Inside / Outside Southwest Magazine
The Big Book Review
by Amy Maesta
Grand Obsession: Harvey Butchart and the Exploration of Grand Canyon
Harvey Butchart had a 40-year love affair with the Grand Canyon. A University of Northern Arizona mathematics professor who taught nearby the world wonder, he became a legend during his lifetime from amassing an amazing stat: he climbed, hiked, floated and bushwhacked 12,000 miles below the Grand Canyon rim. The authors did extensive research to tell Butchart's life story, from a small child and what influenced his love for nature to his expeditions in the canyons.
The story includes tons of photos, maps, journal entries and correspondence. But the book isn't a beginning to end timeline. Rather, it's full of captivating accounts of trips, anticipation and drama. It tells about how Butchart's obsession affected his family life, his profession and his friendships. Each of them, at one time or another, suffered from it. Of course, there are few places more magnificent than the Grand Canyon to spend a lifetime of exploration. Through Butchart's experiences, readers get a feel for how impressive, humbling, unforgiving and fascinating this place is. Read it.