by Tim Palmer
Island Press, 2002
468 pages, $28
So often in literature, mountains have served as backdrop—a sturdy, all-purpose scene-setter. But in Tim Palmer’s Pacific High, the mountains don’t just provide scenery. They’re the main characters. Chronicling his nine-month odyssey along the Pacific Coast Range, Palmer surveys the astonishing landscape, and in the process introduces us to more characters—both animate and inanimate—than a Chekhov play. Part explorer, part walking encyclopedia, Palmer strikes the perfect balance between being informative and capturing the sublime. He notes with a considerable amount of expertise the serious impact exotic species are having throughout California. And he unflinchingly recounts the environmental degradation he witnesses along the way—from the unabated urban sprawl of Los Angeles to the ravages of unchecked logging throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Palmer is the author of 14 books including the National Outdoor Book Award-winning The Columbia. In Pacific High he channels the spirit of great conservationist nature writers before him, such as John Muir, “whose ghost—just figuratively speaking, of course—accompanies me many places I go.” Before setting out for a five-day hike from the Golden Gate Bridge through the Marin Headlands to Stinson Beach, Palmer recalls Thoreau’s advice to let the night overtake him “everywhere at home.”
Like this article?
There’s lots more where this came from…
Subscribe to Bay Nature magazine
Most recent in Recreation
In the "middle space" between protected and unprotected, a reporter finds a perfect place to camp.
Whale Watching: The Oceanic Society has offered naturalist-led whale-watching excursions in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1972. Excursions leave from San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, and Bodega Bay, on weekends from late December through mid-May. Tours also visit the Farallon Islands and Cordell Bank, a submerged island mass northwest of the Golden Gate Bridge. […]
Habitats: Freshwater, Bay, Marine | Recreation | Wildlife: Birds, Mammals, Fish
Hipcamp, a company founded in 2013 to improve the reservation process for public parks nationwide, is now facilitating camping on private land.