The Last Voyageur
Amos Burg and the 
Rivers of the West

by Vince Welch

320 pages
map, index, appendices
Mountaineers Books
Trade paperback

For nearly five decades Amos Burg traveled in search of adventure and natural beauty. During the 1920s and '30s he completed lengthy voyages on all the major western rivers – Columbia, Pig, Yukon, Canada's Mackenzie, the Green and Colorado – source to mouth, often traveling alone. He also managed to make a 4-month, 3,800-mile run on the Yellowstone-Missouri-Mississippi as well as the Middle Fork and Main Salmon, and numerous other small rivers. He broke new ground by being the first individual to take his rubber raft Charlie through Grand Canyon and down the Middle Fork and Main Salmon.

 The Last Voyageur chronicles Burg's epic river voyages as well as his journeys along the Inside Passage and through the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the Dorjun and later the Endeavour. We follow not only the arc of his career as an outdoor writer, photographer, filmmaker, and lecturer for National Geographic magazine, but also his expanding sense of the natural environment as a place for spiritual and emotional rejuvenation and as a living repository of American western history. Burg once wrote, "How we treat our rivers tells us something about who we are."

Vince Welch has written for Oregon Coast, Wend, Rivers, Boatman's Quarterly Review, Utne Reader, and The Hibernacle News. At present he is a senior correspondent and blogger (Rivermouth) for Mountain Gazette.

A former professional river guide, and co-author of The Doing of the Thing: The Brief, Brilliant Career of Buzz Holmstrom, Welch continues to run rivers throughout the West with his family and other ancient mariners. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his family and a bunch of chickens. For more visit