“Let’s get lost together . . . ”
Lost in My Own Backyard brings acclaimed author Tim Cahill together with one of his—and America’s—favorite destinations: Yellowstone, the world’s first national park. Cahill has been “puttering around in the park” for a quarter of a century, slowly covering its vast scope and exploring its remote backwoods. So does this mean that he knows what he’s doing? Hardly. “I live fifty miles from the park,” says Cahill, “but proximity does not guarantee competence. I’ve spent entire afternoons not knowing exactly where I was, which is to say, I was lost in my own backyard.”
Cahill stumbles from glacier to geyser, encounters wildlife (some of it, like bisons, weighing in the neighborhood of a ton), muses on the microbiology of thermal pools, gets spooked in the mysterious Hoodoos, sees moonbows arcing across waterfalls at midnight, and generally has a fine old time walking several hundred miles while contemplating the concept and value of wilderness. Mostly, Cahill says, “I have resisted the urge to commit philosophy. This is difficult to do when you’re alone, twenty miles from the nearest road, and you’ve just found a grizzly bear track the size of a pizza.”
Divided into three parts—“The Trails,” which offers a variety of favorite day hikes; “In the Backcountry,” which explores three great backcountry trails very much off the beaten track; and “A Selected Yellowstone Bookshelf,” an annotated bibliography of his favorite books on the park—this is a hilarious, informative, and perfect guide for Yellowstone veterans and first-timers alike. Lost in My Own Backyard is adventure writing at its very best.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Lost in My Own Backyard|
|Release Date: 06-08-2004|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
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Lost in My Own Backyard
A quarter century ago i moved to a small town just north of Yellowstone Park. I didn't know much about wildlife back then and honestly couldn't tell a mule deer from an antelope. I wasn't certain why Yellowstone contained more geysers than anyplace else on earth. I was unaware that there was a huge lake, one of the largest alpine lakes on earth, up there in the pines. I didn't know much.
But I wasn't a tourist. Oh, no. I was much too cool for that. I never went to Yellowstone specifically to look at, what?-mud pots, or Old Faithful, or various thermal springs. It always seemed to me like that had somehow "been done," and that serious persons, like myself, went into the backcountry, and we did that specifically to avoid all those other persons who didn't know that gaping at geysers or giggling at the flatulent-sounding mud pots was for-well, for tourists, who were somehow inferior.
In fact, the places where tourists customarily go are supremely worth seeing even if you have to share the wonder. That is the conclusion I've come to after a quarter century of puttering around in the park. Oh, I've been out in the backcountry quite a bit, and I've seen the tourist attractions, all of them, several times. I just didn't know how to look at them. I was lost in my own backyard.
I wish someone had just slapped me early on. Well, perhaps I could have done without the slap, but it would have been okay if someone wiser in the ways of the park had just shown me certain things and told me to shut up and listen. Stop being so damn superior. You're acting like a jerk.
I have, in fact, a long-standing fantasy in which I tak