In lyrical essays covering geology, plants, animals, anthropology, exploration, and current environmental issues, Jeremy Schmidt has written a comprehensive, highly readable natural history of the Grand Canyon. On the surface, this book is a guide to the canyon’s wonders, offering hard-as-rock scientific information as seen through the eyes of a first-class naturalist. But like the canyon itself, the story becomes richer and more interesting the deeper you go. Some tales are strange enough for science fiction. Giant lava dams, migrating forests, waterfalls to dwarf anything we know today, the terrifying, mysterious violence of debris flows -- indeed, the rapid foundering of an entire geologic province -- create an improbable setting for some of the most delicate landscapes and life forms on Earth. Unexpected intimacy shelters among the grand shadows. Eden-like grottos, sweetly dripping springs, bright warblers, tree frogs, lush banks of wildflowers, and even tough critters like rattlesnakes and gila monsters have life stories as dramatic, in their own right, as those of the great Colorado River and the ancient echoing canyon walls that rise so high above it. This book illuminates them all.