Reviews from: Outside
A project that derives from a marketing ploy those tantalizing, expedition photos and essays that strenuously don't pitch product in Patagonia's Inc.'s catalogs turns out to make a joyful, spectacularly good book. The 49 short essays are intense, first-person testaments by trekkers, water rats, and other outback sorts who have been to the edge and over, and then scrabbled back. Some are professionals at the word game Gretel Ehrlich, Doug Peacock but many of the best are not. Much of the joy, sure enough, is of the feels-good-when-it-stops variety. Read Bob McDougall on "Drowning," or nearly, while kayaking the Stikine. For giddy contrast, read Women Outside's own Jean Weiss on telemarking to a Jackson Hole Christmas party from a snowbound cabin with a foxy black cocktail dress flying like a banner from her pack. These are the sleeping bag yarns of the best sort.
From the company that makes great adventure clothing comes a beautiful and inspiring collection of images and essays, many of which first appeared in their catalog. Patagonia: Notes from the Field touches nearly every wild spot on the globe, from icy reaches to steaming jungles, fast rivers to calm inlets of reflection. Written by kayakers and climbers, fishers and environmental fighters, the adventures are funny, poignant, insightful and terrifying.
Nora Gallagher has edited the Patagonia catalog for 15 years. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Mother Jones, and other publications. Author of the book Things Seen and Unseen, she lives in Santa Barbara, California.