Water and the West

Winter 2019 Book Retreat • January 13 –18 • Lochsa Lodge, ID
Make a Reservation

Contact Becky directly at (208) 791-8721 or bek@odytours.net with any questions at any time or to make your reservation.

Water and the West

There isn't enough of it, now more than ever. The history of how water has been redistributed throughout the lands beyond the hundredth meridian is utterly fascinating. We'll concentrate on three river systems in the West: the Columbia, the Colorado, and Clay's Missouri River, each one sometimes claiming to "the most industrialized river in America."

Among the subjects: William Mulholland's theft of the water of California's Owens Valley for Los Angeles; the building of the great dams on the Colorado and the Columbia; the devastation of Native American homelands by the great earthen dams on the Missouri River; John Wesley Powell's attempt to rethink the western development paradigm in the face of the scarcity of water in the region; the likely impact of global climate change on American water supplies and access; salmon. And much more.

The books we will study together:

  • Wallace Stegner. Beyond the Hundredth Meridian
  • Marc Reisner. Cadillac Desert: The American West and its Disappearing Water
  • Paul Van Develder. Coyote Warrior: One Man, Three Tribes and the Trial that Forged a Nation
  • Kevin Fedarko. The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon
  • James Lawrence Powell. Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming, and the Future of Water in the West
  • Robin Cody. Voyage of a Summer Sun: Canoeing the Columbia River
  • Eric Sevareid. Canoeing with the Cree

We will begin by centering ourselves in the "water commonwealth" (Powell's term) at Lochsa Lodge. These books read like novels because the subject in question is so rich, absorbing, even gripping. The best way to prepare is to read these books, but there is an excellent documentary film adaptation of Reisner's Cadillac Desert.

Tour Price & Information

July 13 –18, 2019 • All-Inclusive • 5 Nights at $1,995

Your retreat begins and ends in Missoula, Montana. Your package includes a professional tour director, discussions led by humanities scholar Clay S. Jenkinson, recreation equipment if necessary, all activities, lodging, meals, transportation, journals, gifts, state and local taxes, USFS fees, and hotel and restaurant gratuities. Airfare is not included. A $400 non-refundable deposit will secure your reservation. Please read our Terms & Conditions carefully. Contact Becky with your questions. Price is per-person based on double occupancy. Traveling single? No problem. We can easily match you with a roommate. Please inquire about our single supplemental fee if you would prefer a cabin of your own.

Becky Cawley • telephone: (208) 791-8721 • bek@odytours.net

2019 Winter Retreat Terms and Conditions

Deposits and Payments

A deposit of $400 per person will reserve the tour of your choice. Full payment is due in our office at least 75 days prior to departure. Your $400 deposit is refundable until October 1, 2017.

Refunds and Cancellation Policy

We highly recommend you purchase Travel Insurance to protect you if for some reason you must cancel your reservation. You will receive your full refund less your deposit up to 75 days prior to the tour, a 50% refund if you cancel within 75 days prior to the event, minus any additional hotel or supplier expenses, which cannot be recovered by Odyssey Tours. No refunds in the last 30 days prior to tour departure. Full refund is always available if you can find a replacement traveler.

Travel Insurance

Highly Recommended. If you are interested in purchasing this coverage, please notify the travel insurance company at the time of your initial payment. Insurance purchased at a later date excludes pre-existing conditions. Travel Insurance information can be obtained from your local travel agency or by contacting our office.

Tour Cancellation

ODYSSEY Tours does not like to cancel tours. In the event a tour must be canceled due to insufficient participation, or other circumstances, we will be to refund all monies paid to us.

Participation Courtesy

We ask there be no audio or video taping of presentations without the prior consent of the individual presenters. Participants are requested to refrain from smoking inside all modes of transportation, during group meals, and lectures or events.

Itinerary or Program Modifications

The itinerary, as contained in this packet of information, is subject to modifications and change by ODYSSEY Tours. Every effort will be made to carry out the program as planned, but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary is sent.


ODYSSEY Tours acts only as the agent in making arrangements for the owner or operators of such transportation, accommodations, services or facilities engaged in our tours. Our responsibility is limited to that of an agent. We accept no responsibility for accidents, injuries, property damage or personal loss to you or to those traveling with you in connection with any accommodations, transportation or other travel or outfitter and guide services, or resulting directly or indirectly from any occurrences or conditions beyond our control, including but not limited to acts of terrorism, defects in vehicles, breakdown in equipment, strikes or theft.

We reserve the right to make changes in the tour where deemed advisable and for the comfort and well-being of the participants. We reserve the right to foreclose your participation at any time if your actions impose upon or disturb the other members of the program.