The Hidden Canyon

A River Journey by John Blaustein

A Journal by Edward Abbey, Introduction by Martin Litton


So this new edition is overdue, all the more so when you consider the advances in printing that make its pages even more brilliant than before. You will find few statistics here, and only sketchy references to history and prehistory. The point is that you are there, taking it all in through the magic of John Blaustein's camera and the sweet, melodious, thoughtful, heartier-than-life, often downright hilarious prose with which Abbey guides you through the Grand Canyon idyll. - From the Introduction by Martin Litton

  This river is not the Colorado we knew and loved. The real Colorado died in 1964 when the engineers of the Bureau of Reclamation closed the gates at Glen Canyon Dam, changing the Colorado from a wild and free river into the domesticated, well-regulated conveyor belt for baloney boats that it is today. Probably no man-made artifact in all of human history has been hated so much, by so many, for so long as Glen Canyon Dam…. Glen Canyon, though different, was equal in its marvels to the Grand Canyon. And the whole river once again, from its confluence with the Green to its effluence in Lake Mead, shall be the property of the American people. Of the world's people. Of the king snake and the rattlesnake, the golden eagle and canyon wren, the coyote, lion, kit fox, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and pronghorn antelope. Glen Canyon Dam must fall. All old river rats dead and gone and yet to come will understand. - From A Journal by Edward Abbey (1927-1989)

The Hidden Canyon was first published in 1977 and is back in print in 1999. This handsome book is a photographic essay by John Blaustein with A Journal written by the inimitable Edward Abbey. Abbey's portion records their eighteen-day dory trip through the Grand Canyon in 1976. The photographs are of course, timeless, but are a composite of photograpy done in the 1970's with 28 new images taken on Blaustein's 1990's trips.

This new edition includes an introduction by Martin Litton and 28 new, yet timeless photographs from Blaustein's 1990's trips. If you have boated the Canyon before, the 107 stunning color photographs will vividly bring you right back. If there are better photographs of the Grand Canyon in a book, I haven't seen it. If you are planning a Canyon trip or just want to daydream about it, these images of rock, water, flora, fauna, atmosphere and boats will put you right there.

Edward Abbey's Journal of the 1976 river trip is poetic yet satirical, hilarious and prophetic. The journal is a short read and blends well with Blaustein's beautiful Canyon images. The journal and photographs are déjà vu in many ways if you are a veteran of the Canyon. Some of the entries could well have been written by my companions on previous Canyon trips. Reading it here and dreaming through the images was like reliving an actual Canyon trip... from hair-raising whitewater photos to familiar breakfast menus... from hysterical Lava Falls hyperbole to the overall magical feeling that a Grand Canyon oar-powered trip exudes. Whether you've been on a Canyon oar-powered river trip or not, this is as close to being there as you can get through a book. All photographs are supplemented with excellent descriptive notes. For photographers there is a short discussion of the techniques and equipment used. - Review by Richard Grayson, Private Boatman

Buy the book and see the photographs

John Blaustein has served as guide and boatman on more than fifty trips in the Grand Canyon. He was lured to the Canyon by Martin Litton in 1970 and lived there four months each year until 1977. His photographs have appeared in two previous books, as well as in many advertisements. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Edward Abbey (1927-1989) was a novelist, essayist, social critic, and outspoken defender of the American wilderness. His many books include Desert Solitaire and The Monkey Wrench Gang.

Martin Litton is the founder of Grand Canyon Dories and the recipient of the 1993 John Muir award - the Sierra Club's most prestigious award. He celebrated his eightieth birthday by rowing a dory down the 277 miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, becoming the oldest person in the world to do so.

Last updated May 13, 1999