The problem with reading a book that is based on an event from more than 20 years ago is that you might think you already know all there is to know. Fortunately, I knew nothing about “The Last Season” (the book or the premise) except what my friend Jill said in recommending it to me.

The title holds no mystery in what the book is about – “The Last Season: Randy Morgenson was legendary for finding people missing in the High Sierra. … Then one day he went missing himself” (HarperCollins, 2006). Author Eric Blehm is a master storyteller. This could have been a bland story about happens to a seasonal backcountry national park ranger. Instead, it is a page turner.

This book is so compelling that it would make for a good movie. I didn’t say “great movie” because most movies can never do a book justice. Still, the story is movie-worthy, and I know the scenery of Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks is magnificent.

While Ranger Morgenson is the focus of the book, life as a ranger, the magic of the Southern Sierra Mountains, the people who call this area home – they are all part of the story. The human element mixed with the majesty of the terrain these men and women protected is in part a love story these rangers have for the land.

Blehm is able to weave the good, the bad and ugly into the book. He seems to leave no stone unturned. Life in this rugged terrain takes a toll on people – physically, mentally, emotionally. It’s not all beauty no matter the natural surroundings. By the end of the book I felt an emotional connection to these people I have never met, nor am I likely to meet.

I would have liked to have known Morgenson, to hear his stories. He embraced the need to explore the mountains, to discover the wild, to take it slow, to appreciate what you are experiencing. We share the belief that the journey is more important than the destination.

This book will definitely take you on a journey.

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