Phantom Ghost of Harriet Lou, and Other Elk Stories

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9780918981042: Phantom Ghost of Harriet Lou, and Other Elk Stories
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In the beginning there was heaven and earth; and the earth was without form and void and little tow-headed boys wandered around barefoot with hands in their pockets because there was nothing upon the land to catch their imagination. And God looked upon His work and was it was not yet good that no thing existed to challenge those boys. And so an autumn came to pass when eerie whistlings drifted into the valleys from distant mountainsides and the by-then lanky teenage boys threw away their toys and accepted the wapiti challenge that would make them men! And God and girls saw that it was good. If you've heard a different version of this story, that's your problem. I heard it but once--this way. And so I became an elk hunter. Then I became infatuated with all God's creatures, and eventually a believer that God's handiwork is composed of such intracacies that a quest to understand has taken the rest of my life. The Phantom Ghost of Harriet Lou is about that quest.

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About the Author:

Roland Cheek, long time outfitter/guide amid America's greatest Wilderness, the Bob Marshal. Horsepacker, backpacker, hiker, skier, whitewater rafter, wildlife viewer, hunter, angler, photographer and amateur biologist, geologist, and paleontologist. Roland turned into a sought-after storyteller, honing skill around thousands of wilderness campfires. He began writing for newspapers and magazines while still in the middle of his 21-year guiding career. The avocation became passion, passion turned to burning desire, desire fed dedication to craft. His newspaper column intrigued editors and was syndicated. Sales to national magazines became commonplace for the guy who was rapidly becoming known as a craftsman with real outdoors experience actually gleaned from a lifetime spent amid the wild and rugged northern Rockies. His first book was written, photographed, and published in 1982. Montana's Bob Marshall Wilderness, sold 18,000 copies. In order to devote more time to his writing career, Roland retired from wilderness guiding in 1991. To capitalize on a wealth of campfire reminiscences, he began a syndicated daily radio program that so caught listener's fancy that it aired in over 70 stations from coast to coast. As a result, Trails to Outdoor Adventure was daily fare for over a quarter-million listeners for seven years-until the supposedly retired outdoorsman and master storyteller, who wanted to write books, finally understood he could no longer do everything.

Review:

· Book Signings: today from 6-8 p.m. at Walden-books in Great Falls; Friday, 3 to 6 p.m. at Don's Sporting Goods in Lewistown; and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at BookMark It in Great Falls and from 1 to 3 p.m. at Barnes and Noble in Great Falls. Roland Cheek probably has forgotten more about elk hunting than many of us ever will know. But what the veteran outfitter, guide and outdoor writer remembers and packs into his new book makes it worthwhile for anybody who pursues the elk. The new book is "The Phantom Ghost of Harriet Lou and other Elk Stories." The cover of the book also advises it is "driven by the wild wapiti" and is a graduate course in what makes elk tick." Cheek, whose column regularly appears in the Tribune, writes from his home in Columbia Falls where he retired after more than two decades of trips into the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Cheek lays claim to being in on the formulation of the 80/20 rule: That is 20 percent of all elk hunters take 80 percent of the elk. He also pioneered the concept that elk are a lot like white-tailed deer and an eastern deer hunter likely will be a better elk hunter than most people. Cheek's engaging style is conversational--I think you'd hear these stories around a campfire at about 7,000 feet after two fingers or so in the bottom of the cup. I particularly enjoy the several chapters that deal with youngsters--generally Cheek's grandson--learning to hunt. We ride along as the youth grows into a world populated by wise old hunters who long ago gave up the need to kill. The boy remains mystified by those who don't need to kill to have a successful hunt and yet yell at the tops of their lungs when they return to their favorite spot in the high country. This is not a nuts-and-bolts how-to guide to hunting elk. But the information is there, along with the recollections of a lifetime of guiding others into elk country. Cheek's book will help its readers learn about the kinds of places elk use each season of the year and provide insight into the habits of the elk. There also is guidance on being better prepared for traveling in elk country and some practical advice on equipment selection. Cheek also is the author of "Learning to Talk Bear." --Babcock-Great Falls Tribune Outdoor Editor

"... Encompasses many aspects of elk, from 'how-to' tips for finding, watching or hunting elk to preserving their habitat. -----Tammy Meck, Glenwood Post, Glenwood Springs CO

I have just finished The Phantom Ghost of Harriet Lou. Wow! It was wonderful! I was transported from my stateroom aboard a destroyer to the wilderness I traveled as a teenager. Your tales were well told, enlightening and dead on the money. --Joel Stewart/USS FifeDd991

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