From Kim Heacox, the acclaimed author of The Only Kayak and John Muir and the Ice That Started a Fire, comes Rhythm of the Wild, an Alaska memoir focused on Denali National Park. Music runs through every page of this book, as do stories, rivers and wolves. At its heart, Rhythm of the Wild is a love story. It begins in 1981 and ends in 2014, yet reaches beyond the arc of time. Author and mountaineer Jonathan Waterman has called Heacox “our northern Edward Abbey.” In this book we find out why.
We hitchhike with Kim through Idaho, camp on the Colorado Plateau, and fly off the sand cliffs of Hangman Creek with a little terrier named Super Max, the Wonder Dog. We meet Zed, the Aborigine; Nine Fingers, the blues guitarist; and Adolph Murie, the legendary wildlife biologist, who dared to say that wolves should be protected, not persecuted. Kim also reprises in this book his friend Richard Steele, a beloved character from The Only Kayak.
Some books are larger than their actual subject—this is one. Part memoir, part exploration of Denali’s inspiring natural and human history, and part conservation polemic, Rhythm of the Wild ranges from funny to provocative. It’s a celebration of—and a plea to restore and defend—the vibrant earth and our rightful place in it.
Kim Heacox, a former park ranger in Alaska’s Denali, Glacier Bay, and Katmai National Parks, has written a dozen books, most of them on history, biography, and conservation. Rhythm of the Wild is his second memoir, something of a sister book to The Only Kayak (Lyons Press), a 2006 PEN USA Literary Award finalist in creative nonfiction and now in its tenth printing. A keen musician, Kim plays guitar and piano and lives with his wife, Melanie, in the little town of Gustavus, Alaska. Find him on Facebook or visit him at kimheacox.com.