On the lookout for Edward Abbey …

On the lookout for Edward Abbey …


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.


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.


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.


“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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