Through words and photography, Sandy Powell illustrates the heritage and ongoing history of stock packers in the Sierra Nevada.
“The principal mission of this book is to document present-day Western activities and preserve this Western spirit for future generations.”Sandy Powell, from Cowboy Culture: Capturing the Spirit of the Old West in the Sierra Nevada
Sandy Powell knows her backcountry trails. The California photographer has trekked miles up and down steep, dangerous terrain alongside packers she showcases in her digital book, Cowboy Culture: Capturing the Spirit of the Old West in the Sierra Nevada. In the 23-chapter, 50,000-word book, available in hardcover and digital editions, Powell’s photographs help bring to life stories told by packers that continue to ride the trails that helped shape the West.
From the wagon drives of old to mule-packing strings carrying supplies into our national wildlands and the United States Forest Service working firefighting mules, the book covers the four-legged users of trails. In her first chapters, Powell sets the stage for understanding the importance of the trails crisscrossing the Sierra Nevada mountains from the days of the Gold Rush through the present.
Graphic maps interspersed throughout the book to show the exact location of trails, mountain ranges and significant events. However, the photographs are what keeps readers turning and clicking through the pages. It is hard to tell which is more enthralling: the pack mules or the impressive Sierra Nevada mountain range that is the backdrop in many images.
Perfect for the Western history enthusiast or someone interested in understanding how horses and mules continue to shape the industry, Powell’s book educates and entertains on a high level. The bonus is the excellent imagery of a not-oft seen mountain range that runs nearly California’s entire eastern border. The mountains come alive in Cowboy Culture: Capturing the Spirit of the Old West in the Sierra Nevada.