Halfway up the British Columbia coast, along the fabled Inside Passage route to Alaska, lies The Great Bear Rainforest. This remote and little-visited Shangri-La is one of the last intact wilderness regions left on Earth – home to ancient indigenous communities and a medley of majestic species from 1,000 year-old cedars, to humpback whales and grizzly bears, to the iconic white “Spirit Bear.”
According to the denizens of this region, another giant is said to roam these woods. For centuries, both indigenous and non-indigenous residents have reported encounters with the “Sasquatch” – an apocryphal species of man-ape believed to be living in the deepest nooks of this far-flung coast. Sightings of the elusive creatures and their tracks are so common that nearly everyone has a story.
Driven by a lifelong fascination with these reports and a need to make sense of them, John Zada travels to the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest to collect tales of these encounters. While braving the elements and an impossibly rugged terrain Zada uncovers a quirky subculture filled with eccentric characters. Loggers, hunters, indigenous elders, environmentalists and wilderness guides provide him with tantalizing clues for his investigation while giving him rare insight into the lives of their challenged communities. As the author’s journey deepens, it transforms into a quest to understand perception, belief and the nature of reality – as well as his own deeper motives.
In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond: Travels in Search of the Sasquatch is a compelling portrait of one of nature’s most enduring mysteries amid a magical, but unsettled region threatened by human activity.
“A fascinating and unique account of the Bigfoot phenomenon that is equal parts memoir, psychology, travelogue, cultural commentary and manifesto on nature. Totally gripping and unputdownable. Destined to be a classic of adventure and a standout among the more conventional works on the Sasquatch.”
– Jason Webster, author of A Death in Valencia
“In the world of travel writing there are two kinds of author. The first writes from the outside in, at best only scratching the surface of the lands through which they travel. The second kind of author writes in a profound and elegant way, the narrative charged with humility – observed from the inside out. John Zada is an author of the second approach – from the school of master travel writers. His prose is an utter delight, and his observances shrewd and often quite extraordinary. But most of all, Zada has the ability to suck readers in deep, so that they’re right there with him on the trail of the Sasquatch. I recommend In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond more highly than any other travel book I have read in years. With time it will become a classic, and Zada will be recognized as the foremost chronicler of what is surely one of the most beguiling preserves in all adventure.”
– Tahir Shah, author of In Arabian Nights and The Caliph’s House
“John Zada is one of those rare writers who conjures spellbinding prose through an acute sense of nature’s significance and the mythologies we all inhabit. A profound debut.”
– Robert Twigger, author of Red Nile: A Biography of the World’s Greatest River
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