Carter Obasohan takes you with him, in this book, along some vigorous hikes in back country Canada and the USA, visiting places of natural beauty and delivering his experience of walking them first-hand. He is adventurous as a hiker, exploring areas off the beaten track and scrambling up scree and boulders to capture the finest view.
He mentions the places that he hikes broadly for the most part, so do not read this book expecting a field guide or a route map as he is much more of a happy wanderer than a travel guide; a living-in-the-moment sort of guy, relishing what he finds around him. There is some planning to his route but this is covered briefly. Popular tourist attractions are also mentioned but Obasohan’s exploration of them is all his own and are on the periphery of his hiking more than at the centre.
He meets people along the way but this is very much his story and I have to say that he has brought the trails and the hazards and the fears to life in his narrative in a lively way. Dangers mentioned include the chance of being preyed upon by bears and cougars and other wild animals as well as fatigue and dehydration.
His prose at times is almost poetic in the way that he reflects on the landscape before him and having walked in the Rockies myself, up some steep and demanding trails, I could relate to his awe. His style of writing is certainly distinctive too as he has a two-layered approach to relating his impressions: he, as mentioned, describes what he sees in such a way that the majesty of the mountains, the gush of the streams and the darkness of the forests are vivid. This imagery is then punctuated by cheerful asides and observations, an informal voice which addresses you directly, personable and teasing.
As a younger person with aspirations to solo hike in mountains, this could be a book to inspire you to have a go, as Obasohan is enthusiastic and his writing style is light in tone, like a friend chatting to you about his walking holiday. More experienced hikers will recognise and enjoy the shared love of nature but may be looking for more precise detail about the hikes.
Either way, the landscape and the opportunities it offers to get lost metaphorically in its beauty are presented here.
This review was first published on Reedsy Discovery where I was privileged to read it as an ARC.
Please note that I could not access an image of the cover of the book to replicate here but it is not so dissimilar to the one I have chosen.
2 thoughts on “Notes From Out West by Carter Obasohan”
Hiking in the mountains is one of my favourite things to do, so this sounds like an excellent read for me. I guess it is meant to be inspirational rather than a guide book, which is also a good thing. Is the photo from the Canadian Rockies? It looks strangely familiar.
It is. Lake Moraine, a very famous Canadian vista. And the book is entertaining to a degree.