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Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  181 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Beloved writer and teacher Pam Houston explores what ties her to the earth in essays as lucid and invigorating as mountain air.

“How do we become who we are in the world? We ask the world to teach us.” In her travels from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska, Pam Houston explores what ties her to the earth—her 120-acre homestead in the Colorado Rockies most of all. Here, elk calves
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 29th 2019 by W. W. Norton Company
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4.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  181 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thoughts soon.
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It took me awhile to write this review because I am still getting over the excitement of reading a new book from Pam Houston. Her writing was moving and I felt like I could see her ranch and all of the places she described so beautifully. This is an important book about being a woman, an environmentalist, and a writer. Her voice is so refreshing and it will be the perfect read for welcoming 2019.
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A balm for the soul, a visit with an old friend, a love song to the Earth. This book was all that and more. Cowboys Are My Weakness was a touchstone for me when I was in my mid-twenties, and this book served as a reminder of the fiery, uncertain young woman I once was and an illustration of how far I’ve come to be comfortable in my own life since then. I’m grateful to writers like Pam Houston who put themselves out in the world to provide gentle guidance to so many readers they likely will never ...more
Heather Fineisen
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love Pam Houston for the way she loves. Be it cowboys, her animals, writing or in this volume her ranch. Houston is at her best here, in love with the land. Her essay on the fire that devastated the surrounding area was interesting if a bit too detailed and off balance with the rest of her writings. Not disappointed, I love my own animals a little bit more. And myself.
Nov 19, 2018 added it
Shelves: literature, 2018
9,000 feet above sea level is a Place, a ranch, surrounded by mountains on most sides. It has allowed a Jersey Girl nursing a myriad of wounds to heal, grow, and love. This poignant ode to Place, to nature, to natural beauty, and ultimately optimism - is a pushback against cynicism and meanness. It provides the same inevitable hope that comes with the first shoots of grass in the pasture. It champions the idea that there is safety in saving - in reaching out, in trusting to everyday grace.
Vivek Tejuja
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pam Houston’s Deep Creek has to be read, actually savoured with enough time on your hand. It cannot and shouldn’t be rushed with. This book is about home and place and what is their meaning to someone who has spent half her life travelling around the world. More than that though, it is about the places we inhabit, the landscapes we belong to, the daily rituals of living and caring for people around you. Deep Creek is all about celebrating nature, and above that survival not only in the wildernes ...more
Tina Humphrey Boogren
An exquisite love letter to Colorado and the Earth. So beautiful.
Sara Cutaia
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pam Houston's writing is the most comforting and encouraging writing that tackles the horrors and pains of this world that I've ever read. With prose that sings, she takes you through the years that she's lived on her 120-acre ranch in Creede, Colorado, and relays the joys and terrors she's experienced while there. Hers is a story of resilience, and it was even before she had to take care of ranch animals, and deal with elevation, and survive winters and fires at 9000 ft., but the ranch taught h ...more
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Any book that brings me to tears on multiple occasions deserves all the stars.

I expected a lot. It packed way more wallop.
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a book I wouldn't normally pick up. It is a memoir, outdoorsy, and about subjects I don't give any care about. However, I heard Pam Houston speak and after her enigmatic talk I knew I had to read this book. I hadn't read anything else of hers--in fact, I didn't know she was a fiction author until I read this book. And it was wonderful.

I learned so much more than I every thought I would about the mountains in my home state. I know, I'm from Colorado but I very much dislike the outdoors. I
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Deep Creek is Pam Houston’s invitation to her ranch home in the high country of Colorado. She bravely invites the reader into the world she has made for herself. From an old homestead, Houston has created a refuge, a home of natural beauty, with animals both wild and domestic. Here Houston can create and refuel from her teaching and journeys around the world. This is also the place where she can become the person she was always meant to be…even when she was unsure where her journey would take he ...more
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I LOVE to read books about farming/farms because I have a fantasy about that life (mostly that I would be really good at it and love every minute of it) and they always leave me feeling like time is slipping away and I have to DO IT NOW and I spend the next five days looking at farm properties that can't meet my requirements and making plans to buy one anyway because I WILL LEARN HOW TO USE A HAMMER! (It's kind of exhausting...)

I can't say I love travel books but since I can't travel myself, I
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been reading Pam Houston's books, articles, basically anything she has written since 1992. Perhaps it is our mutual affinity for wild places, our love of Colorado, that she is close in age to me and so her journeys of self-discovery seem to parallel mine -- whatever the reason, I eagerly await anything she writes.

But this book, Deep Creek, more than all the others, touched me in ways I cannot articulate. It may be this moment in history, or this moment in my own lifetime. Each chapter is i
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: would-read-again
Blown away by this lovely book. It reads like the best, engaging fiction but has the oomph and meaningfulness of memoir. Houston is such a lovely writer. I am surprised and delighted that I am just discovering her now. Of course, this is not a book for everyone. It’s not perfect. Yet, within the first chapter, it burrowed inside my head and inside my heart.

Read it for the section on saying goodbye to her dog (which beautifully takes us by the hand and leads readers into the book’s thread of env
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this book with my entire heart. Read this book if:

... you’ve ever fallen in love with a piece of land, especially in the Colorado mountains
... the fate of this planet has ever brought you to tears
... you love animals more than humans (at least sometimes)
... you’ve survived things you should never have had to survive
... you are a brave woman, or not so brave just yet but you want to be
... you loved Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild,” Thoreau’s ”Walden,” Terry Tempest Williams’ “Refuge” or any the o
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I wouldn't have thought it possible to get so emotionally invested in a place I've never been to, but if anything happens to this Colorado ranch I would be devastated. I sometimes struggle with memoirs/biography type books as they often get bogged down with too many date/time/place details and this book really stays away from that. It's beautifully written and makes me want to sell my house and all my possessions and move out to the wilderness; or at least spend a lot more time outdoors.
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Deep Creek is a one-of-a-kind account of living on a ranch in rural Creede, Colorado. Over a 30 year timespan, Houston recaps stories involving all aspects of country solitude, including a harrowing account of the West Fork Fire Complex. Sometimes people can be cruel, sometimes neighbors are generously kind, and sometimes animals are better than humans altogether. This rustic collection shines light on both how simple and how complex ranch life can be.
Brooke Dilling
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautiful. And sad and difficult to read. I’ve never read Pam Houston before, but I love her connection to the land and the power it has to heal. Biography & Memoir
Sometimes, in order to find yourself, you have to get lost in the wilderness. That is the path that was taken by author Pam Houston (COWBOYS ARE MY WEAKNESS, CONTENTS MAY HAVE SHIFTED) when, in 1993, she bought a timeworn homestead high in the Colorado Rockies.

From the outset, the piece of land --- first owned and homesteaded by the Pinckleys, whose graves are located on the property --- represented multiple challenges. The first was the fact that its price exceeded Houston’s budget by a conside
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Pam Houston wants to talk about her ranch. She wants to talk about Colorado. Her dogs. Her love of the land and its wild life. This ranch heals her of scars carried over from a childhood filled with violent abuse. If you know ranching, this will be very familiar, and you will love it for its familiarity. If you are like me and know nothing about ranching, it will fascinate you and fill you with respect. You think ranching is sitting around with lovely horses, a few farm animals, dogs, and breath ...more
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

I randomly stumbled upon this book last year while searching through the “recently ordered” books on my library’s app...after reading the description I put myself on the waitlist and anxiously awaited its arrival. Deep Creek is my first experience with Pam Houston and I have a strong feeling it won’t be my last.

After reading the first 30 pages, I had to set it down and questioned whether or not to continue. Reading about her abuse upset me so much that it haunted me all night - how coul
Deep Creek by Pam Houston

Full disclosure: I’m grateful to NetGalley for the free advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I give this book 5 stars.

Wow – this book is amazing! Although I had other plans (including a number of books ahead of this one to be read) I just couldn’t put this book down and read it in 1 days. Houston is honest and insightful in regard to her childhood, family and some of the challenges she faced and things she learned as she went to college and graduate
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways, 2019
A new book by Pam Houston is always a cause for celebration. Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country is to be read slowly and savored. The language takes you from despair to joy in one paragraph. It’s strong sense of place puts you in the middle of the Colorado wildfires of 2013 and lets you experience a narwhal migration in the Northwest Passage past Bylot Island, Canada.

The book is divided into five parts, with Part Four dedicated to the summer of wildfires that came within one mile of h
Brenda Gadd
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Pam Houston has done most of the things I daydreamed about doing. Some things we have in common at various times of our lives. I met her briefly at a writer's conference in Taos NM years ago. I could see her and perhaps even that of the Irish Wolfhound in profile as they drove away for a day of adventure. ( It could have been just a friend with a bad hair day.) That week, when the conference closed I climbed a trail to Williams Lake. A first for me.
My family sometimes and my f
Susan Burlew
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaway
I won this book in a goodreads giveaway and thought it sounded interesting. It was incredibly good. The author shares parts of her life from childhood to adult and the ranch she has owned for 25 years. She makes a connection between them and her love for her land and nature everywhere and shows how it has helped her come to terms with some horrifying events in the past. I believe she is incredibly brave for learning to live her life and find some joy. It took me some time to read as it made me f ...more
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was the most beautiful, wonderful book. Pam Houston’s writing is so beautiful, and I think it’s because she is genuinely earnest and filled with love. What a remarkable book of stories about her love for the earth and our plant/animal neighbors/community; the healing she has received from the earth; her grief for what humankind is doing the planet; and her deep knowledge that the earth will find a way to continue, in spite of humanity (and even if humankind doesn’t). I couldn’t put this boo ...more
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow, it was a treat to read Houston's stories about living on 120 acres in a valley in Colorado. This is the ultimate voyeurism: reading about living way out with the snow piling up and animals to care for, but without having to do the super hard work that goes along with that lifestyle. Houston switches off living on her land and teaching writing in California to support said land. Highly recommended.

Trigger warning: sexual abuse
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir-read
The love of a book is often measured by two things.
1) The frequency of how often I pause to make people “listen to this part.”
2) How many people I have recommended it to before I’ve even finished the book.
This beautiful memoir of fits both descriptions. Pam L. Houston has written a love story to the earth. Her ranch, her animals and her devoted friends are her teachers, her protectors and her family. What a gorgeous book. Loved it.
Amy Carlson
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I forgot how much I love Pam Houston. Great to read something recent from her-and I enjoyed all of it, from her recounting of the forest fires that nearly engulfed her ranch to the daily ins and outs of ranch life. Her love affair with the outdoors and with Colorado is so inspiring to me as I tend to get caught up in daily life and don’t always make it a priority to be outside. Really tough, though, reading about her childhood.
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this story about strength, devotion to and from animals; global warming, and the importance of real friends. Pam Houston’s life in the Colorado Rockies, with her beloved wolfhounds, is a tale of the incredible beauty and fragility of our earth, and of those who are working to stop the destruction.
My own love of animals and nature’s beauty makes me want to read this book over and over.
I can’t recommend it strongly enough.
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Houston is the Director of Creative Writing at U.C. Davis. Her stories have been selected for the Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Awards, the Pushcart Prize, and the Best American Short Stories of the Century. She lives in Colorado at 9,000 feet above sea level near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.
“How do we become who we are in the world? We ask the world to teach us. But we have to ask with an open heart, with no idea what the answer will be.” 1 likes
“We call such a limited number of relationships love in our lives, but there is always love around us—it’s as ubiquitous as oxygen.” 1 likes
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