Cahill stumbles from glacier to geyser, encounters wildlife (some of it, like bisons, weighing in the neighborhood of a ton), muses on the microbiology of thermal pools, gets spooked in the mysterious Hoodoos, sees moonbows arcing across waterfalls at midnight, and generally has a fine old time walking several hundred miles while contemplating the concept and value of wilderness. Mostly, Cahill says, "I have resisted the urge to commit philosophy. This is difficult to do when you're alone, 20 miles from the nearest road, and you've just found a grizzly bear track the size of a pizza."
Divided into three parts, "The Trails", which offers a variety of favorite day hikes; "In the Backcountry", which explores three great backcountry trails very much off the beaten track; and "A Selected Yellowstone Bookshelf", an annotated bibliography of his favorite books on the park, this is a hilarious, informative, and perfect guide for Yellowstone veterans and first-timers alike. Lost in My Own Backyard is adventure writing at its very best.
I have read and enjoyed many of Tim Cahill's travel essays, so when I was headed to Yellowstone this month, this seemed a good choice,
The historical commentary was interesting and fun to hear while in the park this trip. A lot of the book is centered around specific portions of the park, so it it easier to follow if you either know the park or have a map handy.
Unlike other writings, where I find Cahill's wry curiosity great fun, this book has a touch of the sanctimonious about it. He states that it is a huge shame that the vast majority (over 99%) do not do any back-country overnight trips (as evidenced by the number of back country permits issued). This is a running theme in the book. I am certain that Cahill would not be pleased to see those thousands of inexperienced hikers invading his private domain. The restrictions on permits (due to weather, animal safety, inadequate ranger resources and overcrowding) would not allow even a tiny fraction of those car-bound travelers to take to the trails. The park is for all visitors and those who stay in the lodges and campgrounds are financially supporting the park and more importantly demonstrating to the national government that these parks are a resource that ought to be better funded. If the park were reserved for Cahill and his buddies, it would have been sold off to the private sector long ago.
On a minor note, someone who lives in the northwest, even a transplant, should know how to pronounce Oregon (Ory-gun not Ore-gone). Other than that, Cahill was a good choice (that from someone who rarely thinks authors make good narrators)