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The Last Season    by Eric Blehm order for
Last Season
by Eric Blehm
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2007 (2006)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

I found The Last Season by Eric Blehm in a thrift shop. Not being a mountain climber and terrified of heights, I almost passed it by. On a whim, I bought it and could hardly put it down.

San Francisco Chronicle called it 'A deeply layered, meticulously researched, greatly entertaining read'. I concur. A really great read that, even though you know the outcome right from the very beginning, captures your attention.

Backcountry Park Ranger Randy Morgenson had disappeared in the very mountains he knew and loved so well. Everyone knew he had hit a point in his life where he was questioning whether to continue with his summer job or to steer his life in another direction. When he didn't return from a patrol, a Search and Rescue (SAR) operation started. As time went by, at one point, there were search parties almost covering the whole of the Sierra Nevada Mountains along with helicopters, trained dogs and their handlers, as well as the men and women who performed the same tasks as Morgenson.

He was a legend in his own time. He always seemed to know where a missing hiker might be. His encounters with those hikers and climbers were always cordial, though short, even though part of his job was backpacking back to camp the detritus left behind by careless users of the parks. Sometimes filling a fifty pound backpack! Although married, he was a loner by nature. Lived life by his own dictates.

The Last Season relates the story of Morgenson's life and death. This was a man so in love with nature, he knew all the Latin names for the flora and fauna he treasured. Meticulous detail allows the reader to join this man on his patrols and enjoy what he saw and recounted in his daily log.

It's a lovely book written by an author who never met Morgenson, but who manages to bring him back to life. Anyone who camps and/or climbs will devour this book in just a few sittings.

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