"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

05 July 2018


Over the course of two languid seasons at Arches — beginning in 1956, 15 years before Congress changed its designation from national monument to national park — Abbey looked after the park and its visitors. But he also roamed and communed with the high desert of the Colorado Plateau, chronicling his experiences with a naturalist’s eye, a philosopher’s mind and a rebel’s heart. The result was “Desert Solitaire,” his most enduring work, which, despite tepid early sales, went on to garner critical acclaim and a place in the canon of American nature writing. It’s not just a love letter to the land; Abbey’s physically and psychologically vivid portrait of the desert became a rallying cry for its preservation against the forces of development. “Most of what I write about in this book is already gone or going under fast,” he lamented in the preface. “This is not a travel guide but an elegy. A memorial.”


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