About the Book:
A “sublime” and “radically original” exploration of the Sierra Nevadas, the best mountains on Earth for hiking and camping, from New York Times bestselling novelist Kim Stanley Robinson (Bill McKibben, Gary Snyder).
Kim Stanley Robinson first ventured into the Sierra Nevada mountains during the summer of 1973. He returned from that encounter a changed man, awed by a landscape that made him feel as if he were simultaneously strolling through an art museum and scrambling on a jungle gym like an energized child. He has returned to the mountains throughout his life—more than a hundred trips—and has gathered a vast store of knowledge about them. The High Sierra is his lavish celebration of this exceptional place and an exploration of what makes this span of mountains one of the most compelling places on Earth.
Over the course of a vivid and dramatic narrative, Robinson describes the geological forces that shaped the Sierras and the history of its exploration, going back to the indigenous peoples who made it home and whose traces can still be found today. He celebrates the people whose ideas and actions protected the High Sierra for future generations. He describes uniquely beautiful hikes and the trails to be avoided. Robinson’s own life-altering events, defining relationships, and unforgettable adventures form the narrative’s spine. And he illuminates the human communion with the wild and with the sublime, including the personal growth that only seems to come from time spent outdoors.
The High Sierra is a gorgeous, absorbing immersion in a place, born out of a desire to understand and share one of the greatest rapture-inducing experiences our planet offers. Packed with maps, gear advice, more than 100 breathtaking photos, and much more, it will inspire veteran hikers, casual walkers, and travel readers to prepare for a magnificent adventure.
Why Wes Chose This Book:
The biggest draw with The High Sierra: A Love Story is that it’s local. It’s our backyard. So much adventure to be had within a tank of gas from home. Kim Stanley Robinson’s ode to our mountains is like a Swiss Army Knife, and one of the good ones at that. One that weighs about seven pounds and has everything from a knife and bottle opener to an ice axe and water purifier. It’s part loving confession to the mass of rocks, formed over eons, that we all choose to live in, part armchair travel, and part travel/trail guide and trip planner for seemingly every inch of the Sierra.
Robinson has likely spent more time in the Sierra than you and his commitment to our home mountains is impressive. This ethos is clear in his vivid descriptions of his myriad of adventures over the years, as well as the passion evident in his voice. You’d be forgiven for thinking The High Sierra: A Love Story was a soulless, glossy coffee table book, at first glance banking its reputation on the kind of epic pictures we see in our own homes and local businesses. But, it’s so much more. If you’ve spent time deep in the Sierra, you’ll recognize some of Robinson’s vignettes, and yet you’re still bound to find some trail or corner of a map that you’ve never heard of and now want to visit.
Why Peter Chose This Book:
I was so taken with this book that I bought 14 copies as gifts right away (from local bookstores of course!). Robinson is well known as a Sci-Fi author, and it is said that in all of his stories the landscape is a main character. His vivid, layered descriptions of our beloved home mountain range moved my soul and made me yearn to get way way back there. His wanderings are impressive. Since 1970, he has managed to fit in multiple backpacking trips every year, usually off trail into the remotest of high basins. I couldn’t read it without having Cal-Topo open on my computer to check out where each spot was.