Former high desert rancher Ellen Waterston writes of a wild, essentially roadless, starkly beautiful part of the American West. Following the recently created 750-mile Oregon Desert Trail, she embarks on a creative and inquisitive exploration, introducing readers to a "trusting, naïve, earnest, stubbly, grumpy old man of a desert" that is grappling with issues at the forefront of national, if not global, concern: public land use, grazing rights for livestock, protection of sacred Indigenous ground, water rights, and protection of habitat for endangered species.
Blending travel writing with memoir and history, Waterston profiles a wide range of people who call the high desert home and offers fresh perspectives on nationally reported regional conflicts such as the Malheur Wildlife Refuge occupation. Walking the High Desert invites readers―wherever they may be―to consider their own beliefs, identities, and surroundings through the optic of the high desert of southeastern Oregon.
ELLEN WATERSTON is author of Where the Crooked Desert Rises: A High Desert Home, a memoir, four poetry collections, and a verse novel. She is the founder and president of the Waterston Desert Writing Prize and the founder of the Writing Ranch in Bend, Oregon.