Big Water Little Boats Presentation: Learn about the first McKenzie Dory Through the Grand Canyon September 5th

Big water little boats photo

Please join us as we host Tom Martin for a presentation based on his new book, Big Water, Little Boats; Moulty Fulmer and the First Grand Canyon Dory on the last of the Wild Colorado River.

This 45-minute program features original photographs from various 1940’s through 1960’s Grand Canyon River trips, including Boulder Narrows at 126,000 cubic feet per second in 1957. The presentation tells how Fulmer happened upon the McKenzie River hull design of today’s Pacific Northwest boats, and how he used that design to build his boat the Gem, Grand Canyon’s first decked dory. Martin will also touch on the building of a full-sized replica of the Gem and taking the replica through the Grand Canyon. He will show photo re-matching of original pictures from the 1940’s and 1950’s river trips. The program will be followed by a book signing.

Tom will have the full-sized replica of Moulty Fulmer’s 1955 GEM, the first Grand Canyon dory, with him at the shop. We will be serving “Apps” and Ninkasi at “6pm ish” and the presentation will start at 7pm on the 5th of September.

I will remind you again as we get closer.

More info about the presentation.

Moulty Fulmar was bitten by the river running bug during a San Juan River trip in 1942. After a chance meeting with a McKenzie River dory builder, Fulmar constructed his first dory and rowed the San Juan in 1947. Traveling through Grand Canyon in 1948 on a Norm Nevills expedition, Fulmar met Colorado River historian Dock Martin and they went on to run rivers together and correspond for the next thirty years. Fulmar built his second dory, the Gem, specifically for big water. Joining forces with Pat Reilly in 1954, they ran the Grand Canyon five times in home-built boats. Their adventures included rowing the wild Colorado River in 1957 on 125,000 cubic feet per second, one of the highest flows in the last century. Using historic photos, river logs, letters and interviews, author Tom Martin recounts the voyages of a number of unsung river runners during the transformation from Grand Canyon expeditionary river running into today’s whitewater recreation. Big Water Little Boats chronicles the start of the park’s river running permit system in 1955, the construction of Glen Canyon Dam, and the explosion of river running that occurred after the completion the dam in 1963.

About the Author:

Author of the award winning Guide to the Colorado River in Grand Canyon and Day Hikes from the River, Tom Martin has hiked the backcountry and run the Colorado River in Grand Canyon for much of his life. He recently built a replica of the first Grand Canyon dory, the GEM, based on the wreck of the original boat and the journals, photos and notes of Moulty Fulmar, Dock Marston, Pat Reilly and their friends. He has now run the GEM through the Grand Canyon four times and has only flipped it a couple of times.

GEM below Panchos medium size

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One Response to Big Water Little Boats Presentation: Learn about the first McKenzie Dory Through the Grand Canyon September 5th

  1. David Jensen says:

    I have read Tom’s book. It is a fantastic read for anyone who rows driftboats, and even more so for those who do extended boat camping trips. In addition to a well written story, the book has dozens of photographs which Tom gathered from library special collections. Finally, there is a McKenzie connection with mentions of Woodie Hindman, Prince Helfrich, and Keith Steele.

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