A “sublime” and “radically original” exploration of the Sierra Nevadas, the best mountains on Earth for hiking and camping, from New York Times bestselling novelist Kim Stanley Robinson (Bill McKibben, Gary Snyder).
Kim Stanley Robinson first ventured into the Sierra Nevada mountains during the summer of 1973. He returned from that encounter a changed man, awed by a landscape that made him feel as if he were simultaneously strolling through an art museum and scrambling on a jungle gym like an energized child. He has returned to the mountains throughout his life—more than a hundred trips—and has gathered a vast store of knowledge about them. The High Sierra is his lavish celebration of this exceptional place and an exploration of what makes this span of mountains one of the most compelling places on Earth.
Over the course of a vivid and dramatic narrative, Robinson describes the geological forces that shaped the Sierras and the history of its exploration, going back to the indigenous peoples who made it home and whose traces can still be found today. He celebrates the people whose ideas and actions protected the High Sierra for future generations. He describes uniquely beautiful hikes and the trails to be avoided. Robinson’s own life-altering events, defining relationships, and unforgettable adventures form the narrative’s spine. And he illuminates the human communion with the wild and with the sublime, including the personal growth that only seems to come from time spent outdoors.
The High Sierra is a gorgeous, absorbing immersion in a place, born out of a desire to understand and share one of the greatest rapture-inducing experiences our planet offers. Packed with maps, gear advice, more than 100 breathtaking photos, and much more, it will inspire veteran hikers, casual walkers, and travel readers to prepare for a magnificent adventure.
About the Author
Kim Stanley Robinson is a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the bestselling Mars trilogy and the critically acclaimed 2312, Shaman, New York 2140, and The Ministry for the Future. He traveled in Antarctica twice, courtesy of the US National Science Foundation. In 2008, he was named a “Hero of the Environment” by Time magazine, and he works with the Sierra Nevada Research Institute. He lives in Davis, California.
“A titan of science fiction masters a new form in this winsome love letter to California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range. Constructed from an impassioned blend of memoir, history, and science writing, The High Sierra chronicles Robinson’s 100-plus trips to his beloved mountains… From descriptions of the region’s multitudinous flora and fauna to practical advice about when and where to hike, this is as comprehensive a guidebook as any, complete with all the lucid ecstasy of nature writing greats like John Muir and Annie Dillard.”—Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire
“An enthralling blend of memoir, history, and science… Robinson vividly conveys his passion for the Sierra mountains… his heartfelt rendering of intense emotional interactions with the natural world pulsates with life. Fans of Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods will be captivated.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"In passionate paragraphs and stunning photographs, The High Sierra details the mountains [Robinson has] known for nearly 50 years, into which he’s made more than 100 trips in hopes of protecting the glorious range for future generations."—Bethanne Patrick, Washington Post
“Kim Stanley Robinson shows us that the best hiking mountains on earth are the earth itself. Learning how to make anything into materials for our sleep, shelter, yoga, or crazy concentration, hunting, gathering, and laughing. Being both empty and full. Stan Robinson's radically original vision of nature itself makes the world wild.”—Gary Snyder, author of The Practice of the Wild
"The High Sierra: A Love Story is exactly that, a passionate bow to one of the great mountain ranges in the world. The power of Kim Stanley Robinson's imagination is known to us as his faithful readers. But what emerges as a surprise in this memoir of place is how he comes to know what he knows from the ground upward. With over 100 trips etched on to the soles of his feet, we witness a man in love with the world, both human and wild. We are taken into the open heart of his storytelling, that carries his awe and wonder and knife-edged perceptions into a reimagining of geologic time through the physical ground truthing of his body. I loved this book—just as I loved The Ministry for the Future. They are companion volumes as to why we should care about this beautiful, broken world we call home.”—Terry Tempest Williams, author of Erosion: Essays of Undoing
“This is a sublime book; maybe not since Muir's My First Summer in the Sierra has anyone managed to convey in words the sheer exhilaration that pours from this most charmed of American landscapes. Robinson provides a wonderfully readable biography of a place—but also a revealing autobiography of one of our most important and delightful writers.”—Bill McKibben, bestselling author of The End of Nature and Falter
“A colorful, digressive journey into incomparable terrain… Robinson pays homage to the range’s magnificence.”—Kirkus Reviews