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The Lost Grizzlies: A Search for Survivors in the Colorado Wilderness

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  398 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Do grizzly bears still wander the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, where they have long been considered extinct? If so, can they elude the naturalists determined to prove that these bears, smarter than all other bears, survive in the mountain wilderness? Rick Bass, along with veteran grizzly expert Doug Peacock and biologist Dennis Sizemore, search for proof - a claw mark o ...more
Hardcover, 239 pages
Published December 31st 1995 by Houghton Mifflin (first published 1995)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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David Bales
Jul 25, 2011 David Bales rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
I really wanted to read this book, my second on the subject, but was really disappointed in the style of Rick Bass, who seemed to just meander around in the woods with a group of misfits--a former medic from Vietnam turned mountain man who was unable to interact normally around people, etc., etc. Most of the time they spent drinking heavily, babbling about nature, and wandering around. No self-respecting long-lost Colorado grizzly would come within 100 miles of their whining, complaining drunken ...more
Mark Stevens
Oct 21, 2012 Mark Stevens rated it it was amazing
“The Lost Grizzlies” could have been published last week or last year--but is, in fact, 15 years old.

There is little that didn’t feel like it couldn’t have happened recently. The search, after all, is still on.

Going backcountry with grizzly expert Doug Peacock and biologist Dennis Sizemore, Bass makes three trips into The San Juan Mountains to search for tracks, claw marks and scat. Or a bear. A bear sighting wouldn’t hurt. “The Lost Grizzlies” is as much about Rick and his erstwhile collection
...more
Matt
Feb 23, 2016 Matt rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
Bass goes gaga for Peacock the first however many hundred pages, and they all just look like dumbasses in the woods, with their land ethic that mostly amounts to "let's get drunk and stomp through the woods looking for bear shit," and "we should be here, but no one else should, because they'll ruin this land in ways that we won't." I don't get the love for Peacock here (he seems to be an Abbey disciple that somehow comes off as maybe even more of an ass...), nor do I care for the junk show shena ...more
Jamie
Barry Lopez said that, as a reader, the least you can do for a writer— or the most you can do, the best— is to spend as much time reading as they did writing. Think about all the ways that’s impossible to do. But then: think about the books where you want to try.

I didn’t spend as much time reading this as Rick Bass did writing it. Not the three summers in the San Juans, not the years of friendships and research and passion that made it possible. But it’s the kind of book where I lean in to list
...more
Ben
Jul 27, 2014 Ben rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I can see this book only reaching certain readers. If you do not possess an abundance of patience for Bass's prose then you will not see the beauty, as I have. Bass's prose mirrors the winding pursuit to answer definitively the question of the grizzly bears existence in the San Juan Mountains. Not every page, nor every chapter for that matter, is going to dazzle readers with riveting accounts about grizzly bears, but it will colorfully describe the characters involved and char ...more
Marlène
Quand on conseille un livre de Rick Bass, c'est souvent The Book of Yaak ou The Lost Grizzlies. On se pose la question, compte tenu du nombre d'écrits de Bass, de l'ordre de lecture. J'ai commencé par deux fictions puis poursuivi par The Book of Yaak, puis décidé de tenter une lecture plus ou moins chronologique. Je ne sais pas si finalement c'est bien nécessaire...
Lire Bass, pour moi, c'est une question d'humeur et d'attentes. J'ai de loin préféré Winter & the Book of Yaak à The Lost Grizz
...more
Jennifer Boyce
Feb 10, 2014 Jennifer Boyce rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, animals
After reading the first 50 or so pages of this book, I realized that I had read those pages before, and gotten no further. So I tried again, but I still couldn't get into this book.

The writing is definitely not to my taste. For a nonfiction book about searching for bears in the wilderness, the author certainly does spend a lot of time talking about the people he's with and what life with them is like. I found his descriptions of the people and their actions annoying. I'm pretty sure that Peacock
...more
Joey Beatty
Jul 08, 2012 Joey Beatty rated it it was amazing
Everything I read by Rick Bass, I thoroughly love. I love his perspective, I love his respect for wilderness, for natural balances, I love his reverence and his ideology, his suggestions for ways to fix the harrowing problems presented by our frighteningly rapid expansion of civilization, the diminishing realms of wildness around us, I love his humility in the face of the mighty mysteries and intricacies that comprise the communities of nature. I love that he acknowledges our place in nature, an ...more
Melissa
Jun 28, 2011 Melissa rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
This is a very unique book written by an author that has a wonderful way with words. Its kind of a book about discovery and people with different ideas but one common goal, to see a grizzly bear.

Rick Bass tells this book in three parts. Each describes a trip that he takes out to the San Juan Mountains in Colorado to determine if there are still Grizzly Bears in the area. They are thought to be hunted out, but more and more evidence points to the fact that they may still be roaming the mountains,
...more
Kerri Stebbins
I'm not sure where to begin this review, so much are my thoughts still throbbing around the complexity of the many themes central to this story, which are as much about Rick Bass and his eccentric band of grizzly-revering brothers as they are about the ethical and geographic conundrums centering around the reintegration of shrinking species, and the overwhelming need to reclaim, before it's too late, wild places for the maintaining of their sacristy, and for the survival of all species, mankind ...more
Peter
Jun 29, 2015 Peter rated it really liked it
A superb, well-executed and well-felt examination of the grizzlies of the San Juans. Bass makes a persuasive case for their presence-- but more than that, a persuasive argument for the value and need of wildness inside us all. I think they're out there, but then again, that's where I want them. But this book is about the journey, not the destination.
Don Glenn
Nov 18, 2011 Don Glenn rated it really liked it
I liked the book on several levels. the personalities were unique. I have met crazy's before, Doug Peacock is one of them. His antics were interesting and made the story worth reading. The writing was clear and scenic when they were in the mountains. A good read on a cold afternoon. The book left a bit to desire when they were out of the mountains. The reader was left hanging when the question was asked, do they still live in the San Juan's. There was plenty of scat to retrieve but no conclusive ...more
Patrick Dean
Sep 10, 2014 Patrick Dean rated it really liked it
The essential power and mystery of the wild: Rick Bass writes about it as well as anyone. In this 1995 account of his search, in the company of Doug Peacock ("Grizzly Years"), for evidence of grizzlies in the San Juans of Colorado, Bass gets to the heart of things. Highly recommended.
Sharon
Sep 16, 2016 Sharon rated it liked it
This introduction to R. Bass recommended to me was an interesting entree into the Southern Colorado wilderness by word rather than by foot or by car. While I may have expected a more technical read, this was a fairly relaxed tromp into the woods with its fair share of characters, misadventures, and ultimately, a few sightings to keep the hunt and the nature of the beast alive.
David Ward
Sep 23, 2015 David Ward rated it liked it
Shelves: animals, non-fiction
The Lost Grizzlies: A Search For Survivors in the Colorado Wilderness by Rick Bass (Houghton Miflin Harcourt 1995) (599.74446) is the story of the search for proof that the grizzly bear has somehow managed to survive in the San Juan mountains of Colorado. A ragtag band of professional and amateur naturalists searching the mountains so desperately hope to prove that the grizzly has not been extirpated that they almost manage to convince themselves. After reading this, I'm not sure that Doug Peaco ...more
Cameron
Nov 12, 2008 Cameron rated it liked it
I was amazed by his collection of Hermit's Story essays. This is a much different Rick Bass.

I'v had to forgive him for being lazy in this book. It is more of a diary/journal than anything else. There are some good moments, enough to keep reading, and once the myth of Doug Peacock was replaced by Bass's (realistic?) version, I've had plenty to think about.

Ultimately I can't get away from the feeling that this book could have been condensed down to thirty kick ass pages instead of a few hundred
...more
John
Dec 18, 2007 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe there are grizzlies left in Colorado.
Not because there is fact to prove it but because I want it to be true. Robert Fulghum is quoted as saying "I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge - myth is more potent than history - dreams are more powerful than facts - hope always triumphs over experience...."
This book tells the story of a handful of men who believe in grizzlies and are searching for them in CO. The world is a better place if there are grizzlies in CO.
Charles
Dec 19, 2011 Charles rated it liked it
Are they still there? I doubt it-way too many people all over Colorado these days, but the search is interesting, and Bass travels with some unique folks (the Grizz expert Doug Peacock among them) and through some swell Colorado mountains, which makes for a good read...and there is an encounter that leaves us all, including Rick Bass, guessing about the possibility of Grizz in the Centennial State. Certainly a worthwhile read.
Jeff
Jan 26, 2009 Jeff rated it it was ok
This was the first book I read by Rick Bass. I don't really enjoy his writing style. He seems too preachy and like the weight of the world rests on every action.

I also didn't like that they didn't talk at all about the evidence they found afterward.

I did like the brief glimpse at Doug Peacock and the subject matter in general.
Tom
Feb 24, 2012 Tom rated it it was amazing
I'm not much of a reader of non-fiction, but this book carried me along on its narrative quite movingly. I loved the people in the story, the sense of longing for what was and the disappointment for what is in america's thirst for land, which has displaced so many fine animals. A great read.
Giulio
Jan 17, 2009 Giulio rated it it was ok
This book is divided into three chapters, the first one says very little about bears and is more of a biography of Doug Peacock (interesting, but I want to read about bears). If your interested in Colorado grizzles, then I recommend David Peterson's book Ghost Grizzles.
jack
i liked this one too. i really like rick bass. his writing is not pompous, but detailed, educational, adventurous, and heartfelt. this book features doug peacock who has also written a grizzly book worth looking into.
Ethan
Oct 08, 2015 Ethan rated it it was amazing
The author's thoughts on wilderness are poetic and hit close to home. It was also very interesting to read the author's descriptions of Doug Peacock's personality and mannerisms in civilization vs. wilderness.
Kimberlybrennantyler
I love Rick Bass's writing and his style comes through in this book. Unfortunately, I was looking for a book about grizzly behavior filled with lots of science and this was more of a personal commentary.
Travis
Jul 18, 2011 Travis rated it really liked it
A wonderful narrative about Bass tromping through the rockies looking for the last living grizzlies. Amazing people fighting for these amazing animals. Chock full of fun facts and stories.
Zoia
Jul 26, 2012 Zoia rated it liked it
Not enough grizzlies. Also, Bass's observation that the idea of grizzlies in Colorado is almost as important as their actual existence is not so much hammered home as it is bludgeoned to death.
Harry Babin
Sep 03, 2012 Harry Babin rated it it was amazing


This is a great book filled with the strong personalities of the Colorado wilderness. As an elk hunter, hiker and camper who knows what's up in that back country?
Bridget Everly
Sep 24, 2007 Bridget Everly rated it really liked it
I have read and re-read this book. A combination mystery, quest, and true nature writing all in one. If you have ever wondered what could be out there...read this book.
Jay
Apr 08, 2007 Jay rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Someone interesed in chasing their dreams
This is book based here in Colorado. After reading it I wanted to go camping in this area (Southwest) but have still not gone there. To be honest, kind of a thriller.
Amy
Sep 28, 2014 Amy rated it it was amazing
Oh, how I wish there were some grizzlies still in the San Juan's of Colorado....
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Rick Bass was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in Houston, the son of a geologist. He studied petroleum geology at Utah State University and while working as a petroleum geologist in Jackson, Mississippi, began writing short stories on his lunch breaks. In 1987, he moved with his wife, the artist Elizabeth Hughes Bass, to Montana’s remote Yaak Valley and became an active environmentalist, wo ...more
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“I'm surprised when I walk right into yet another abandoned hunters' camp. Tattered plastic sheeting still hangs askew here and there. Blackened aerosol cans of Cheez Whiz sit in the fire pit, which sits in the middle of the trail. Assorted Styro-ware. Rotten leather boots. Where are these people? Are they back in civilization now, appearing to all observers to be as normal as pie, but inwardly ticking like time bombs and spreading their hot poisonous seed through the world like black-breathed plague?” 0 likes
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