Nick Neely - Alta California (Corte Madera Store)

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - 7:00pm

In conversation with Will Hearst

In Alta California, Nick Neely chronicles his 550-mile trek on foot from San Diego to San Francisco, following the route of the first overland Spanish expedition into what was then called Alta California. Led by Gaspar de Portol in 1769, the expedition sketched a route that would become the famous El Camino Real. It laid the foundation for the Golden State we know today, a place that remains as mythical and captivating as any in the world.

Neely grew up in California, but realized how little he knew about its history. So he set off to learn it bodily, with just a backpack, trekking through stretches of California both lonely and urban. For twelve weeks, following the journal of expedition missionary Father Juan Cresp , Neely kept pace with the ghost of the Portol expedition--nearly 250 years later.

In a weave of natural and human history, Alta California relives his adventure, tells the story of Native cultures and the Spanish missions that soon devastated them, and explores the evolution of California and its landscape. The result is a collage of past and present, of lyricism and pedestrian serendipity, and of the biggest issues facing California today--water, agriculture, oil and gas, immigration, and development--all of it one step at a time.

Nick Neely holds an MA in literature and the environment from the University of Nevada, Reno, and MFAs in nonfiction and poetry from Hunter College and Columbia University. He is a recipient of PEN/Northwest's Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency, a UC Berkeley-11th Hour Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship, and the 2015 John Burroughs Nature Essay Award. The author of Coast Range, he lives in Hailey, Idaho, with his wife, the painter Sarah Bird.

Location: 
51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925
Alta California: From San Diego to San Francisco, a Journey on Foot to Rediscover the Golden State Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781640091658
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Counterpoint LLC - November 5th, 2019

Braiding nature and humanity, past and present, urban sprawl and rural landscapes in surprising and serendipitous ways, author Nick Neely follows the trail of the first overland Spanish expedition into California 250 years later