On the Mountain with Jack Kerouac

by Lauren Braden on January 7, 2013

in Northwestern Exposures

In 1956, twelve years before the land under his boots would become North Cascades National Park, Jack Kerouac spent 63 days in the deep, craggy wilderness of Washington state.

Desolation Peak in the North Cascades with quote from Jack Kerouac

It was a year before the publication of On The Road, a year before Jack Kerouac would become a household name and a beat generation icon. Kerouac was stationed for 63 days as a fire scout in a cabin atop Desolation Peak. His experiences, and the pull he felt between his urban bohemian lifestyle and his odyssey into the wilderness were chronicled in the soulful novel The Dharma Bums published two years later.

photo: hidden lake peak, courtesy of north cascades national park


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