River Guide Books?

Has anyone ever used a river guide book that was so completely different than what you found to be true that you wondered if the author ever actually paddled that river at all or just made it all up?


Paddling down the Yukon River, I realized the names in the guide book were… Lava Rapids, Sockdolliger, Chrystal Rapids… I said " this sounds more like the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River than the Yukon".

It was!

Yes, a fellow named Walter
Burmeister published a whole series of thick books about running eastern rivers, and it became clear to me after running some of those rivers myself that Walter was running most of them from the USGS topographical maps.

Good question and Good Answer
Since I’ve just started my library, I’ll have to be careful before I drop my $30+ per book. THANKS!

You mean like his description of
Linville Gorge?

Those are so out of date and scarce that I doubt anyone would run into them, but they are only good for historical reference and grins. (Collectible though)

Amazing differences between books
Just a quick example, Corbett’s book said the stretch was 15 miles, Grove’s book said 12 miles, Ingram’s book said 10.5 and the State said it was 10.5. I gps’d it at 10 miles. Just one of many examples of differences in these publications. Where it is most noticeable is in rating rapids. The State and Corbett and Ingram, who are both recreational canoeists, rate them one step higher than Grove who is an OC1’er.

I stock up…
everytime I go to a new area. I have found discrepancies and things left out, but never quite what I would consider the opposite.

None that bad…
…but they can vary. However, I have yet to find any that can match those of Hap Wilson for tripping in the Temagami region of Ontario. The guy is a living legend and his stories, lore, and artwork are worth every penny - not to mention the accuracy of the river description and lines through the toughest rapids. Reading his guides made the downtime on my trips up there almost as fine as the paddling itself.



I mean his description of Chauga
Gorge, a section I described for a couple of guidebooks. He was making no reference to falls that most would want to portage. Of course, one can’t spot some falls on topographical maps.