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Topic: Culture & Communities     Department: Letters

Guide, not gospel

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Eureka! As I read the article  "Once More Unto the Breach" and glanced at the bookcase behind me, it hit me -- I had most of (Michael Kelsey's) books (HCN, 10/10/11)! But I had never connected the dots.

The first, Guide to the World's Mountains, had steered my climbing itineraries overseas, and ultimately led me to own and operate a guide service company in the South American Andes.  Later, I had used Canyon Hiking Guide to the Colorado Plateau as an outline for my subsequent explorations of the canyon lands of the United States.

I shudder at the notion that any reader, any explorer, would take as gospel anything written. Kelsey's was always an unapologetic first-hand account of his peripatetic discoveries, and in that context was for me absolutely invaluable.
It was always up to me to actually select the equipment, prepare myself, and finally, to explore the actual routes.

Nothing about what he had written, or what his detractors might have said, changes the fact that he was simply a signpost showing the way.  The actual exploration was, thankfully, left up to me.

I am eternally grateful to Michael Kelsey, because it now appears we are both rich with little else than our experiences, and all I can do is smile.

Erick Miller
Canon City, Colorado

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