. I’ve begun planning a late summer trip around the American West to meet them and I hope several others central to these whitewater stories.
Finally, on a personal note, I moved last summer from my farm in western Pennsylvania to Lexington, Virginia, where I can stare out my window at the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains as I write. I have a handy little open canoe and have already started exploring the Class I – II headwaters of Virginia’s historic James River. It can’t all be slogging.
All best, and as always, keep it pointed downstream,