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The Emerald Mile: fastest boat ride through the Grand Canyon

5 September 2013 Last updated at 02:28 BST

A raft trip for tourists through the length of the Grand Canyon usually takes around two weeks. But 30 years ago three adventurous river guides in a wooden boat traversed all 277 miles in just over 36 hours.

In the summer of 1983 the authorities released vast amounts of water into the Colorado River to relieve the pressure on Arizona's Glen Canyon dam. The dangerous surge of water led to evacuations downstream, but for Kenton Grua, Rudi Petschek, and Steve Reynolds the flood presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

In his new book The Emerald Mile - the name of the wooden dory that made the trip - Kevin Ferdarko chronicles their record-breaking and illegal run though the canyon. He spoke to the BBC about an epic journey.

Produced for the BBC by David Eckenrode.

Photographs courtesy of John Blaustein, Rudi Petscheck, Arthur Sylvester and Jeffe Aronson. Thanks to John Dunn, Matt Sayre and Easy Joseph of Grand Canyon Whitewater.