River’s
End. A collection of bedtime stories for paddlers
.
Edited and compiled by Bill Sedivy. Big Dog Publications. Newbury,
OH, 1995. $ 15.00, 157 pages
illustrated, available
through REI, Go With the Flow, NOC.

River’s
End A collection of bedtime stories for paddlers

is a collection of stories designed to help the editor’s fellow
paddlers endure those times away from the river. They are stories
told by boaters for boaters — just like they would around the
campfire or at the bar. Bill Sedivy picked the stories for this book
by reviewing issues of American Whitewater (the official journal of
the AWA) over the last ten years. In an interesting exchange, for
permission to use the material Big Dog Publications is providing one
third of all proceeds to the AWA for use in river conservation and
access programs (reason enough to buy the book).

Bill
Sedivy seems like a pretty sensible guy. He prefers open canoes and
occasionally indulges in raft guiding. He recalls one Colorado trip
during which he spent more money on beer than on food and gasoline
combined. He’s been paddling about as long as I have and he left his
job as Executive Editor of an Ohio newspaper to do this book.

So
Sedivy then was a practicing professional editor who by definition
knows how to pick and choose good material. He has more than enough
paddling experience to edit and compile as an authority. Finally, I
can’t remember reading any bad stories in American Whitewater. No
brainer, the book can’t fail. Surprise!! More than not failing it is
outstanding.

I
read the first story, When Ignorance Is Bliss — On the New River at
30 Feet, orally to some paddling buddies at a recent genital herpes
meeting and we all learned two really valuable lessons: 1) “Never
make a life and death decision (e.g., to run or not to run the Gauley
at 15K) on a morning that your breakfast came from a brewery.”
2) When shuttle roads are washed out, the river Gods are trying to
give you one last warning.”

I
prefer gonzo journalism and River’s
End A collection of bedtime stories for paddlers

provides it. The more frenetic stories include An Unbearable Time In
Hells Canyon, Me, Lose My Roll? Not a Chance Mister! and, On the
Cheat River With Josie’s Whales.

Two
stories really made me think. Dancing with Death on the Meadow River
provides an excellent description of Bill Kirby’s swim through a
boulder sieve (if you’ve ever conversed with the Angel of Death,
you’ll get it). Charlie Waldbridge’s Once Upon a Time on the Gauley
River, documents the author’s experiences with the Gauley beginning
with the first time he ran it in 1971.

There
are a couple good ghost stories by Carla Garrison and Lee Roberts.
Finally, there are some excellent true accounts of wilderness boating
in Costa Rica, Quebec, and Alaska.

by
William C. Reeves (The Hawk)
From The Eddy Line, January 1997