Grand Canyon River Guides

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Closing the Recycling Loop
“Georgie’s Rapid” Project
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Further Education of Guides
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the journal of Grand Canyon River Guides, Inc.
volume 6   number 3                 late summer 1993



River Water in his Blood


   Mexican Hat Utah really isn’t a place many people head for on purpose. It was even less so in 1937: on a long dirt road from nowhere. But that’s where young Don Harris’s job took him, and it was there he contracted that lifelong affliction we all know as The River.

   He was born and raised in Soda Springs, Idaho, working on the family ranch in the summer and schooling in town in the winter. After high school he earned a degree in civil engineering and worked with a few government agencies before the United States Geological Survey sent him to Mexican Hat.

   Some fifty-six years later, a couple of us sat down and asked Don to tell us a bit about his life, which spans boating on the rivers of the Colorado Basin from a time when only the eccentric adventurer would launch an expedition in a hand-built wooden boat, to the heyday of commercial motor-rig operation.


   Harris: I wasn’t really looking forward to going to Mexican Hat. I didn’t, at the time, love these lonely outpost places, as I figured it was. But after I’d been there a while and got pretty well acquainted with Norm Nevills, why I started to enjoy it.

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