When we meet Al Buck he is the owner of Canyon Tours, taking tourists on raft trips down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, something he has been doing most of his adult life. We don't know his first name - Alan, Alfred, Albert, Alexander, or what.
When Al got out of the Army in 1969, he wandered around without any particular goal. One day he walked into Canyon Tours to see how much a trip would cost, but ended up taking a job as a swamper and cook. by the time the summer was over, he was a boatman with a raft of his own. By 1974, he led trips about half the time, while Louise, who had seniority, led the other half.
Al is the biological father of Crystal from a brief affair with Karin Johansen during her 1974 trip down the Grand Canyon. In late 1974 Louise purchased Canyon Tours using her divorce settlement money. Louise married Al Buck not long after that and the pair ran the business together for years.
In 1998 Crystal started work for Al but neither knew her true relationship to him until the following year.
The death of Louise left Al distraught and it was an effort to get him back on the river again. On his first trip back he reconnected with Karin Chladek (at that time separated from her husband Pete) and their romance was reignited.
Once Karin's divorce was final, the pair got married in the Grand Canyon in May 2001, near Sapphire. Buddha was his best manBB20 since both had been high school surfing buddies in California before the Vietnam war separated them.
Al is first described "He wasn't exactly what she'd call handsome, but he was strong and rugged and lean, muscled bronze in aviator sunglasses, a tattered "Canyon Tours" T-shirt and battered shorts that once might have been part of a set of Army pants."DW1