The Cold Vanish: Seeking the Missing in North America's Wildlands

The Cold Vanish: Seeking the Missing in North America's Wildlands

by Jon Billman


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For readers of Jon Krakauer and Douglas Preston, the critically acclaimed author and journalist Jon Billman's fascinating, in-depth look at people who vanish in the wilderness without a trace and those eccentric, determined characters who try to find them.

These are the stories that defy conventional logic. The proverbial vanished without a trace incidences, which happen a lot more (and a lot closer to your backyard) than almost anyone thinks. These are the missing whose situations are the hardest on loved ones left behind. The cases that are an embarrassment for park superintendents, rangers and law enforcement charged with Search & Rescue. The ones that baffle the volunteers who comb the mountains, woods and badlands. The stories that should give you pause every time you venture outdoors.

Through Jacob Gray's disappearance in Olympic National Park, and his father Randy Gray who left his life to search for him, we will learn about what happens when someone goes missing. Braided around the core will be the stories of the characters who fill the vacuum created by a vanished human being. We'll meet eccentric bloodhound-handler Duff and R.C., his flagship purebred, who began trailing with the family dog after his brother vanished in the San Gabriel Mountains. And there's Michael Neiger North America's foremost backcountry Search & Rescue expert and self-described "bushman" obsessed with missing persons. And top researcher of persons missing on public wildlands Ex-San Jose, California detective David Paulides who is also one of the world's foremost Bigfoot researchers.

It's a tricky thing to write about missing persons because the story is the absence of someone. A void. The person at the heart of the story is thinner than a smoke ring, invisible as someone else's memory. The bones you dig up are most often metaphorical. While much of the book will embrace memory and faulty memory — history — The Cold Vanish is at its core a story of now and tomorrow. Someone will vanish in the wild tomorrow. These are the people who will go looking.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538747575
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 07/07/2020
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 48,089
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Jon Billman is a former wildland firefighter and high school teacher. He holds an MFA in Fiction from Eastern Washington University. He's the author of the story collection When We Were Wolves (Random House, 1999). Billman is a regular contributor to Outside and his fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, and Zoetrope: All-Story. He teaches fiction and journalism at Northern Michigan University in the Upper Peninsula, where he lives with his family in a log cabin along the Chocolay River.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xiii

Chapter 1 The Olympic Peninsula 1

Chapter 2 Wyoming 9

Chapter 3 The Sol Due River 37

Chapter 4 Olympic National Park & Olympic National Forest 51

Chapter 5 Washington & Santa Cruz 58

Chapter 6 Port Angeles 71

Chapter 7 Nova Scotia 78

Chapter 8 Olympic Peninsula 83

Chapter 9 Michigan's Upper Peninsula & North Carolina 93

Chapter 10 Olympic National Park 103

Chapter 11 North America 113

Chapter 12 Santa Cruz & The Olympic Peninsula 140

Chapter 13 Front Range, Colorado 146

Chapter 14 Pacific Northwest 165

Chapter 15 Olympic Peninsula 175

Chapter 16 Idaho, Nevada, California, New Mexico, Nunavut 184

Chapter 17 San Juan Islands & Utah 195

Chapter 18 Mount Rainier 210

Chapter 19 Olympic Peninsula & The Holy Land 223

Chapter 20 The Pacific Crest Trail 231

Chapter 21 New Mexico & Australia 237

Chapter 22 Maui, Hawaii & Idaho 248

Chapter 23 Sol Due Falls 265

Chapter 24 British Columbia 272

Chapter 25 Hudson Bay 293

Chapter 26 Olympic National Park 309

Chapter 27 Hoh Lake 322

Acknowledgments 335

Index 339

About the Author 349

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