Every author brings to a story a part of themselves. Jo Deurbrock, longtime river guide relates her story of guiding Idaho’s rivers to that of the story of Clancy Reece, infamous Salmon River guide who periled June 6, 1996, on a stunt river trip. The river actually peaked aon June 10 of that year at 96,300 cfs. A trip in which he and friend Jon Barker and new recruit Craig Plummer embarked upon at 8:50pm the night prior to see how many river miles they could do in a single day. They expected to ride the bubble of high water, but some poor choices prevented that from happening.
They accomplished 190 miles by 5:30pm when they made it upright––though with a swamped dory––after Chittam rapid, We all know the outcome, yet the book is suspenseful, and you can’t help but cheer for the participants and hope for something you know won’t happen.
What spurs this on is the account of trials and tribulations of a modern day quest for the ocean starting from the headwaters of the Salmon. The author touts them as Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, but their journey was much more rigourous than even painting Aunt Polly’s Fence.
Deurbrock’s descriptions are vivid; her facts are informative. While the story tends to glorify the passion of two men, it also reveals the bad decisions that were made––though maybe not to their fullest extent––yet the outcome is the same. If you were a part of the story, you may find many things left out, however, much is also revealed. Facts concerning the Salmon River are well researched.
If anything, when writing about a community in which you deeply care––as Deurbrock does of the river and guiding community––you write the best of it, disregarding the worst. The worst in this case could not be avoided, for if the story did not play out the way it did, there would be no story to be told. Kudos to Deurbrock for delving into difficult subject matter and bringing the story to light, a story that has been lingering in the thoughts of many, For me, having arrived a year later on the Salmon River in 1997 when it peaked at 101,000cfs, it is a mystery revealed.
This is a story that, now told, could only have been written by a river guide, retired. Because who else understands river guides, yet can look from the outside, the way the rest of the world might. River guides have an odd (and wonderful) life style as perceived by the rest of the world. River guides gives a real feel to the freedom, poverty, devil-may-careness that we all know and love about those career choices that are so abundant in Riggins.
The story hits close to home. The story is about our home and the people that live here. It is about our river and those that love it. If you don’t have a copy, we suggest you make it a part of your library. It is available at most locations in Riggins, yet as of this writing, most are sold out. It will also be available today (August 1) at those big book warehouses. But I suggest you walk down to your favorite Riggins local (or maybe one you have not been in) and patronize those businesses.
Complete list of Riggins area shops that tested the book by carrying the early release version:
The Bent Rod
Little Salmon Lodge
Idaho Banana Co.
Roadhouse Java (New Meadows)
Fiddle Creek Fruit Stand
Mountain River Outfitters
and the Forest Service Visitor Center at the south end of Riggins
Other Idaho towns that tested the book were Cascade, McCall, Boise, Twin Falls, Stanley, and Idaho Falls. Books have sold well in all those markets, but not nearly as well as in Riggins!
The book is for sale online now at its website, www.anythingworthdoing.com. On August 1, which is when it releases nationally, it will also be available at amazon.com, barnes&noble.com, and indiebound.
If you want to wait, there will be booksignings on Friday, August 24 at McCall Drug at 1-3pm and in riggins at the Salmon Rapids Lodge in Riggins at 6-8pm.