Doug Peacock spent years alone in Montana and Wyoming wilderness observing grizzly bears.
“The great thing about wilderness — it’s a total exit from culture,” said Peacock during our recent interview for Yellowstone Public Radio. “It’s the easiest one I know of, and it really helps if you have animals in it like grizzly bears, or even a jaguar from time to time, because you’re not the most powerful thing on the land. You don’t diddy-bop down the trail thinking about your girlfriend or your portfolio. You think about that animal. You see better. You hear better. You smell better. It really externalizes your senses.”
Peacock’s new book of essays, “Was It Worth It?: A Wilderness Warrior’s Long Trail Home” was published in 2022 by Patagonia Works. The environmental memoir is a powerful retrospective of people, animals and land. Doug shares his deep love of wild spaces — the one place in all of his life where he’s felt truly comfortable — and how the war shaped his advocacy for grizzly bears and wild spaces.
Peacock set off into the wilderness following his exit from the Vietnam war and found solitude and solace in the woods. “That was the thing that happens automatically, if you’re living alone in grizzly country, and also exactly what I needed … I needed to get out of myself. This is the perfect environment to do it, and after three or four days out there — especially by yourself in grizzly country — it’s just effortless. All of a sudden, it’s like part of my conditioned mind just goes on slumber.”
Spoiler alert: it was worth it. Hear the episode of Resounds on ypradio.org.