Seven years ago, Austin paddler West Hansen led an expedition down the Amazon River, navigating whitewater, encountering narco traffickers, getting held up multiple times and dodging boulders that rained from canyon walls as he followed the river from its source in the Peruvian Andes to the ocean.
On Sept. 7, he’ll unveil his first book, which chronicles those adventures, at a signing at Zilker Clubhouse in Austin.
I’ve already gobbled up “Source to Sea, The Farthest Journey Down the World’s Longest River,” reading an early version via my iPhone during a surf trip to Costa Rica last year. (That says something. Who reads an entire 400-page book on a teeny screen unless it’s a pretty gripping account?)
The book takes readers on a twisting, 4,200-mile adventure from the high mountains to the jungle. Hansen, who moonlights as a social worker when he’s not paddling to all corners of the planet, manages to weave in regional history, drama with team members and a feud with National Geographic.
The book includes more than 90 color photos, graphics and maps, plus descriptions of encounters with wildlife and locals (friendly and non-friendly), visits to towns along the way and a peek at the life of a modern-day explorer out to claim a rare “first” in a world where people spend most of their time glued to computers and smart phones.
Pre-order the book by Aug. 15 at www.westhansen.comto guarantee delivery at the signing. (No pre-orders will be mailed, so if you order one you must pick it up at the event. The book will also be sold via Amazon.com, but for a higher price.)
The event begins at 6 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Zilker Clubhouse, 200 Zilker Clubhouse Road off of Rollingwood Drive.