FINDING TIBET’S HIDDEN FALLS
Revealing the World’s Final Geographic Mystery
From the Acknowledgments:
It’s time. I said to myself. If I don’t write the Tibet book soon it’s never going to happen.
I knew that chronicling three separate expeditions, each with its own unique storylines and casts of characters, was going to be a monumental effort. Writing it at home with life’s concomitant distractions was out of the question. I needed solitude.
Though I’ve spent my life in the desert, I’m a Pisces and I love the water. My surname is Gillenwater. Deep in the recesses of my mind I saw myself writing, sequestered alone in a forest cabin next to a shimmering body of water. The vision was clear.
Two days later I received a call from a close and life-long family friend, Craig Hannay. “Hey Gil, I heard you’re looking for a place to write your book. You’re welcome to use our guest house up on Whidbey Island.”
He sent me photographs. Located in the San Juan Islands, his waterfront cabin is a short ferry ride from Seattle. The ocean would be 30 feet from my writing desk. It was perfect.
What a coincidence….
I drove up there in January of 2017 and went to work. For four months I wrote fervently from 5:00am until late each day. My spare time was spent contacting expedition members for their stories, digitizing and transcribing journals, videos and audio recordings, researching locations, combing through both recent and historic accounts and reassembling a story from dusty boxes of stored information. It had been a quarter of a century since we were sloshing through the deepest gorge in the world. An additional four years of work were invested in completing this “uncut” version of the book.
The resources available to me through the internet were staggering. I honestly don’t know how anyone could write a book pre-internet. Fortunately, I had kept thorough journals, audio recordings and notes as did my brothers Troy and Todd and several other expedition members. In addition, no less than 12 books had been written about this unrevealed area and the rush to kayak its “Mount Everest of Whitewater” and find its fabled undiscovered waterfall – the “Lost Falls of the Brahmaputra.”
Since my brother Troy had been with me on all three expeditions, I relied heavily on him to verify and elucidate the times, places and events I was recounting. At one point he visited me on the island with his journal from our 1997 expedition. I was spellbound by Troy’s narrative. How can I possibly improve upon this? I thought to myself. I majored in football in college, my two brothers majored in English.
Watching the sun set over Hat Island we sat on the sea wall and opened a couple of beers. Our discussion centered around how we might best merge his story into the overall book. Since this had been my project to date, he offered to participate in any way I saw fit. As the sun’s final rays reflected off the Puget Sound’s dancing waters it became clear. We would co-author the book. I would take the lead and narrate the 1994 and 1995 expeditions and Troy would narrate 1997. We would collaborate on the Preface, Introduction and Epilogue and I would handle the Appendix and photographs.
It’s a decision I have never questioned. I believe that the two of us working together, along with the eight additional contributors, have reconstructed all three expeditions as accurately as humanly possible.
Un-Cut Version of the Book
So, after four years of work the un-cut version of the book has been completed. It has 526 pages and 473 QR Code accessible photographs. The book includes a Preface, an Introduction, 61 Chapters, an Epilogue, 18 Appendices and a Bibliography.
It’s important to note that this un-cut story wasn’t written to sell so there was no commercial motivation. It has no ISBN number. It’s just an accurate accounting of the astounding journeys we shared a quarter of a century ago.
We will now use this hardbound book to actively solicit an agent or publisher to edit it as they see fit and create a commercially viable book—or perhaps a trilogy of books—that will be for sale to the general public.
To this end, we have a few strong leads. However, should you know someone in the publishing industry we would appreciate any and all referrals. We can be reached at:
In the meantime, we will be periodically positing various excerpts on this Blog site.
These were truly “adventures of a lifetime” and it will be our great pleasure to share them with you.