Directed by Pete McBride • Documentary • 2012 • 18 minutes
After spending a decade working abroad as a photojournalist, Colorado native Pete McBride, decided to focus on something closer to his home and his heart: the Colorado River which cuts through his backyard. Taking nearly three years, McBride followed the river source to sea on a personal journey to see exactly where the river goes and what becomes of the irrigation water that flows across his family's cattle ranch in central Colorado after it returns to the creek.
Recruiting his father, John, as his personal pilot McBride chose an aerial vantage to capture a unique and fresh view of the Colorado River Basin. He also partnered with Jon Waterman, an author who stayed stream level to paddle the entire length of the river.
This short film takes the viewer on a 1,500 mile adventure downstream, from mountains and cities and through canyons and across shrinking reservoirs. For 6 million years the Colorado River flowed to the sea. Today it runs dry some 90 miles shy of its historic terminus at the Sea of Cortez. This visual journey is both revealing and alarming as it highlights the state of the river and the Southwest's drying future.