In Pursuit of a Legend is not your typical sasquatch story. I find bigfoot books generally fall into a couple categories: There are those which seek to document the sightings or experiences of individuals who claim to have witnessed the creature, and then there are the scientific analysis types which attempt to analyze the data from a technical perspective and draw conclusions. T.A. Wilson presents us with neither.
In truth, there really isn’t a lot of sasquatch material to be found here. Readers expecting the concentrated and focused documentation that is more typical of the genre may well be disappointed in this regard (although I certainly wasn’t). Instead, this book contains the story of a man on a personal journey into the wilderness. Yes, his stated goal is to find the mystical primate for himself, but as one might expect, such creatures are not exactly popping out of every tree and shrub just waiting to be photographed. This is not your typical obsessive, sensationalist television documentary with a monster lurking around every corner. No camera crews and no fancy equipment; just a man and his backpack trekking through the woods.
What we have, then, is a story of nature as witnessed through the author’s eyes. More a commentary on bigfoot’s environment, and those who inhabit it, than of the creature itself. We follow the author as he hikes various trails in Pacific coast national parks, and camps among the native flora and fauna, all the time observing and opining on his surroundings. That’s not to say that there aren’t a few unusual occurrences waiting for us along the way, but to focus only on them is, I think, to miss much that this story has to offer.
I have to say that I loved this book. It was not at all what I expected, yet it was also better than I had hoped. I no doubt suffer a bias in that I felt much in common with Wilson’s spirited attitudes toward the wilderness: the beauty of it, the curiosities it holds, and a strong distaste for those who would abuse it. The author is not afraid to criticize people who mistreat the national parks, carelessly starting fires, or littering and polluting the wilds on their pleasure trips. Some people may find his harsh criticism abrasive, but I largely agreed with his attitude, and had no problem with his expressing it.
In an odd way, it’s almost a shame that the book has the sasquatch element to it, as I fear it will cause it to be overlooked by a wider audience who may also appreciate the contents on a less paranormal level. Bigfoot or not, In Pursuit of a Legend is a beautiful story of a man and his time among a fragile and fantastic environment, and I think many should enjoy it regardless of an interest in mythical beasts.
Highly recommended to both bigfoot chasers as well as regular old nature lovers.