Foy's Reviews > The Last Season

The Last Season by Eric Blehm
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Aug 04, 09

bookshelves: wilderness-and-conservation
Read in July, 2009

The chronicle of the life and death of park ranger Randy Morgenson is told in the pages of Eric Blehm's "The Last Season." Randy, who grew up beneath the granite peaks of Yosemite, works as a seasonal park ranger in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park for nearly three decades. With the help of his father, who himself was a famed naturalist leading tours in Yosemite, and several other illustrious nature lovers such as Ansel Adams, Morgenson develops a deep love for the wilderness and works hard developing his photography and writings skills to capture it. However, his real knack is the skills he employed as a seasonal back country park ranger. Randy knew, almost by instinct, the location of missing hikers and his encyclopedic knowledge of the back country was a resource for the backpackers he came across as well as his fellow park employees.

However, after thirty years in the woods, all was not well in the wild. Randy, having been married for most of his adult life, began having an affair with a fellow ranger. After successfully hiding the transgression for a short while, his wife was devastated when she found out. When Randy went into the hills for the 1996 season, few knew he was carrying divorce papers from his wife in his pack. Only in retrospect would his friends question his actions before going off. Randy told one friend, "With all that they have given me, a body is the least I owe these mountains." Despite his years of wilderness experience, Randy left his ranger station for patrol and disappeared. "The Last Season" tells his story: his youth, his love of the mountains, the desperate search for his remains, and the theories as to what actually happened.

Enjoyable and quickly readable is the narrative prose of Blehm, who winds the tale of Randy's life together with his tenure as park ranger in a non-chronological manner. Long quotes from Morgenson's journals, while not breath-taking writing, provide a glimpse into his intense relationship with nature as well as his disdain for those who abuse it. I would recommend this book for lovers of the genre. For others, it is worth a shot, but there is a possibility of getting bogged down before the real suspense of the search.
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Quotes Foy Liked

Eric Blehm
“The least I owe these mountains is a body. - Randy Morgenson”
Eric Blehm, The Last Season


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07/27/2009 page 250
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