Documenting the ‘American Nile’ for the Vail Valley |

Documenting the ‘American Nile’ for the Vail Valley

Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily/Peter McBridePeter McBride, who speaks in Vail Thursday, explored the state of the Colorado River in his latest project, From Source to Sea. McBride is the first person to travel and document the entire length of the river.

VAIL, Colorado “-Award-winning National Geographic photographer Peter McBride is the next adventurer speaking in Vail, Colorado as part of Vail Symposium’s Unlimited Adventure Series. He will present images spanning 10 years of adventure in the remote reaches of the planet; ranging from Antarctica to Himalayas to the highlands of Guatemala and a 230-mile walk through Bhutan called the Snowman Trek, dubbed “the hardest in the world.” He has traveled from the jungles of Africa and the glaciers of Everest to the mines of Bolivia and the beat of Cuba’s streets and the depths of the South Pacific.

McBride will premiere his most recent project documenting the Colorado River ‘From Source to Sea’ ” 1,450 miles down the “American Nile” from the source to its termination in a dry delta, 30 miles north of the Sea of Cortez.

The Colorado River Delta, once considered to be the greatest estuary in North America, is now greatly depleted. Distant cities ” including some of the fastest growing in the nation, L.A., Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver and Albuquerque ” depend upon its waters and have transformed it into one of the most diverted and litigated rivers in the world. A recent New York Times Magazine story about the river tells how this diminishing water will profoundly change life in the American West as climate models for the latter 21st century show up to 70 percent of the snow pack disappearing.

“There’s a two-thirds chance there will be a disaster,” Nobel laureate Steven Chu said, “and that’s in the best scenario.”

The state of the waterway will be presented through McBride’s photographs, primarily through an aerial perspective.

Many of the Unlimited Adventurer Series speakers have traveled with McBride including Michael Brown and one of this year’s Adventurers, Jon Bowermaster. Many of McBride’s photographs were presented at Bowermaster’s presentation in January as McBride is a member of the Oceans 8 crew.

“Pete and I have traveled around the world together during the past decade and he’s proven to be a fantastic photographer, fun magnet and great friend,” Bowermaster said.

McBride is an award-winning, self-taught photographer and journalist whose love of adventure, cultures and the outdoors have taken him on assignment throughout the world to more than 50 countries. Raised on a Colorado cattle ranch, McBride is a graduate from Dartmouth College with a degree in English and Environmental Studies. In 2006, he was awarded a John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists at Stanford University.

McBride’s photography honors include awards from Pictures of the Year International, Communication Arts, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Society of Publication Designers. His work has appeared in Esquire, National Geographic, Outside, Smithsonian Magazine, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, The Washington Post Magazine and many other worldwide publications. He resides in Basalt.

The Vail Symposium, established in 1971, is a non-profit organization dedicated to year-round lifelong learning through cultural and educational programs that are thought-provoking, diverse and affordable. To view the full winter schedule, visit

What: Vail Symposium and Vail Public Library’s Unlimited Adventures Series continues with Peter McBride, National Geographic photographer and explorer

When: Thursday, 6 to 7:15 p.m.

Where: Donovan Pavilion in Vail

Cost: Free

More information: Call 970-476-0954 or visit

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