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Harvey Butchart: Grand Canyon Explorer
When we think of hiking the Grand Canyon today, we think of the months and years of preparation that are probably required, as well as the equipment: GPS equipment galore is just one part of it. There was a man, Harvey Butchart, who, before this kind of hiking culture was available, set out to explore his true love: the Grand Canyon. Butchart took an ultra-light approach, carrying with him just what he needed, and an air mattresses that doubled as his raft when he needed to cross the Colorado. Between 1945, when he began hiking the canyon, and 1983 when old age forced him to stop making the same kind of journeys, Butchart became the most accomplished explorer the canyon had ever seen. He was a mathematician, and recorded the numbers of his hikes: he spent nearly three years’ worth of days beneath the rim, averaging 12 miles per day (much of it off-trail) to total more than 12,000 miles. He also wrote the canyon's first real guide book, Grand Canyon Treks, after finding nearly 100 routes from the rim to the Colorado River. The Harvey Butchart archives is housed at Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library Special Collections and Archives. The collection contains his hiking journals, extensive correspondence with other Grand Canyon hikers, maps, and thousands of photographs and slides documenting his exploration of the Grant Canyon. In his 40 some years of Canyon exploration, Butchart found 108 approaches to the Colorado River, climbed 83 summits within the canyon and scaled canyon walls at 164 different places. He carefully documented all of these explorations – both in correspondence with other hikers and in his trail logs. The image included is from the digital archives; feel free to visit the digital archives (http://archive.library.nau.edu/) to see the image from the article and thousands more.
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