Breaking into the Backcountry


Breaking into the Backcountry

Steve Edwards

192 pages


October 2010


$16.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

October 2010


$16.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Writing with an elegant simplicity and resilient reverence, Edwards proves to be an astute and passionate observer of both human and Mother Nature.—Carol Haggas, Booklist Online

In 2001 Steve Edwards won a writing contest. The prize was seven months of “unparalleled solitude” as the caretaker of a ninety-two-acre backcountry homestead along the Rogue National Wild and Scenic River in southwestern Oregon. Young, recently divorced, and humbled by the prospect of so much time alone, he left behind his job as a college English teacher in Indiana and headed west for a remote but comfortable cabin in the rugged Klamath Mountains. Well aware of what could go wrong living two hours from town with no electricity and no neighbors, Edwards was surprised by what could go right.

In prose that is by turns lyrical, introspective, and funny, Breaking into the Backcountry is the story of what he discovered: that alone, in a wild place, each day is a challenge and a gift. Whether chronicling the pleasures of a day-long fishing trip, his first encounter with a black bear, a lightning storm and the threat of fire, the beauty of a steelhead, the attacks of 9/11, or a silence so profound that a black-tailed deer chewing grass outside his window could wake him from sleep, Edwards’s careful evocation of the river canyon and its effect on him testifies to the enduring power of wilderness to transform a life. 

Author Bio

Steve Edwards lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, with his wife and young son.


“Steve Edwards’s Rogue River wilderness is a place that offers many gifts, among them the words in this beautifully rendered, wonder-filled book. On its pages, we are invited to move beyond cynicism, loss, and fear—as he does—in order to embrace the life-changing ‘miracle of solitude.’”—John T. Price, author of Not Just Any Land and Man Killed by Pheasant and Other Kinships

“Steve Edwards left Indiana for seven months of solitude in Oregon’s Rogue River Canyon. As he offered himself up to his fears, his loneliness, a pathway of heart and mindfulness opened from within to lead him through his sojourn and into this story. Quietly and clearly told, unflaggingly honest, Breaking into the Backcountry joins a growing body of contemporary writing in the American contemplative tradition. It’s a beautiful book.”—John Daniel, author of The Far Corner and Rogue River Journal

"Writing with an elegant simplicity and resilient reverence, Edwards proves to be an astute and passionate observer of both human and Mother Nature."—Carol Haggas, Booklist Online

"In clean prose that is both introspective and self-deprecating, Edwards tells the age-old story of how the wilderness has the power to transform a life."—Anna Nair, Shelf Unbound

"Edwards' honesty is refreshing, especially when, as a self-conscious male writing in Hemingway's Man-Against-Nature mode, he candidly catalogues his fears: bears, extended solitude, and the harrowing dread that he has nothing new to say in a world overflowing with books."—Annie Dawid, High Country News

Table of Contents

1. Getting There
2. The Big Quiet
3. Breaking into the Backcountry
4. Vocation to Solitude
5. Spring Visitors
6. Ownership
7. The Other Side of the Mountain
8. Heat of the Summer
9. Big Aaron's Visit
10. Premonitions
11. Aftershocks
12. Autumn on the Rogue

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