How did you come to know and work with Torrey House Press?
I first learned of Torrey House Press when they published of Elen Meloy’s essays, Seasons: Desert Sketches in 2019. Meloy is a major writing inspiration to me and kindred desert spirit. Then, that same year, one of my best friends, R.E. Burrillo signed with THP to publish his first book, Behind the Bears Ears. From listening to his experiences, I knew that THP would be a thoughtful and knowledgeable publisher for my book also focused on the Bears Ears and Glen Canyon region.
What made you decide to retrace Bernheimer’s expeditions? What were you most surprised to learn along the way?
In the span of one week three authors asked if I had ever considered retracing Bernheimer’s Expeditions. I had just bought a copy of the book and was reading it at my camp, where I was living in a snowy canyon. His 1919 and 1929 passed right by the same spot which further intrigued me to figure out where he went and follow.
The grandest realization I’ve had is that in following something that speaks deeply to me, it may defy explanation for long periods of time. But in trusting that instinct, what Harvey Leake and Wolfkiller explained to me as the path of light or inner light, I found myself on a journey that transformed my life and philosophy in every way possible. I met new people who became dear friends, connected with local Tribes, learned how little I truly I need to be fulfilled, and found the meaning of home in the desert. And above all, the healing power of place is potent. This is among the most important reasons we must look to Indigenous people and help them protect the places they recognize as sacred.
It’s all pretty wild considering this emerged from living in my Jeep and walking around with some dead white guy’s confusing notes.