[Repost from May 28, 2008] I just finished reading the book The Last Season by Eric Blehm and what a great read it is.The story is about Randy Morgenson, a backcountry ranger for twenty-eight seasons at Kings Canyon National Park, who goes missing in July 1996. The book details the search and events surrounding his disappearance, the life Randy lived until he went missing, and historical perspectives about the National Park Service backcountry/wilderness rangers and mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
I bought the book two years ago while browsing through Border’s here in Eugene. I read the front cover and thought to myself, “That sounds like a search I was on in 1996.” Well, I wasn’t wrong. I worked on the Yosemite National Park Search and Rescue team in summer 1996 as a search and rescue intern and we were called out to this search on July 27. We were flown to the backcountry where we spent five days searching for Randy in some of the most beautiful terrain one could imagine. For me, this book provided clarity and truth to questions that were only speculations at the time I was on the search. Though my book sat on the shelf for almost two years, I highly recommend reading this book today
You can learn more about the book here: http://thelastseason.com/.
Immediately following my completion of The Last Season, I dove into reading Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. The book captured my attention so well that, despite trying to finish graduate school in the next three weeks, I read the book in three days. I haven’t read a book this quick since the Peace Corps three years ago.
This is truly an inspirational story on how one person can make a difference in a world filled with unnecessary conflict. Though he didn’t start out to be a spokesperson against the war on terror, he sure has found ground in showing that there is another avenue to create peace in this world than through current U.S. foreign policy. His story of perseverance to build one school in Pakistan has flourished into a highly successful NGO called The Central Asia Institute. It is built on an understanding of cultures and empowering women through education.
This book details Greg’s life and how he went to build schools, clinics, and other necessary institutions in rural areas of north Pakistan and Afghanistan. Through his story you learn about the politics, religions, and cultures of Pakistan and Afghanistan, mountaineering history in Central Asia, and U.S. influence, or lack of, in this region. It is a gripping story that truly inspires one to be a catalyst for peace in a world filled with conflict.