Author Craig Childs to share adventures at Steamboat talk
April 4, 2012
Steamboat Springs — For two years, adventurer and author Craig Childs challenged himself to seek out the most extreme landscapes on the planet. His travels took him from the ice sheets of Greenland to the Atacama Desert.
But one of the most extreme environments he found himself in was a cornfield in the middle of Iowa.
"It was probably the hardest landscape of any that I was in. It was during a heat anomaly — it was 129 degrees," he recalled Wednesday afternoon. "I was looking for biotic diversity. I found some islands of refuge, but for the most part, it was corn and soybeans. It was an unusual experience. I'm just trying to represent all different manners of extremes, and that was one of them."
Childs details his international travels in his new book "Apocalyptic Planet," due out this fall. He also is putting together a slide show and presentation for the Steamboat community. Childs will speak at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Bud Werner Memorial Library as part of the Spring Author Series.
Library adult programs coordinator Jennie Lay said she has long admired the author, and she anticipates the Steamboat community will connect with what he has to say.
"By all accounts, this evening promises to be over the moon," Lay said in an email. "Great literature and hair-raising adventures — with the author here in person to share the dish on both. What more can a mountain town ask for?"
No stranger to the Yampa Valley, Childs once worked as a Yampa River raft guide based in Craig. Now, he lives off the grid in the West Elk mountains with his family. While the travels he has documented in more than a dozen previous books mainly have kept him in the American Southwest, Childs said Wednesday that he was looking for insight into larger Earth processes and history when he set out on his most recent set of travels more than two years ago.
"I was looking for elemental places, where landscapes are reduced to a singular element, like desert or ice," he said.
What he found was, in a way, hopeful.
"I could see how totally devastated places eventually earn their own form of life," he said. "I was looking at the resilience of the planet, and that was my own journey through this.
"I come away from extreme places just realizing how dynamic and kinetic the world is."
His books and presentations share a common goal, he said: to share with an audience the simple experience of what it feels like to be a human being in these places.
"That's what I want to bring to Steamboat," he said. "Here's what it feels like, here's how you walk, here's how you get up in the morning. In giving a talk or writing a book, my object is to transport people to that experience."
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com
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