Pacific High: Adventures in the Coast Ranges from Baja to Alaska

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<p>"Starting out, my mind and spirit were open to the mystery of foreign cultures, the spareness of aridity, the tension of seismicity, the heat of fire, the exuberance of the vast, the abundance of rot and rebirth, the kindness of strangers, the indomitable rules of climate, the triumph of life, the limits of the earth."—from the prologu.<p>On a crisp January morning, the first day of a new year, writer Tim Palmer and his wife set out in their custom-outfitted van on a nine-month journey through the Pacific Coast Ranges. With a route stretching from the dry mesas of the Baja Peninsula to the storm-swept Alaskan island of Kodiak, they embarked on an incomparable tour of North America's coastal mountains high above the Pacific.<p>In Pacific High, Palmer recounts that adventure, interweaving tales of exploration and discovery with portraits of the places they visited and the people they came to know along the way. Bringing together images of places both exotic and familiar with profiles of intriguing people and descriptions of outdoor treks on foot, skis, mountain bike, canoe, and whitewater raft, Palmer captures the brilliant wonders of nature, the tragedy of irreversible loss, and the hope of everyone who cares for this extraordinary but threatened edge of North America.<p>At the heart of the story is author's concern for the health of the land and all its life. Nature thrives in many parts of the Coast Ranges—pristine rivers and ancient forests that promise refuge to the king salmon and the grizzly bear—but with a human population of 36 million, nature is under attack throughout the region. Oil spills, clearcutting, smog, sprawling development and more threaten even national parks and refuges. Yet Palmer remains hopeful, introducing readers to memorable people who strive for lasting stewardship in this land they call home.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Palmer, an environmentalist/conservationist who has published over 13 titles on rivers (e.g., America by Rivers; Lifelines: The Case for River Conservation) has now changed his focus to mountains, specifically the coastal mountain range from Baja to Alaska. In a nine-month journey recounted here, Palmer traveled by foot, bicycle, van, airplane, and boat over, around, and in between the Rocky Mountain ranges that hug the Pacific coast. As he details his escapades, he provides useful information on how the mountains' formations interact with the natural and human environment. Although the location of the mountains described is not always clear, plenty of information on their inhabitants and their natural history, as well as the author's own ruminations, keep the reader's interest. Interspersed throughout are Palmer's strong pro-environmental message and always amusing dialog between himself and those he meets along the way. The maps that open each chapter (but were not included in the review copy) should also prove helpful. Recommended for West Coast academic and public libraries and for libraries where the author's previous books have been popular. John McCormick, New Hampshire State Lib., Concord Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
An award-winning travel writer recounts his encounters with diverse landscapes and species during a nine-month tour of North America's coastal mountains from Baja, Mexico to Kodiak Island. This former urban planner voices concerns with environmental threats to the region. Includes basic maps and an extensive bibliography. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559636490
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 488
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Palmer is the author of fourteen books including Lifelines (Island Press, 1993), America by Rivers (Island Press, 1998), and Heart of America (Island Press, 1999).

He has won the best travel and essay book of the year from the Association of Independent Publishers and the National Outdoor Book Award. Also an accomplished photographer, he frequently speaks and gives slide shows to public audiences and college classes nationwide.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Between the Sea and the Sky
Chapter 1. Into Baja
Chapter 2. The Volcan and the Mexican Desert
Chapter 3. Borderlands and Refuges
Chapter 4. Rising Above Los Angeles
Chapter 5. Mountains and Fire
Chapter 6. A Dream of Condors
Chapter 7. The People's Mountains
Chapter 8. The North Coast
Chapter 9. Kalmiopsis to the Columbia
Chapter 10. Olympic Odyssey
Chapter 11. The Island of a Different Nation
Chapter 12. Northward by Boat
Chapter 13. Glaciers to the Sea
Chapter 14. The Ultimate Mountains
Chapter 15. Across the Icefield
Chapter 16. To the Ends of the Earth
About the Author
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