Tom Garrison

Hiking Southern Nevada, Volume One
by Mr. Tom Garrison

Geographers define a desert as a region receiving less than 10 inches average annual precipitation–an area of irregular and minimal rainfall. Meager rainfall means sparse vegetation and results in exposed geological features. One can think of the raw features as the earth without the makeup of vegetation. Deserts can be stark, creating a drama of space, color, relief, and sheer ruggedness. Despite the sparse vegetation, deserts in the southwest United States are full of life–hundreds of plant species, scores of bird species, and many other animals. The best way to observe the flora and fauna is on foot, far from urban areas.

This guide is about hiking and generally exploring desert areas, specifically southern Nevada. There is no better way to experience the ruggedness, the history of settlement by Native Americans and later pioneers, and the solitude than by simply hiking and exploring. My purpose in writing this book is to enhancement the enjoyment of all who wish to sample the richness of southern Nevada.

My wife, Deb Looker, accompanied me on every hike. This book is a testament to her love of the outdoors as much as mine. Through trial and error from scores of hikes, reading many hiking books, and much Internet research, we have become experienced desert hikers. More than 25 years ago we began seriously exploring the American Southwest. During the first several years we concentrated on areas fairly close to our then home in Santa Barbara, California–the Mojave Desert around Barstow and Baker and Death Valley. We later branched out to Joshua Tree National Park and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in south central California. In the early 2000s Arizona became a favorite destination. Finally, we began exploring southern Utah in 2006. In the fall of 2009 we left California and settled in St. George, Utah. St. George is a great base camp for adventures in southwest Utah, southern Nevada, and northern Arizona.

While we much enjoy the grandeur of big name desert national parks–Death Valley, Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, and others–our preference is hard to find, out of the bustle of humanity, slot canyons. Fortunately, the area we choose to live is full of slot canyons.

I wrote the the 25 stories in this book to describe the natural beauty where we hiked, and to inspire people to get out and enjoy nature. Go outdoors and relax, leave the pressures of daily life behind for a few hours. These hikes are not hard-core three-day backpacking treks through the wilderness. That is a great thing, but not for most people, even those who enjoy the outdoors. There are many good hiking books with long, tough hikes–this is not one of them.

These are more of “get off the couch or out of your daily rut” and see what nature, plate tectonics, and erosion have given you. These stories and hikes are for the average person/family that understands the value of nature, but never quite gets out to enjoy it.

My approach to writing is less formal than found in other hiking books. I’m not above making a joke out of slogging through loose sand or commenting on how rocks in a wash kept grabbing at my feet and that is the reason for my stumbles. Humor and not taking myself too seriously are important parts of my life, and these stories reflect that. At the same time, detailed directions for finding sometimes obscure trail-heads, the hike itself, and where to look for interesting features are provided.

Amazon Print
https://www.amazon.com/Hiking-Southern-Nevada-One-Garrison/dp/1986572153/ref=la_B008Q0X5NK_1_4/141-6632368-6815411?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1527628856&sr=1-4

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Hiking Southwest Utah and Adjacent Areas, Volume One Updated
by Tom Garrison

This guide is about hiking and generally exploring desert areas, specifically southwest Utah and adjacent areas (southern Nevada and northern Arizona).

There is no better way to experience the ruggedness, the history of settlement by Native Americans and later pioneers, and the solitude than by simply hiking and exploring. My purpose in writing this book is to enhancement the enjoyment of all who wish to sample the richness of southwest Utah and adjacent areas. My wife, Deb Looker, accompanied me on every hike.

This book is a testament to her love of the outdoors as much as mine. Through trial and error from scores of hikes, reading many hiking books, and much Internet research, we have become experienced desert hikers.

More than 25 years ago we began seriously exploring the American southwest. During the first several years we concentrated on areas fairly close to our then home in Santa Barbara, California—the Mojave Desert around Barstow and Baker and Death Valley. We later branched out to Joshua Tree National Park and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in south central California. In the early 2000s Arizona became a favorite destination. Finally, we began exploring southern Utah in 2006. In the fall of 2009 we left California and settled in St. George, Utah. St. George is a great base camp for adventures in southwest Utah, southern Nevada, and northern Arizona.

While we much enjoy the grandeur of big name desert national parks—Death Valley, Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, and others—our preference is hard to find, out of the bustle of humanity, slot canyons. Fortunately, the area we choose to live is full of slot canyons. This book was originally published in 2014. One would think not much changes regarding hiking trails. Wrong. For example, at the end of each story I provide Internet links to web sites with more information about the hike. Many of the links are missing as of January/February 2018 and almost all have been updated. With a bit of computer work, I have updated or provided new links where necessary.

Some of the stories required updating since entrance fees or other minor details have changed. One hike, Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area, near Las Vegas now has a totally different approach to the trail-head. Instead of needing a high clearance vehicle to navigate a very rocky dirt road, one can now easily reach the trailhead in a standard vehicle. As of March 2018, the information in this hiking guide is correct for all trails according to my online research and personal experience in re-visiting some of the hikes. Happy trails.

Amazon Customer Reviews
https://www.amazon.com/Hiking-Southwest-Adjacent-Areas-Updated/dp/1985347768/ref=la_B008Q0X5NK_1_2/141-6632368-6815411?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1527628856&sr=1-2#customerReviews

Amazon Print
https://www.amazon.com/Hiking-Southwest-Adjacent-Areas-Updated/dp/1985347768/ref=la_B008Q0X5NK_1_2/141-6632368-6815411?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1527628856&sr=1-2

Kindle
https://www.amazon.com/Hiking-Southwest-Utah-Adjacent-Areas-ebook/dp/B00T4WM66G/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1527628856&sr=1-2

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Hiking Southwest Utah and Adjacent Areas, Volume Two (Volume 2)
by Tom Garrison

This guide is about hiking and generally exploring desert areas, specifically southwest Utah and adjacent areas (southern Nevada and northern Arizona).

There is no better way to experience the ruggedness, the history of settlement by Native Americans and later pioneers, and the solitude than by simply hiking and exploring. My purpose in writing this book is to enhancement the enjoyment of all who wish to sample the richness of southwest Utah and adjacent areas. My wife, Deb Looker, accompanied me on every hike.

This book is a testament to her love of the outdoors as much as mine. Through trial and error from scores of hikes, reading many hiking books, and much Internet research, we have become experienced desert hikers. More than 25 years ago we began seriously exploring the American southwest. During the first several years we concentrated on areas fairly close to our then home in Santa Barbara, California—the Mojave Desert around Barstow and Baker and Death Valley. We later branched out to Joshua Tree National Park and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in south central California. In the early 2000s Arizona became a favorite destination. Finally, we began exploring southern Utah in 2006. In the fall of 2009 we left California and settled in St. George, Utah. St. George is a great base camp for adventures in southwest Utah, southern Nevada, and northern Arizona.

While we much enjoy the grandeur of big name desert national parks—Death Valley, Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, and others—our preference is hard to find, out of the bustle of humanity, slot canyons. Fortunately, the area we choose to live is full of slot canyons.

I wrote these stories to describe the natural beauty on our hikes, and as importantly to inspire people to get out and enjoy nature. Go outdoors and relax, leave the pressures of daily life behind for a few hours. These hikes are not hard-core three-day backpacking treks through the wilderness. That is a great thing, but not for the vast majority of people, even those who enjoy the outdoors. There are many good hiking books with long, tough hikes—this is not one of them.

These are more of “get off the couch or out of your daily rut” and see what nature, plate tectonics, and erosion have given you. These stories and hikes are for the average person/family that understands the value of nature, but never quite gets out to enjoy it.

Amazon Customer Reviews
https://www.amazon.com/Hiking-Southwest-Utah-Adjacent-Areas/dp/1533162107/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8#customerReviews

Amazon Print
https://www.amazon.com/Hiking-Southwest-Utah-Adjacent-Areas/dp/1533162107/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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 Why We Left the Left: Personal Stories by Leftists/Liberals Who Evolved to Embrace Libertarianism
by Tom Garrison

One political question intrigues almost everyone who studies, participates, or is interested in politics: “Why do people identify with a certain ideology and/or political party?” Numerous scholarly and popular books examine political ideology/party identification and why certain ideologies attract certain individuals. This book examines that question in two separate yet joined phases. Why do people initially identify with the Left/liberalism and why do these same individuals abandon that ideology to evolve into libertarians? This inquiry is unique in its focus on former liberals/leftists who become libertarians.

Included are 23 stories from Americans and one Irishman, baring at least part of their souls to answer these questions. All contributors at one point identified with the Left/liberalism. Each explains what originally drew them to the left part of the political spectrum. Virtually all mention some version of the popular stereotype of liberals/leftists “caring for the average person.” And all came to see that as a wispy apparition, based more on intention than fact.

A common theme for why the liberals/leftists abandoned their ideology is the ugly discovery of the inherent elitism of leftists/liberals. Over and over in these stories, the contributors give examples of their liberal/leftist “comrades” explaining how they (liberals/leftists) are needed to steer the people in the proper direction, for their own good of course. The true believing leftists/liberals cling to this illusion. Through many different paths, the contributors to this volume come to see the anti-democratic, elitist nature of this belief.

An equally common denominator is the lack of respect for, or even acknowledgement of, personal responsibility in one’s behavior. A core value of the Left/liberalism is victimhood. Everyone—women, gays and lesbians, people of color, public employee union members, the working class, and so on—is an actual or potential victim. As such, any dysfunctional behavior can always be excused as the result of societal oppression, racism and sexism, rich people and capitalists, corporations, “the man”, and on and on. Of course, negative external forces do exist, but they are not always (or even most of the time) the cause of crappy behavior or failure. Many of the stories in this book note that this refusal to acknowledge personal responsibility strongly influenced the contributor to turn away from the Left/liberalism.

Of course, disillusionment with the notion that government action is needed for every problem—real or imagined—is inherent in turning from leftism/liberalism to libertarianism. Many contributors expound upon this theme.

Many contributors also cite the power of classical liberal economic theory—truly free markets—as a factor in their leaving the Left. Real world examples of the failure of socialist/welfare state economic policy became too difficult to ignore.

Finally, a minor, yet telling, theme is the lack of humor or playfulness in liberals and the Left. Several contributors note the feeling of liberation once they rejected the dour self-importance of the Left/liberalism.

One popular conception of libertarians is that they are, for the most part, disgruntled old white guys. While that group is represented, more than 25 percent of the stories are from women and more than two-thirds are by people younger than 50. This gender and generational diversity extends to occupations—contributors include college students, law students, an attorney, a professional artist, public school teachers, a chemist, writers, a filmmaker, a law professor, a stay-at-home mom, a firefighter, the CEO of a $40 million company, a TV reporter, an editor, the CEO of a free market think tank, and a research engineer.

It is my fervent hope that this collection of stories will hasten the day when libertarianism is widely recognized for what it is—the political movement for adults.

Amazon Customer Reviews
https://www.amazon.com/Why-We-Left-Personal-Libertarianism-ebook/dp/B008H7HH0Y/ref=la_B008Q0X5NK_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1527629818&sr=1-1#customerReviews

Amazon Print
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Kindle
https://www.amazon.com/Why-We-Left-Personal-Libertarianism-ebook/dp/B008H7HH0Y/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1527629818&sr=1-1

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Challenge Authority: Memoir of a Baby Boomer
by Tom Garrison

 Memoir of a Baby Boomer

Amazon Customer Reviews
https://www.amazon.com/Challenge-Authority-Memoir-Garrison-2013-12-30/dp/B01FKWN9J6/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8#customerReviews

Amazon Print
https://www.amazon.com/Challenge-Authority-Memoir-Garrison-2013-12-30/dp/B01FKWN9J6/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Kindle
https://www.amazon.com/Challenge-Authority-Memoir-Baby-Boomer-ebook/dp/B00I0DQEBS/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Tom Garrison

I am a former very active socialist in Santa Barbara, CA who evolved into a Libertarian desert rat. It can be done.

I am the youngest of four children to two Dust Bowl Okies who migrated to Shafter, California in the Central Valley. My family was fairly apolitical, with Republican leanings. I graduated with a BA in political science from California State College, Bakersfield in 1974 (magna cum laude); earned a MA in political science from University of California, Davis in 1976; and finished everything but my PhD dissertation (ABD) in political science at University of California, Santa Barbara in 1980.

I began political life as a typical McGovern liberal, moved left to become a card-carrying member of the Socialist Party USA, and in the late 1990s evolved into a libertarian.

In 1980 I was arrested, along with hundreds of others, for civil disobedience at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. From the early 1980s to the mid-1990s I was a hyper-active socialist: twice running for Santa Barbara City Council openly as a socialist in the mid-1980s; worked with tenants (three city-wide rent control campaigns in seven years), and gays and lesbians (Deb, my wife, was the first heterosexual on the Gays and Lesbian Resource Center Board of Directors); and fighting political cultists in California’s Peace and Freedom Party (the only socialist party with ballot status in California). During this period, I also found time to work full-time as an editor (from 1982 to 2000) of a political science journal published in Santa Barbara.

I believe my transition from leftist activist to libertarian, while not common, is instructive. Why would someone abandon a strong belief system, lose many comrades/”friends”, and suffer the loss of much of his social network? Why, because I grew to see that the Left (and its handmaiden liberalism) lacked respect and understanding of the concept of personal responsibility; lying was an all too common occurrence that undermined the democratic process; leftists/liberals slavishly adhered to affirmative action preferences, quotas, and identity politics; and leftists/liberals–while embracing “diversity”–all too often display an intolerance for a real diversity of ideas. In 1997 I joined the Libertarian Party.

From the early 1980s to 2000, I published several political articles in publications such as Liberty magazine, the Santa Barbara News-Press, the Santa Barbara Independent, The Socialist, Left Out, and Tenants United.

More than 25 years ago my wife Deb and I began seriously exploring the American Southwest. During the first several years we concentrated on areas fairly close to our then home in Santa Barbara, California—the Mojave Desert around Barstow and Baker and Death Valley. We later branched out to Joshua Tree National Park and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in south central California. In the early 2000s Arizona became a favorite destination. Finally, we began exploring southern Utah in 2006. In the fall of 2009 we left California and settled in St. George, Utah. St. George is a great base camp for adventures in southwest Utah, southern Nevada, and northern Arizona.

While we much enjoy the grandeur of big name desert national parks—Death Valley, Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, and others—our preference is hard to find, out of the bustle of humanity, slot canyons. Fortunately, the area we choose to live is full of slot canyons.

From 2000 to 2009, I mostly dropped out of politics and concentrate on my job (Real Property Appraiser for the Santa Barbara County Assessor’s Office); building a real estate “empire” (four rental condos); and exploring and hiking the southwestern United States with Deb, as often as we could get away.

Since December 2010 I have had more than 100 hiking stories and political and humorous essays published (as of May 2018) in The Spectrum (St. George, UT daily newspaper), The Independent (St. George, UT), the Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, UT), the Mesquite Local News (Mesquite, NV), The Sun Runner (Joshua Tree, CA), Moapa Valley Progress (Logandale/Overton, NV), and the Los Alamos Daily Post (Los Alamos, NM). My most recent book is Hiking Southern Nevada, Volume One (April 2018). It can be found at Amazon. Here is a link: https://www.amazon.com/Hiking-Southern-Nevada-One-Garrisno/dp/1986572153/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

For about one year, starting in October 2011 I had a once-a-week (Mondays at 2:30) 30-minute talk radio show (as a segment of Jake Shannon’s two hour “Mental Self-Defense” program) on station KTKK (630 am) out of Sandy, Utah covering the Salt Lake City area. I discuss the libertarian perspective on a variety of issues.

Interview:

What makes you proud To Be A Writer From Utah? Most of my published works are hiking stories. There is no better place to explore the outdoors than southwest Utah.

Who or what inspired you to become an author? A few years ago, I read some crappy hiking stories in the local newspaper. I can do better than that. I began submitting stories, they were published, and I even got paid for my work.

Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? Nope. While my mother loved to read, there was no particular emphasis on writing. Later, after graduate school, I edited a political science journal for 18 years and became a decent writer.

When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? In my late 20s I began to submit political essays to the local newspapers. They were published. Since then, I don’t write anything without the intention of being published.

What has been the most rewarding experience in your writing process? It is an ongoing experience. Getting an email from a reader saying how much they enjoyed my story and how it has inspired them to explore the outdoors.

How many published books do you have (please list the titles)? Five

Why We Left the Left: Personal Stories by Leftists/Liberals Who Evolved to Embrace Libertarianism (2012)

Challenge Authority: Memoir of a Baby Boomer (2014)

Hiking Southwest Utah and Adjacent Areas, Volume One Updated (2018, first published in 2014)

Hiking Southwest Utah and Adjacent Areas, Volume Two (2016)

Hiking Southern Nevada, Volume One (2018)

Please introduce the genre that you prefer to write in and why? Hiking/travel stories. Why, because I love to explore new areas. Fortunately, I have a wife who loves it as much as I do.

What positive piece of advice would you give to new authors? Get it published. Closely examine the publication you want to write for, meet their writing guidelines, and start sending in your material.

Who is your favorite author and why? Harry Turtledove. No one writes alternative history as well as he does. The characters are real and the stories an amazing feat of imagination.

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