Geoffrey Platts (1938-2000) was a desert advocate, a prolific reporter on nature conservation and preservation issues and a modern day embodiment of Thoreau’s and Muir’s philosophies (yes, he actually lived in a cabin without plumbing or electricity).
My Recollections: I had the pleasure of knowing Geoffrey for about 8 years. I had the distinct honor of visiting his cabin and eating his hand made bean burritos. He could be the consummate English gentleman but possessed the backbone and grit of a Yorkshireman (of which he was very proud). He was persistent and vehement about matters that deeply concerned him (sometimes exasperatingly so). I treasure the postcards he sent me over the years, written in his distinctive fine calligraphy (samples of his calligraphy can be found in his book – described below).
I highly recommend his book, Trek! Man Alone in the Arizona Wild. It is his written legacy – that is until someone takes on the daunting task of compiling and publishing his copious correspondence and editorials. In addition to his writing, Geoffrey’s legacy is ensured by the memories of his many friends and admirers and by the trail named after him located in the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve (Nature Conservancy) near Patagonia, Arizona.
Book Review: Trek! Man Alone in the Arizona Wild by Geoffrey Platts. Generally, this is a book about Geoffrey’s admiration of and respect for the Sonoran desert. Specifically, it is a journal written by a keen observer reporting on the minute and wonderful details to be found there (written with great humor, self-deprecation and passion). By traveling solo for many days and nights through an inhospitable land at an inhospitable time of year, the author experienced total solitude (save for the local flora/fauna), a solitude that heightened awareness and promoted insights (like shamans and prophets of old), which he shared within these pages. For sale at Amazon Books.
“A Desert Place” essay by Geoffrey Platts courtesy of Sonoran News: http://www.sonorannews.com/archives/2011/110119/frontpage-DesertPlace.html
“Crotalus in the Cabin” essay by Geoffrey Platts courtesy of Sonoran News: http://www.sonorannews.com/archives/2011/111005/communitynews.html
“Geoffrey Platts, a Renaissance Man” and “Farewell to Geoffrey” by Rick Isetts for Sierra Club’s “Canyon Echo” February 2001 page 3/Obituary on page 1: http://www.sierraclub.org/sites/www.sierraclub.org/files/sce/grand-canyon-chapter/canyon_echo/2001/Feb01Echo.pdf
photo of Geoffrey by Katy Davidson