WHERE BIGFOOT WALKS: Crossing the Dark Divide by Robert Michael Pyle
Kirkus Star

WHERE BIGFOOT WALKS: Crossing the Dark Divide

Email this review


Fast claiming his place as one of the country's finest natural history writers, Pyle (Thunder Tree, 1993) takes to the hills in search of Bigfoot in this absorbing, classily written field report. Sasquatch, Dzonoqua, Oman, Bigfoot--that short-necked, beetle-browed creature with a bad case of BO--had caught Pyle's fancy when he was in college 25 years ago. Was it a relict species of Gigantopithecus, the huge Pleistocene primate of southeast Asia, or ""just a modern manifestation of the medieval Green Man--the wild counterpart to our domestic selves that all folks seem to need""? Or something else altogether that roams the deep-wooded parts of the Pacific Northwest? Pyle treks through the wilder stretches of that realm--the roadless area along the Dark Divide, the deep woods of the Indian Heaven Wilderness Area, any area with Bigfoot credentials--and though he never meets the beast, he does come across some mighty big footprints and hears eerie, unidentifiable screams in the night. He meets with Bigfoot professionals and eccentrics, quizzes the local and Native populations about their perspectives on the big guy, combs government documents for clues. All along the way, Pyle sings the glories of the land, its birds and butterflies and snails and stones. And there are plenty of times when he comes across environmental desecration: dirt bike gouging of fragile trails, trash strewn about, and the hideous consequences of clear-cutting a forest. By the end of the book, Bigfoot has become for Pyle an indicator specie, a synecdoche: a wild creature, no doubt, but also testimony to the wildness of the place. If the Bigfoot drama is ever laid to rest, cautions Pyle, all the way-backcountry will likely be gone as well. Pyle makes all the right connections. Best of all, he loves a good mystery and is smart enough, open and radical enough, to never say never.

Pub Date: July 27th, 1995
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin