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Books | Nova Space Explorer's Guide | Junk in Space | Airborne | Rocket! | Wild Colorado | Wright Sister

The Wild Colorado: The True Adventures of Fred Dellenbaugh, Age 17, on the Second Powell Expedition into the Grand Canyon
Published by Crown
Hardcover (1999): 0-517-70945-7
Paperback (Scholastic reprint, 2000): 0-439-18490-8

A footnote in William H. Goetzman's rivetting history of the West, Exploration and Empire, set me on the trail of Fred Dellenbaugh. Fred was the youngest member of John Wesley Powell's second expedition down the Green and Colorado rivers in the 1870s. I tracked down his personal papers and photos, but I believed that his unique drawings from the trip (the first ever of the canyons) were lost—until I found them miscataloged and forgotten in a Smithsonian Institution archive.


Western Writers Association: Spur Award, Juvenile Nonfiction

Mountains and Plains Booksellers Association: Regional Book Award, Children's Division

American Library Association: Best Books for Young Adults

New York Public Library: 71st Annual Exhibition of Books for the Teen Age

Voice of Youth Advocates: Fourth Annual Nonfiction Honor List


"Although popular accounts of Maj. John Wesley Powell's exploration of the Colorado River made it seem like one trip, in fact there were two, and the records of the 16-month second expedition were carefully kept. The story of the perilous journey as told through the experiences of a teen-age artist, including some of his drawings as well as photographs, is an exciting adventure." —New York Times Book Review

"Dellenbaugh is a hero with a hearty dose of bravado that only the young can claim. It is, however, the exciting, involving storytelling that makes this narrative of adventure in the opening West a real page-turner." —Children's Literature

"As he did in Rocket! How a Toy Launched the Space Age ... Maurer offers a well-crafted, exciting book about exploration and adventure." —School Library Journal

"Exciting and well-researched, this book is beautifully illustrated with photographs from the expedition, maps of the West as it was known in the 1870s, and Dellenbaugh's drawings, published here for the first time." —Science Books & Films