Reader Participation Day: What Are You Reading?

Though more than three decades old, Great Surveys of the American West by Richard Bartlett is still a great read.

As summer gives way to fall, and fall to winter, we usually have more time to read, as there's less daylight outside.

A book that recently fell into my hands, courtesy of my wife, is Richard Bartlett's Great Surveys of the American West. This wonderful book, published in 1980, traces the paths that Ferdinand Hayden, Clarence King, and Major John Wesley Powell took in their grand and ambitious explorations of the West. Though it's been more than three decades since this book arrived, it's wonderful reading if you enjoy history and the national parks.

What's on your reading list these days?


Hey Ranger! by Jim Burnett. A funny book that any ranger who works with the public can relate to.

Theordore Rex by Edmund Morris, richly chronicles Teddy Roosevelt's years in the White House. A counterpoint is the Saga of Chief Joseph by Helen Howard, the brave, heroic attempt of the Nez Perce leader to save his people from devastation. Need I remind you how that worked out.

I'm finally getting around to reading Last Child in the Woods. Very thought-provoking. And of course my bi-weekly dose of High Country News.

A great fun read is Up S*** Creek by Joe Lindsay. Terrible and side splitting stories from a river guide about bad days.

The 'Woods Cop' series of police procedurals by Joseph Heywood, about a Conservation Officer in the wilds of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Beyond the 100th Meridian, by Wallace Stegner

"The Challenge of Rainier" by Dee Molenaar and "Don't Know Much About History" by Kenneth C. Davis.

Aubrey Haines's book on Mt. Rainier, Mountain Fever.

The Life and Times of John W. Clark of Nushagak, Alaska, 1846-1896, by John B. Branson, historian for Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. John Clark was one of the first Euroamerican residents of Alaska, arriving at St. Michael with the Western Union Telegraph Company Russo-American Expedition to build a worldwide telegraph line in 1866.

Guggenheim prizewinner and butterfly expert Robert Michael Pyle's title might be a turn-off to rational skeptics. Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing The Dark Divide is living up to the jacket blurb: "...a dramatic narrative exploration not only of the phenomenon of Bigfoot, but also of the nature of human belief, particularly the need to believe that something is out there beyond what we rationally know." I was in stitches laughing at his description of a Bigfoot convention where he suddenly realizes: "These guys don't want to find Bigfoot -- they want to be Bigfoot."