Another Epic Tale from the Sierra

Discuss your favorite wilderness related books. Share your favorite poetry, quotes and folktales. Here's your chance to showcase your creative side!
Shawn
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Post by Shawn » Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:30 am

I *finally* received my book yesterday. Can't wait to get into it.

Well George, I must say I am quite humbled after realizing that you must be the same George Durkee in the book. Anyway, the photos of you are great and you must be quite proud to have worked with those folks and to have been witness to so many things in the back country. My hat is off to you sir.

Did you happen to see this over on Yahoo Groups from another guy....

<snip>
The back country SEKI rangers have been heroes to me for a long time. Met up
with one of the longest serving and most experienced ones, George Durkee, a
couple of times in the back country. He's mentioned in the magazine story.
Someone should write a book about his amazing career and long experience. Better
yet, go out of your way to find him where he works and talk awhile. What a
gold mine he is. Not many lives are as richly lived, in my opinion. I can only
wish I could have walked the paths he's traveled.


Sums it up nicely I thought.

Shawn








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gdurkee
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Tales of Adventure

Post by gdurkee » Sun Apr 16, 2006 7:50 pm

Shawn:

Thanks for the 'attaboy'. Really hope you like the book. I found it pretty accurate. Not for me (my huge, huge modesty prevents...) but I'm glad backcountry rangers are getting some level of attaboy. Not necessary, of course, but it's good that my buddies get some recognition for their dedication.

As far as the Yahoo! note goes, my goal is to lead a quiet life and attract no undue attention. The key is avoiding tall blondes. I've got an agreement with a couple of friends who, should I ever mutter "my wife doesn't understand me" will thow me into a walk-in freezer until I come to my senses... .

g.

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Baffman
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Post by Baffman » Sun Apr 30, 2006 6:30 pm

I just started reading The Last Season a couple of days ago. So far I'm amazed. I'm pretty sure I've met Rick Sanger at Rae Lakes some years back too. So far I'm having a hard time putting it down.

Rob

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Blues
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The Last Season

Post by Blues » Mon May 01, 2006 1:52 pm

I just finished reading the book last night (and wrote a small review on amazon.com this morning).

I was very impressed with the manner in which the story was told.
(This coming from a recently retired federal law enforcement officer with a bit of history in hiking, climbing and backpacking in the Sierra, Wind Rivers and Wrangells).

George Durkee, if you read this, I tip my hat to you and your compatriots for the long years of service, dedication to the mission and loyalty to your friends and the mountains you so obviously love. I salute you all as I felt a very strong kinship as I read the unfolding tale. (My amazon.com review gives a bit more detail that I won't bother rehashing here.)

As for the Gonzales book, I feel much as George did.
Though I felt the content of the book was both useful and of interest, I thought that Gonzales had a bit more of his ego involved than I cared for in the reading.

By the way, another interesting read is Dr. Ken Kamler's "Surviving The Extremes" which I finished recently.

Greetings and my best to you all. :cool:
Live Free Or Die

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biffnix
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Post by biffnix » Thu May 04, 2006 10:04 am

Well, I just finished The Last Season a couple of days ago, and I enjoyed it. I live in Bishop, and while I never knew Randy Morgenson, I do work with Lo Lyness on a fairly regular basis. She works in Inyo schools helping to integrate technology into the curriculum. The book reveals an intensely personal dimension to someone I know only professionally.

While it's fascinating to read about someone you know, I must confess it feels voyeuristic. I suppose that it's cathartic for those involved, and that certainly has validity. However, after reading it, I tried to reflect on the literary value. I came up with plenty of facts that I didn't know about, but wasn't able to quite put my finger on any point of view that the author was trying to portray.

Perhaps I just haven't given it enough thought. The book is wonderfully descriptive, and I certainly have a new appreciation for backcountry rangers. I'm just sort of puzzling over why the book was written.

Joe Griego
Bishop, CA

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Snow Nymph
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Post by Snow Nymph » Thu May 04, 2006 7:58 pm

I haven't had a chance to pick up the book, but I'll get it soon.

Welcome to the forum, Joe! Good to see you here!
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Trekker
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Post by Trekker » Thu May 04, 2006 11:40 pm

I just bought the May 'Backpacker' magazine a few days ago, saw the article listed on the front, and wondered whether anybody ie George would be mentioned. Well, after reading this thread I opened to the article and, lo and behold, I read his name and then, there's a picture of him and his wife! It was taken at Crabtree meadow ranger station. First acknowledgement in Roper's 'Sierra High Route' and now this! I will be reading this in the next couple of days. It's an excerpt by Blehm. Apparently another excerpt will be in the June issue.

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biffnix
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Post by biffnix » Fri May 05, 2006 8:09 am

Snow Nymph wrote:I haven't had a chance to pick up the book, but I'll get it soon.

Welcome to the forum, Joe! Good to see you here!
Howdy! Recognize your handle from the Mammoth forums, of course. Perhaps we'll meet someday in the backcountry!

I think you'll enjoy the book. It certainly seems well researched, and provides some interesting insight into the transient nature of the ranger life.

I'm still considering the personal angle. I know the author was going to be at Spellbinder books in Bishop to sign copies, and my wife picked up the book for her book club. I sort of snuck in there and read it before she could! :) Since she was going to see the author, I wonder if she'll have the chance to ask questions.

Anyway, a good read.

Joe G.
Bishop, CA

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gdurkee
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Weirdness in the Sierra

Post by gdurkee » Fri May 05, 2006 10:19 pm

Joe:

I can well understand the voyeuristic feeling you had reading it. When I read the manuscript (and I haven't yet read the book...) I had the same feeling, but distanced myself and got sucked into it as a story, kind of forgetting (well, sort of) that I knew it pretty intimately. It's kind of good to be reminded, though, that in all these "true life" stories we read or see on television, that there's real people involved and we're seeing only a small part of their total life -- and one necessarily edited by the writer to tell the story.

Eric (the author) had heard about Randy's disappearance through friends and was drawn to it well before we found Randy. I think he found it a compelling way to tell the story of someone who's life was dedicated to a place. I think it's fair to say that being a backcountry ranger is a pretty unique job in this, or any, society. To continue doing it at the sacrifice of what might be considered a "normal" life -- regular salary, health insurance, retirement, the occasional 'attaboy' from your company -- is, in itself, a pretty good justification for the story. Randy just made it a little weirder. But accurate.

It's an addiction and I'm not sure there's such a thing as a happy ex-backcountry ranger. You might not want to bring the book up with Lo, but I think she and all the other ex's miss it quite a bit... .

And, in other news: I just want to slip this in somewhere. One of our own, backcountry ranger Rob Pilewski, got the NPS Valor Award last week for his actions on the lightning accident near Crabtree Meadows last summer. That's two of the crew who have been so honored. Very cool and very much deserved.

Finally: Blues. Thanks for the attaboy and happy retirement. Maybe run into you in the backcountry.

Take care,

George

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ERIC
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Re: Weirdness in the Sierra

Post by ERIC » Fri May 05, 2006 10:24 pm

gdurkee wrote: And, in other news: I just want to slip this in somewhere. One of our own, backcountry ranger Rob Pilewski, got the NPS Valor Award last week for his actions on the lightning accident near Crabtree Meadows last summer. That's two of the crew who have been so honored. Very cool and very much deserved.
Absolutely! People like you, George, should be commended for their efforts which affect us all! I'm pleased there is an honor like that in place.
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