Desert Solitaire was a very different type of environmental book than I am used to reading. Abbey obviously has an intense affection for the world around him in Arches National Monument, however, he has an extreme dislike of people. I can see where he’s coming from as I also agree that tourists who aren’t used to camping or being out in nature can be extremely annoying. They don’t seem to appreciate the Earth in the same way. But, Abbey’s feelings are a bit stronger than mine. He mentions that national parks shouldn’t be accessible by cars and that only those who truly want to experience nature with their whole body will then be willing and deserving to come. This is a good idea in theory, but what about people who are handicapped and want to be out in nature? It would be much too difficult for them to see the national park and to enjoy themselves completely because of the intense physical effort.
Overall, I agreed with most of Abbey’s ideas and felt that the book gave a pretty good description of what living for a while in Utah all by yourself would be like, especially if you enjoy nature. I found this even more interesting considering I just accepted an internship for the summer where I will be living and doing work 20 miles away from Moab and will most likely spend time in Arches National Park. I kind of treated this book as a preview for what my summer might be like.
I also think it is worth mentioning the strange story that Abbey spent a very long time telling about the gold miner who was killed and then his son wandered out into the desert and basically fried to death in the sun. What was that? I felt that this had absolutely no relation to the style or subject of the rest of the book and didn’t see the point at all. If anyone else found a reason for this I’d be glad to hear it.