Temperance Creek

A Memoir


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9781619027305 | Paperback 6 x 9 | 432 pages Buy it Now

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9781619028838 | Ebook | 340 pages Buy it Now

Book Description

In the early seventies, some of us were shot like stars from our parents’ homes. This was an act of nature, bigger than ourselves. In the austere beauty and natural reality of Hell’s Canyon of Eastern Oregon, one hundred miles from pavement, Pam, unable to identify with her parent’s world and looking for deeper pathways has a chance encounter with returning Vietnam warrior Skip Royes. Skip, looking for a bridge from survival back to connection, introduces Pam to the vanishing culture of the wandering shepherd and together they embark on a four–year sojourn into the wilderness. From the back of a horse, Pam leads her packstring of readers from overlook to water crossing, down trails two thousand years old, and from the vantages she chooses for us, we feel the edges of our own experiences. It is a memoir of falling in love with a place and a man and the price extracted for that love.

Written with deep lyricism, Temperance Creek is a work of haunting beauty, fresh and irreverent and rooted in the grit and pleasure of daily life. This is Pam’s story, but the courage and truth in the telling is part of our human experience. Seen through a slower more primary mirror, one not so crowded with objectivity, Pam’s memoir, is a kind of home–coming, a family reunion for shooting stars.

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Praise For This Book

"Watching Royes find her way, not only in nature but through difficult personal decisions, makes for compelling, enduring reading.” —The Washington Post

“Heartfelt and brimming with lyrical appreciation for nature and personal freedom, this is not only the account of a woman who followed the stirrings of a restless heart. It is also a kind of elegy to the youthful rebels and dreamers of the late 1960s and early '70s in search of new ways of being and belonging. A modern frontier adventure for nature lovers and armchair travelers alike.”—Kirkus

“Pam Royes has written a grand story, overflowing with hunger and beauty and pluck. Held within her tale is an exquisite gift: the chance to see a woman and a man shaped and sculpted – and in the end, made more gloriously human – by having merged their lives with one of the wildest, most spectacular landscapes on Earth.”—Gary Ferguson, author of The Carry Home: Lessons from the American Wilderness

“What's going to happen to a girl child from a sedate household who names her bicycle Dynamite? By this book's lights, her trajectory veers from home into a feral thirst for a different life made from scratch in the mountains. Temperance Creek takes you back to the land in the company of a sensitive, wise, and zesty woman and her chosen man. She'll guide you into remote corners of Oregon and Idaho to herd sheep, lust for the horizontal vertigo of full gallop, ponder the outback ways of men and women, suffer a lost brother, champion a warrior's search for peace, and roll a smoke on horseback as the storm gathers overhead. By reading, it's not too late to live this life. This is a book you will savor, and give to the lucky among your friends.”—Kim Stafford, author of 100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do: How My Brother Disappeared

Temperance Creek is a great adventure in a great place. And maybe most of all a great love story. North Dakota girl with wanderlust meets Oregon vet hiding out in remote Hells Canyon of the Snake River with horses. In a flash, throws in her lot, and the two begin a journey through outrageous terrain and sheep camps, learning to live with and off the land, and with each other. There are plenty of Vietnam vet stories out there, and accounts of midcentury music, drugs, and community. Theirs is a different journey, one a few might have guessed at, but fewer would have dared.”—Rich Wandschneider, Director, Josephy Library of Western History and Culture

“There's more true magic in this book than many I've read in years. Pam Royes' voice is clear and sinewy, supremely honest, humble, brave, and funny, and her love story, set in the wilderness in a time of profound cultural transition, is incandescently vivid, earthy and real. Temperance Creek is compulsively readable, and refreshing as a plunge in a deep clear swimming hole.”—Karen Fisher, author of A Sudden Country

Temperance Creek is a compelling memoir about love, courage, and transformation. Pamela Royes deftly chronicles her journey from a suburban college student to a “wild woman,” from hippie to sheepherder to outlaw, Her trail starts at the University of Oregon and finishes in wild and remote Hell's Canyon on the Snake River. Along the way, she bravely confronts rattlesnakes, cougars, bears, and a bullet wound to her thigh, while learning the complex tasks of sheepherding from her partner, the intrepid Skip. On another level, the book honors the legacy of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce people who first occupied the beautiful landscapes the author traverses. This is a wonderful book. Readers will want to put on a pair of comfortable hiking boots and follow the paths the author cherishes.”—Craig Lesley, author of Winterkill and River Song

“As a young woman, Pam Royes had the guts and grace to do what the rest of us only dream of: she ditched convention and lit out for the territory—in her case the spectacularly austere territory of Hells Canyon. Riding ever deeper into this radiant outback, Pam fell in love – first with a landscape, then with a man and finally with a way of life that was fast disappearing before their eyes.Pam's memoir of this time and place made me shiver, it made me laugh, it made me wonder—and above all it made me see with new eyes a place I thought I knew. This is a wise woman's coming of age story—what a story, what an age, what a woman!”—David Laskin, author of The Children's Blizzard and The Family

“Pamela Royes' dramatic history has fascinated me for years. Her life seems a miracle in so many ways, but it is her brave heart, her endurance, her belief in the land, and her capacity for love that has brought her to this place of lyrical contemplation. Like Cheryl Strayed's Wild, Temperance Creek is part adventure story, part cautionary tale, and, finally, a meditation on marriage—a fearless reckoning with the decisions that have shaped one woman's life.”—Kim Barnes, author of In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country and In the Kingdom of Men

If Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire made you wish you could go back in time to be a park ranger in the '60s, Temperance Creek may make you wish you could be a sheepherder in the early '70s of Eastern Oregon . . . Reminiscent of the best of Pam Houston and Rick Bass, Royes has penned a memoir worthy of repeated reading. —Bend Magazine