Alcock takes advantage of an increasingly common phenomenon—a severe wildfire—to present an engaging exploration of the natural history of a desert mountain range. The wildfire serves as a long-term site for Alcock´s hikes and observations of nature, in which he shares the biological basis of ecosystem changes, as well as his deep appreciation of the beauty and mystery of the desert mountains. Readers will be inspired to observe the natural environments around their own homes.
—Peter Fulé, Northern Arizona University School of Forestry
Like taking a walk with Thoreau or Leopold, this is a unique and fascinating book. Accounting recovery after the Willow fire, naturalist John Alcock relates seasonal walks among the chaparral plants along Deer Creek during the previous decade. The hidden lives of wildflowers, birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects come alive, along with his evolutionary explanations for their myriad adaptations to the desert environment and recent fire.
—Stephen Buchmann, author of The Reason for Flowers