Monday, September 4, 2017

The Indian Creek Chronicles: A Winter Alone in the Wilderness - Pete Fromm

Summary:  Indian Creek Chronicles is Pete Fromm's account of seven winter months spent alone in a tent in Idaho guarding salmon eggs and coming face-to-face with the blunt realities of life as a contemporary mountain man.  A gripping story of adventure and a modern-day Walden, this contemproary classic established Fromm as one of the West's premier voices.  (Summary from back of book)

My Review:  Anyone who knows me knows that I am not an outdoorsy person.  I don't like mosquitoes.  I don't like being cold.  I loathe hiking.  Don't get me wrong, I can still sleep in a tent when called upon and a stay in a yurt can be quite pleasant (sans howling baby), but, as a general rule, I like my cozy bed and my indoor plumbing and can only be induced to leave it on occasion.  That's why it is so hysterical that I picked up this book.

When Pete Fromm, a young college student, is given the opportunity to spend seven months living in a tent in the Idaho wilderness, he imagines it will be a true "mountain man" experience, and volunteers without a second thought.  Unfortunately, Pete is wholly unprepared to hack it in the great outdoors, having only the foggiest notion of what it means to be a true mountain man.  Upon his arrival at Indian creek, Pete quickly realizes his survival depends on the ability to master a variety of skills (e.g. cooking, hunting, woodcutting, etc) in a short amount of time.  With youthful energy, he throws himself headlong at the task and quickly finds that a solitary life in the wintry backwoods of Idaho is more difficult, lonely, and wonderful than he could ever have imagined.

One of my quirks is that I love reading about experiences that I will likely never have in real life (see my review of Wild here).  I have absolutely no intention of spending any length of time alone in any kind of wilderness, but I thoroughly enjoyed joining the author on his adventures...if only vicariously.  Pete Fromm is nothing if not an excellent writer and his words paint a magnificent picture of the scope and grandeur of the natural world while still maintaining his own small place within it and within the story.  With each turn of the page, he brought to life beautiful vistas, new animals, and unexpected experiences.  I tramped along with him through the crusty snow, climbing icy ridges, watching a family of otters play, setting traps (and then regretting them), hacking at the ice covered streams, and stalking herds of elk.  And you know what, we both had more fun that we would have had I actually been there.  This book is a PNBA (Pacific Northwest Booksellers Assosciation) Book of the Year Winner and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys the great outdoors...or to those who would rather just experience it vicariously.

For the Sensitive Reader:  A handful of swear words.  Some drinking, trapping, skinning, and consumption of wild animals.

My Rating: 4 stars.

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