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Come to the library to learn more about two men who walked 452 miles over high mountains

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: BOB WELCH - Bob Welch stands on the Pacific Crest Trail near Thielsen Creek, within sight of Mount Thielsen, which is just east of Diamond Lake in the Umpqua National Forest. At nearly 7,000 feet elevation, its no wonder theres snow still on the ground in late July.For anyone with a little wanderlust or the spirit to set out into the wilderness, knowing the trail would be long and difficult, there is a must-read book.

It’s called “Cascade Summer.” The book was written by Bob Welch, an award-winning columnist for the Register-Guard in Eugene and the author of 17 books.

“Cascade Summer” is a documentary of Welch’s hike of 452 miles over steep and rough terrain at an above-timberline elevation. It also recalls the problems encountered on Mount Hood in late summer 2011 when fires and smoke abruptly ended the long trek.

Welch was accompanied on this hike by his brother-in-law, Glenn Petersen. The duo returned to Mount Hood last summer to complete the short portion of Oregon’s Pacific Crest Trail they were denied the previous summer.

In this book, Welch shares his love for the natural environment, the pristine beauty of undefiled land and the exhilarating feeling a hiker gets while walking on a ridgeline or on reaching a crest after a long uphill climb.

It’s about his love for the outdoors.

Welch will share that love with all comers beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20, at the Sandy Public Library. He is expected to show photos and discuss the book, the trip and the writing project as well as answer all questions.

Signed copies of the book will be available at the community meeting.

Welch says readers will deepen their appreciation for the “amazing beauty of the state,” understand the history of Judge John Waldo (the father of Oregon’s wilderness), and to realize there are reachable goals that might seem unreachable.

On that last point, Welch said he and Petersen are average sedentary workers — each nearly 60 years old.

For an author who has a variety of eclectic interests — as seen in the many genres of his writings — outdoor adventure writing is one of his gifts.

In addition to this adventure genre, Welch has written about World War II, fathers and sons, a children’s book and a book titled “52 Little Lessons From It’s a Wonderful Life.”

“I try to go where the spirit leads me,” Welch said. “I have not become a best-selling author, but I have had so much fun because I have written every story I have wanted to write. I just go where my heart takes me.”

“Cascade Summer” is an inspirational invitation to do something like Welch’s effort, no matter how small in comparison.

“Just get out there” is his mantra, and its message is delivered in such descriptive ways that often just reading his words brings the reader similar mental images and feelings of being present in a nearly untrod forest.

But when Welch talks of his struggle with fatigue, pain, blisters and extremely long days, his words help you feel like you’re standing on the Pacific Crest Trail near Freye Lake or Minnie Scott Springs or Tolo Camp.

Here’s what he has to say about the overall experience: “The PCT is about resiliency,” he wrote. “About getting up when you’ve been knocked down, taking another step when you don’t want to, moving forward when dreams shatter with the suddenness of a lightning bolt splintering a towering pine.”

When he talks about the up-and-down topography of the long trail, he speaks of every day hiking up and down the flanks of mountains, buttes or ridges.

“The PCT was a tree-lined roller coaster,” Welch wrote, “occasionally coated with snow.”

Welch has a mentor relationship with Oregon’s answer to John Muir. The book is dedicated to the memory of Judge John Breckenridge Waldo, the state’s first native-born chief justice of the Supreme Court and a symbol of hope for preserving the Cascade Range.

Readers will find themselves repeatedly going back to read portions of this book over again, looking to share an experience with Welch that figuratively brings wafts of that crisp mountain air into their nostrils and that feeling of unmitigated freedom in a land that time will not change.

To learn more about Welch’s adventure, visit with him at the community meeting in the library Aug. 20. For more information, call 503-668-5537.

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