Publisher: Trinity University Press
The Grand Canyon National Park has been called many things, but home isn't often one of them. Yet after years of traveling the globe, Nathaniel Brodie found his home there.
Steel on Stone is Brodie's account of living in the canyon during the eight years he worked on a National Park Service trail crew, navigating a vast and unforgiving land. Embedded alongside Brodie and his crew, readers experience precipitous climbs to build trails, dangerous search-and-rescue missions, rockslides, spelunking expeditions, and rafting trips through the canyon on the Colorado River. From Brodie's chronicles of tracking cougars and dodging rampaging pack mules to adjusting to seasons spanning triple-digit heat and inaccessibility during the winter, we learn about the life cycle of this iconic park, whose complex ecosystems coexist with humans, each one seeking a deeply personal experience, and the subcultures and hierarchies that form deep within the canyon.
Following in the steps of naturalists like John Wesley Powell and Edward Abbey, Brodie reveals the park’s nearly two million square miles. He deftly weaves histories and tall tales from canyon aficionados living and dead into his own story. Over time he comes to realize that home is not always a place on a map but instead is deeply defined by the people we encounter, including those who finally call us to move on.
Steel on Stone is a love letter to the Grand Canyon and those who have given years of their lives to work its trails so that we may understand and enjoy it today as the transformative landscape we seek.