On the lookout for Edward Abbey …

On the lookout for Edward Abbey …

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Edward Abbey (1927-1989) was an American author, essayist and environmental pioneer. His best-known works include the novel The Monkey Wrench Gang and the non-fiction work Desert Solitaire.

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He wrote many of his great works, including Black Sun and The Journey Home essays, while working as a fire lookout in national parks throughout the United States. The lookout posts he inhabited included Pearsoll Peak, Oregon.

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He also stayed in Numa Ridge in Glacier National Park, Montana, and Aztec Peaks in Arizona. In fact, the trail to Aztec Peaks is even named after him – Abbey’s Way Trail, number 151. He manned Atascosa Lookout, Arizona, during the 1968 summer fire season — and described the lookout as a “flimsy old frame shack” in one of his journals.

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“When I’m writing a book I pack a lunchbox every morning, retire to my shack down by the wash and hide for four or five hours.” (1981 letter). He typically warmed up for a morning of writing by lighting up his corncob pipe and firing off a letter or two. He did not particularly like settling down to work.
“I hate commitments, obligations and working under pressure, ” he wrote to his editor. “But on the other hand, I like getting paid in advance and I only work under pressure.” [1]

  1. Extract from Daily Rituals by Mason Currey
  2. Website dedicated to Edward Abbey

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