OR - Book Norman Clyde - David Wilkes
- Here is a short OR for your editing pleasure(?). I am going to try to get a few OR's that I have had on the back burner for a while now submitted while I have some time and energy.
You can find the report in the OR folder at: http://tinyurl.com/llgvcw
If you are familiar with the Eastern Sierras, or Normal Clyde I think you will enjoy this book.
Owner Review by David Wilkes
Mountaineer of California's Sierra Nevada
July 27 2008
Name: David Wilkes
Location: Yakima Washington USA
Height: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
Weight: 197 lb (89.40 kg)
I started backpacking in 1995 when I moved to Washington State. Since then, I have backpacked in all seasons and conditions. I have usually only managed time for 1-3 trips a year averaging 2-5 days, and as many day hikes as I can. I am currently getting into condition to summit some of the higher peaks in Washington, Oregon, and California. I prefer trips on rugged trails with plenty of elevation gain. While I continuously strive to lighten my load, comfort and safety are most important to me. My current pack is around 30 lbs (14 kg), not including consumables.
Publisher:Heyday Books, Berkeley, California (in collaboration with the Yosemite Association) 2008
Publisher: Robert C. Pavlik
Publisher's Website:www.heydaybooks.com www.yosemite.org
259 g (9.2 oz)
Soft cover book measuring about ?x?x? The book is a biography of the legendary mountaineer Norman Clyde. About 114 pages, with 7 pages of Forward/Introduction, two pages of maps, 8 pages of photos (12 photos), and another 30 pages of Timeline, End Notes, Bibliography, Index Acknowledgments, and a short "About the Author".
Image courtesy of www.heydaybooks.com
Over the years, my father-in-law (Dick) has told me some of what he knows of Norman Clyde, including a story of as a young hiker he came across his camp and received a few words of wisdom from the legend (`carry your pack higher and take smaller steps'). From Dick and a few tidbits of information I have picked up, I had grown the impression of Clyde as an antisocial loner who shunned people. This book provided me a far more complete (and hopefully more accurate) view of who Norman Clyde was and how he spent a large portion of his life. While the book covers Clyde's entire life, its primary focus is on his exploits, accomplishments, and (for lack of a better term) adventures after discovering the Eastern Sierras.
"The pack that walks like a man"
One simply has to admire someone who wanders the High Sierras, with a 70+ lb (32 kg) canvas pack (including an anvil to fix his boots) for months at a time, reading the classics in their original Greek and Latin, and achieving over 130 first accents. Not to mention his legendary ability to locate lost and/or injured (sometimes dead) climbers and hikers.
A few years ago Dick arraigned for a few of us to accompany him on a hike of his all time favorite trail, from South Lake to Bishop Pass (in California's Eastern Sierra's). After hiking the trail and seeing the surrounding country with its vast rugged and sometimes plush mountain ridges, bordering such arid desert valleys fascinated and intrigued me. The extremes and beauty have become my gold standard as to what I love the most about hiking. It made me curious about the famous (sometimes-infamous) man who fell in love with the area and chose to spend the majority of his life traversing the area. Therefore, while on a recent trip to the area to do some more hiking with Dick, I entered a bookstore and found this on the shelf, I immediately purchased two copies (one for me and one for Dick).
From the first page of this way too short biography I was hooked and could hardly put the book down. I found the book a quick and easy read, and I reached end far too soon. I found the writing to be easy to follow and a pleasure to read. I will not go into detail (mainly because I simply cannot bring myself to picking a favorite or outstanding passage), but more than a few passages had me sitting with my jaw hanging, or laughing aloud. And while reading it, more than a few times I vowed to reread the book to highlight some of the more fascinating and profound passages. I found it amusing how Dick and I were both reading our individual copies in the cabin we were staying at on the trip, and periodically one of us would say something like "did you get to where he " or "can you believe he " or simply "wait till you get to the part about you will die!". While and after reading this book I have been longing to return to the area and do more hiking, however since it is a 15hr drive for me I suspect I will not get there near as often as I would like. And so, for the time being I must be content with viewing it vicariously through the eyes of the people like Clyde and Muir. And while I doubt I could ever give up my current life so that I could spend months in the back country like he did, I do often fantasize about it.
If there is anything I can find at fault in the book is that by the end I realized that while I learned quite a bit about who the legend Norman Clyde is, I never seemed to get a real sense that I understood who the MAN was. The book seemed to provide all too brief glimpses into his personality and underlying motivations, but it felt like I was seeing him through a keyhole. As a result, it left me feeling a bit disappointed and eager to learn more about who the man Norman Clyde really was. However, to be fair, it is entirely possible that the depth of information about his personality and motivations I desire may just not be available.
I highly recommend this book, and suggest it as a wonderful read, especially while in camp (even better if that camp is high in the eastern Sierra Mountains).
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