Over the past 14 years Boardman-Tasker award-winner Ian R Mitchell has been a frequent visitor to the wilds of Utah and the surrounding US Mountain States. His motive has been not only to learn about the area he calls almost a 'black hole for Americans and foreigners alike' but also to get to know the people who live there and the wilderness many of them know little about. This book comprises 10 essays covering his visits to the grounds of the ancient Anazasi civilization, to mountains such as Timpanagos and Tukhunikivats, to the mining country of Carbon County and to the various sites associated with the Mormon pioneers who settled Utah 150 years ago revealing that the land of the Latter-Day Saints has much to reward those who are curious enough to venture there. Ian ventures along a series of trails through the remoter and almost wholly ignored parts of the 'American Mountain West'. His travels are based on either cultural or geographic themes allowing him to gain both insight and knowledge of the region, and to experience the wilderness areas of some of America's most beautiful landscapes.
Along the way he befriends many Mormons, a people readers will want to know more about given the candidacy of the first LDS Presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, in November's US elections. After opening with The Road to Zion, Ian ventures out first with an essay that conjoins Scotland and Utah through a chance meeting with a Utah mountaineer then deals with his experiences along the Cactus Ed Trail, which looks at Edward Abbey, author of Desert Solitaire. The essays that follow this are: On The Mormon Trail, The Brigadoon Trail, On The Trail of The Ancient Ones, On The Cowboy Trail, On The Indian Trail, The Hanksville Trail, On the Trail of the Mountain Men, and finally On the Miners' Trail. The book has a an introduction by acclaimed mountain and travel writer Jim Perrin.