Listening for Coyote

William Sullivan | Nonfiction memoir, 1988

238 pages


Over the next few years, it is my intention that my motor-home Udea and I visit many of Oregon’s parks that I have missed along the way.  So, I thought reading Listening for Coyote, which is William Sullivan’s journal as he walks from the westernmost point of Oregon to the easternmost point, would be a fine inspiration.  And that it is.

This book was published in 1988, the year Beryl and I made Oregon our adopted home.  So, fitting for my Oregonian beginnings as well. Of course, things looked different when Sullivan made this 1361-mile solo backpacking trip in 1985.  For example, dear Bendites, the Badlands Wilderness was not a reality then.  And growing marijuana was illegal and done under circumspect circumstances in the wilderness.

As with other Sullivan writings, he is clear, accurate (or as accurate as one can be in the wilderness), and remarkably observant.  This book is rich with tidbits like this, “This ancient Klamath shale is just the place to look for the fossil imprints of trilobites and sycamore leaves, since shale preserves fossils as neatly as wildflowers pressed in the pages of a dictionary.” (pg 68).

I give this book 3 hearts because if you are not an Oregonian and not a Sullivan fan, you might not appreciate it all that much.  But my local friends who enter the mountains with pages copied from one 100 Hikes book or another, may just revel in his experiences.  I did.