By John Hales

ISBN-10: 0826216161

ISBN-13: 9780826216168

ISBN-10: 0826264956

ISBN-13: 9780826264954


taking pictures Polaris is John Hales’s interesting and far-reaching account of operating as a central authority surveyor within the southern Utah wilderness. In it, he describes his look for a spot within the wildlife, starting with a day spent monitoring down a misplaced group member who cracked up at the activity and concluding together with his supervising a bunch of at-risk young ones on a backpacking journey within the Escalante desolate tract. In among, he depicts a variety of reports in and out of doors nature, together with opposed barroom encounters among surveyors and travelers, weekends spent mountaineering Navajo Mountain and floating what continues to be of Glen Canyon, and late-night arguments about the which means and goal of nature with the eccentric polygamist who ran town within which the surveyors parked their bunk trailers.   
            even if this paintings is autobiographical, capturing Polaris is much more. it's a mirrored image on man’s courting to nature and paintings, American heritage and the flow into the West, the will to impose order and the opposite impulse for unmediated adventure, the idealistic legacy of the sixties, the impression of the Mormon Church, and the often-antagonistic courting of yankee capitalism to sound ecological administration. alongside the way in which, Hales introduces enticing characters and divulges the artwork, technological know-how, and background of surveying, an exercise that seems to be unusually profound.

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Additional info for Shooting Polaris: A Personal Survey in the American West

Sample text

The canyon walls were already crowded with pictographs painted and chiseled by citizens of the long-departed Frémont culture, themselves probably not the first inhabitants of our township, markings that, in addition to representing the sun and moon, might well be translated as some kind of Neolithic call to arms, an indigenous version of the stars and stripes, a pre-Columbian statement of nationalistic fervor, perhaps even the prehistoric equivalent of a survey marker. S. government surveyors. Larry came up with a plan to get us through the swamp without chaining.

Although I was still a beginner, I’d proven on peaks in the Tetons and the Wasatch that I was capable of some pretty good moves on rock. I wasn’t especially coordinated or agile, but I had balance and what I thought was a good sense of friction, a sensitivity to just how sticky my boot’s grip was on a specific piece of rock. I remember thinking the day before that I’d probably go a little farther down this spine of sandstone if I had the rope belay I’d come to depend on in my more recreational climbs.

I finally managed to get my name on the right list and was offered a job with the Bureau of Land Management, working on a survey crew. One of my college roommates had worked as a surveyor, and he told me it was a great job: it’s the kind of work you take turns doing, he said; you work your ass off for an hour, then you wait for the next guy in the crew to do his job and work his ass off, and you do all this amid some of the prettiest landscapes in Utah, which has a lot of world-class scenery. You make okay money by the hour, and you get paid per diem, a twelve-dollar daily stipend, most of which you can pocket by eating cheap, and it’s not even remotely like forklifting crates of napalm into cargo planes headed for our clients in Vietnam.

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Shooting Polaris: A Personal Survey in the American West by John Hales

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