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The Big Bend Review => Big Bend Book Reviews => Topic started by: Red Hawk on June 09, 2008, 09:53:47 AM

Title: The Secret Knowledge of Water. By Craig Childs
Post by: Red Hawk on June 09, 2008, 09:53:47 AM
This book is amazing. It tells of the authors search for and study of water in the Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts. A spare, almost zen-like tale of his physical and spiritual quest for water where it shouldn't be, and the Old Ones who knew about it.

It ranges from ephemeral pools and tinajas, in a chapter called "Water that waits" to scenes in a chapter called "Fear of God" of crawling into (literally) a huge river gushing from the side of a cliff. Childs goes, often solo, into some of the driest and most forbidding places in the Southwest in his search - sometimes beyond the pale of reason. A back country and technical climbing expert, he gets into (sometimes purposefully) amazing situations where we safe and comfortable trekkers are taught not to tread. Along the way he drops, like bread crumbs, tiny hints and secrets of hiking the desert of benefit to us all.

An outstanding read and one that you will always remember when hiking in the desert.   
Title: Re: The Secret Knowledge of Water. By Craig Childs
Post by: sleepy on June 09, 2008, 10:20:58 AM
Agreed.   A vicarious thrill, especially going into the hole on the side of the Grand Canyon.  It did defy reason, but thanks for taking me along.  I would never be able to do that.  Spiritual, earthy and a grand adventure.  Another book by Child's is "Soul of Nowhere", where he explores the beauty and mystery of the desert Southwest.  Scrambling across canyons covered with house size boulders and jungle vegetation.  Deserted islands in the Sea of Cortez.   More  treks with little more than a bottle of water and some gorp.  The sublimity of nature!
Title: Re: The Secret Knowledge of Water. By Craig Childs
Post by: randell on June 09, 2008, 10:24:35 AM
I third that.  I got the book at the visitor center last year and it is very fascinating. 
Title: Re: The Secret Knowledge of Water. By Craig Childs
Post by: mule ears on June 09, 2008, 11:02:30 AM
Absolutely one of the best desert reads.  I too love the part about the stream in Arizona that runs only at night when the cottonwoods and other plants stop using so much water and the small fish and other water life come back out of the gravels when it starts to run again.

Every desert walker should read it.
Title: Re: The Secret Knowledge of Water. By Craig Childs
Post by: MJ on June 10, 2008, 05:05:12 PM
Absolutely one of the best desert reads.  I too love the part about the stream in Arizona that runs only at night when the cottonwoods and other plants stop using so much water and the small fish and other water life come back out of the gravels when it starts to run again.

Every desert walker should read it.

that's my favourite section too
Title: Re: The Secret Knowledge of Water. By Craig Childs
Post by: sstrong42 on March 24, 2009, 04:52:08 PM
I cannot recommend this book or this author enough.  His writings have piqued my interest into Geo Science instead of Computer Engineering.  After reading this book and it calling back to memories of being out in the wilderness, being able to share those moments, really made me reconsider sitting in a cubicle doing really cool stuff with computers to staying outside for weeks on end doing really cool things with math studying the earth.

The Animal Dialogues is a great one too.
Title: Re: The Secret Knowledge of Water. By Craig Childs
Post by: Flash on March 29, 2012, 10:02:43 PM
Just finished this book, which was a Christmas gift from my daughter. An intriguing book that I enjoyed very much. He was often vague about details of places and I wished for maps to go along with his stories. Perhaps if I dug up his scholarly works, there might be more details and specifics to be found. Then again I liked the way he writes such that I start imagining I can think about and see the desert and water like he does. I will likely take up another of his books sooner or later.