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Temperance Creek

A Memoir

List Price: $16.95

June 14, 2016 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 340 Pages | ISBN 9781619027305
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“Heartfelt and brimming with lyrical appreciation for nature and personal freedom... A modern frontier adventure for nature lovers and armchair travelers alike.” —Kirkus

In the early seventies, some of us were shot like stars out of 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 and with an introduction from Teresa Jordan, 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 homecoming, a family reunion for shooting stars.

PAMELA ROYES lives with her husband in Northeastern Oregon where they raise cattle and hay. They have two children and three grandchildren. She is currently working on a book of fiction. Temperance Creek is her first book.


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

“Royes writes surely and eloquently about the lifestyle and the natural beauty that lured her in for keeps.” — The Oregonian

“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

“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

“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

“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 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 and bear while learning the complex tasks of sheepherding from her partner. 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 Burning Fence

“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  

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

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