At Spruce Creek

When Pete was twenty years old, he heard of a job babysitting salmon eggs; seven months of winter alone in a tent in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness.  A chance to be a mountain man?  What could be better?  Two weeks later, with no experience in the wilds, he left the world.  Thirteen years later, he published his award winning, bestselling memoir of that winter, INDIAN CREEK CHRONICLES–an INTO THE WILD with a twist, he lived.

Another twelve years on, that story led to his being asked to return to the wilderness to babysit more fish eggs.  But, no longer a footloose twenty year old, he was forty-five, the father of two sons, six and nine years old.  He entertained the offer as a lark, a chance, maybe, to campout with his sons, but in the end, cooler heads prevailed, and he left without his sons, straight into the heart of Montana’s Bob Marshall wilderness.

He spent the next month alone again, walking a daily ten mile loop to his fish eggs, through deer and elk and the highest density of grizzly bears in the lower 48 states.  His new memoir, THE NAMES OF THE STARS, is not only a story of wilderness and bears, but is also a trek through a life lived at its edges, showing how an impulsive kid leaping into the wilds transformed into a father without losing his love for the wild places, or much of his inability to think before leaping.  From loon calls echoing across Northwood lakes, to the grim realities of lifeguarding in the Nevada desert, through the isolation of Indian Creek and years spent running the Snake and Rio Grande as a ranger for the National Park Service, Pete seeks out the source of this passion for wildness, as well as exploring fatherhood and mortality and all the costs and risks and rewards of a life lived on its own terms.

 photo by Tom Kotynski



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