“The least I owe these mountains is a body.”—Randy Morgenson
When I read for fun there are two things I look for from the book. The first things is that I want it to put me to sleep. I don’t mean the boring kind of sleep, but the kind of sleep that only a good story can produce. The second thing I look for is for the book to inspire me to do more of something I love. In this case I was hoping it would inspire me to get into the woods more often. The book delivered on both accounts. Here’s what you need to know before buying it.
The mysterious story of Randy Morgenson’s disappearance makes for a complex psychological “stimulator” that will suck you in, get you outdoors and then spit any two readers out in two different places.
Wanted to read it
Accident, murder, suicide or conspiracy. I’m still not sure. Did the dude feel such guilt from cheating on his wife that killing himself was the only answer? Did he take off running for Mexico or did some turd knock him off so that he would quit causing problems for his cattle operation. It was tough to tell. Hell, maybe Morgenson spent one too many (28 years) seasons in nearly complete isolation driving himself nutty with unchecked philosophical conjecture about life and how things “should” be.
What drew me to the book originally was knowing that Randy was heavily involved in the parks Search and Rescue operations. The book did a great job of describing the SAR process as well as delivered the human stories behind such operations.
Had to read it
What kept me in the book – it does go too long – was how introspective Morgenson was about his job as well as his clear commitment to having purpose in life. Both subjects near and dear to me. I believe that too many people suffer dull lives because they have no purpose behind their work. After a while simply paying the bills just doesn’t cut it. Passion, being the double edged sword that it is, will also drive a sane man mad. In fact it’s from the madness that anything amazing comes. The book did a great job describing Randy’s struggle with this very thing. I don’t think Randy nor the author were completely aware of this. Let me know your thoughts if you read it.
Just glad I read it
The book also dives into some terrific park history with stories that include Randy’s childhood in Yosemite and a life long relationship with Ansel Adams. Morgenson’s life was so closely tied to the Sierras that they ultimately consumed him. A fate of which I’m very certain he was aware of.
It also reminded me of how fragile we humans can be. It’s what inspired me to review the SpotGen3 in my article “Staying Found”. So I guess, though we will never know, you can say that the book may possibly have saved my life. A touch dramatic, but why not?
The author, Eric Blehm, had a few other books that I’ve heard good things about but haven’t read yet. Let us know if you’ve read any of his other stuff and if you recommend we pick it up.