Edward Paul Abbey (1927-1989) based his book Desert Solitaire on his time spent in Arches National Park in the late 1950's. At this time, Arches was not very well known. The roads to get out to the area were few and not the best to say the least. Edward Paul Abbey (1927-1989) based his book Desert Solitaire on his time spent in Arches National Park in the late 1950's. At this time, Arches was not very well known. The roads to get out to the area were few and not the best to say the least. The lack of convenience kept most tourists away, and it left old Cactus Ed plenty of time to contemplate the desert, himself, and society. His book hops back and forth between his views on society and his adventures in nature. His adventures take him to a near death experience on the side of a cliff, rafting down Glenn Canyon, searching for dead bodies, and exploring areas of Utah that not many men have seen. In between stories, he justifiably rants and raves about the destructive behavior of the American society and their ignorant views on nature. His views are not negative towards society but more negative towards their behaviors. Ed tries to hammer the point home in his introduction. And the tone taken through out this book definitely gives us all a great insight into his vision and undeniable passion for the desert southwest.
"Do not jump into your automobile next June and rush out into the Canyon country hoping to see some of that which I have attempted to evoke in these pages. In the first place you can't see anything from a car; you've got to get out of the goddamned contraption and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the thornbush and cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark your trail you'll see something, maybe." -Edward Abbey.
I would recommend this book to any true nature lover who is feeling a little frustrated with society. It may just convince you to pack up your bags and head for the desert. You might even come back looking like Ed himself.
Climb On!! Ryan