Huckberry Book Club: Forrest Mankins
Welcome to the second installment of the Huckberry Book Club. Inspired by Charles Post's roundup of outdoor-focused reads, Huckberry Ambassador, photographer, and expert road tripper Forrest Mankins reached out to share his own recommendations. As a man who's spent several rainy nights camping in Montana, Forrest knows a good book can keep you company and, more importantly, keep you inspired. These stories of mystery and adventure are some of his favorite. Read along with us and let us know what you think in the comments below.
At first glance, it’s an easygoing road trip through Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and California with a father and his son, but things quickly turn deeper. As the trip progresses, the philosophical idea of Quality, in both Classic (functional) and Romantic (aesthetic) forms, is interjected throughout the evermore intricate and beguiling storyline. We vacillate between the present tense day-to-day happenings of the trip, chautauquas on the metaphysics of Quality, and flashbacks from the protagonist’s forgotten past, all of which build a shattered windowpane’s view of the story as a whole. This book was a great summer companion while camping in Montana and Wyoming, and I couldn’t wait for a rainstorm or some other excuse to hop in the camper, make a cup of coffee, and read. We soon begin to learn about the protagonist’s forgotten life, with the question of Quality being the catalyst.
Buy: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Being in Montana for the last couple of years, I can’t tell you how many times Indian Creek Chronicles has been recommended to me. I’d even been carrying around a copy on loan for the past six months and hadn’t opened it until last month on a camping trip near the Colorado/Utah border. This book is a firsthand account of the author, Fromm's, experience after volunteering to spend an entire winter alone in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness guarding salmon eggs from freezing all on a last-minute whim. Living in a canvas-wall tent and chopping ice every day seems easy enough until the reality of how alone you are sets in. To be frank, I’ve never been much of a Thoreau fan (to which Fromm is often compared) — I mean, the guy lived just a few miles from his parents when he wrote Walden — but Fromm’s account is intensely and earnestly filled with real adventure, struggle, and story. I finished this book in two days and immediately purchased the follow up The Names of the Stars.
Buy: Indian Creek Chronicles
After 28 seasons as a backcountry ranger, Randy Morgenson, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks' most experienced ranger goes missing. This true account from the 1996 Search and Rescue (SAR) for Randy goes back to his childhood, detailing his upbringing in nature and knowledge of the Sierra, progressing into his experience with the National Parks Service and most recent life events explaining the different theories about what actually happened to Randy. Author Blehm interviewed, in depth, the closest people in Randy’s life, and those who had participated in the SAR. This book was so captivating that I read it in just a few sittings, and, for those of you wondering, all questions are answered in the end.
Buy: The Last Season