I’M HONOURED AND THRILLED to announce that backpacker and author Chris Townsend has agreed to relaunch two of his books through my publishing imprint, the Enchanted Rock Press. The first of these books will be High Summer, to be released early this summer, 2024.
I first came across Chris in 1988 when I was a novice backpacker heading for a weekend in the Pennines. I picked up a backpacking magazine to read on the train, and within its pages discovered a report by Chris from the journey he was then on: the first end-to-end traverse of the Canadian Rockies.
Back then, I’d barely been anywhere genuinely wild myself. The furthest I’d walked was a mere forty miles! So, to read about someone walking 1,600 miles along the entire length of a wilderness mountain range in a far-away continent made a significant impression. There were grizzly bears! And days spent travelling cross-country far from people or even trails! A couple of weeks later, I began reading the first of his books – The Great Backpacking Adventure – and, arguably, it changed my life. Walking the entire length of complete mountain ranges was possible? Living in wild nature for months at a time was what some people did? Could I, perhaps, do that too?
Yes, Chris’ journeys, stories and photographs, and his respectful approach to nature, inspired me. I have little doubt they have also inspired countless others.
In the years since, Chris has continued to inspire me with his journeys, his knowledge, his approach to nature, and his defense of the wild. He even inspired in person when I had the great fortune to meet him in 2019 here in the Colorado Rockies. They say you should never meet your heroes because they seldom live up to expectations. Well, I’m glad I didn’t listen. Chris exceeded expectations. He was authentic, approachable, knowledgeable, and so down to earth. Walking with him was a joy! Walking with Chris.
Fast forward to 2024, and I’m now able to repay some of what Chris has given through helping him relaunch High Summer. I can’t overstate how much of an honour this is!
High Summer tells the story of the FIRST continuous walk along the entire length of the Canadian Rockies. It was a truly adventurous wilderness journey, notably different in character from most thru-hikes undertaken and written about these days. High Summer is not an account of someone following a well-trodden path. For much of this walk there was no path at all!
High Summer was first published in 1989, but it’s been out of print far too long. It deserves to be accessible to readers again! This book is certain to inspire a whole new audience.
The new edition will contain many more photos than appeared back in 1989. It will also include new footnotes by Chris, which will give a fascinating extra perspective into the journey. High Summer will be re-launched early this summer. For further news, details and photos – watch this space!
To learn more about Chris and his journeys, please visit his frequently-updated and ever-fascinating website: ChrisTownsendOutdoors.