the Texas Trail of Cabeza de Vaca (2008)
In 1527, the conquistador Cabeza
de Vaca set sail for the Spanish territory of “La Florida." His
aim was to explore and colonize an unknown land that stretched from present-day
Florida to Texas. The mission met with disaster. In an attempt to sail back
to Cuba, de Vaca and his crew crashed near the shores of Galveston Island.
From there de Vaca embarked on one of the greatest adventures in history. His
quest to return home took him ten years. He became the first European to live
among the native people of Texas, the first to walk across the North American
continent, the first to describe the people who lived there, the first to see
possum and bison, the first to see the Mississippi and Pecos rivers, and the
first to see the Pacific Ocean. Following historical clues, Peter Lourie traces
the conquistador’s trail across Texas and into Mexico, as he tells the
extraordinary story of Cabeza de Vaca, who survived hurricanes, shipwrecks,
starvation, and trekking thousands of miles in the Mexican desert. What a tale
Five trips to the North Slope of Alaska have led to two books, Arctic Thaw and Whaling Season, the first about climate change and the second about an arctic whale scientist who works with the Inupiaq Eskikmos to conduct his science.To learn more about global
warming and how it might be affecting the Arctic and the people who
live there, I made my five trips to the North Slope of Alaska, often accompanied
by Dr. Paul Shepson, a professor of Chemistry at Purdue University. Along the way I reconnected with my friend Craig George, son of children's book writer Jean Craighead George. To go out with him when his Inupiaq friends bring in the whales was an amazing experience.
I first went to Mexico to
accompany a famous Mexican archaeologist into the heart of the Pyramid
of the Moon at Teotihuacan, north of Mexico City; then returned to
watch him open up new exacavations at the site of the Great Temple
in downtown Mexico City.
In 2003 my daughter and I
flew to the Bahamian island of Andros, a perfect place for learning
to scuba dive. After she got certified she wanted to dive with
sharks, which we did.
||Tierra del Fuego (2001)
In January 2001, I flew to Punta Arenas, Chile, on the Strait of Magellan,
and worked my way down through the Main Island of Tierra del Fuego to Ushuaia,
Argentina, which lies on the Beagle Channel. I explored islands with penguins
and sea lions, and I learned all about the history ...
In September 2000, I went to Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, to work on a book
about the ancient Puebloan people who had lived in great houses here
a thousand years ago. I was accompanied by Dr. Gwinn Vivian, an archaeologist
who had grown up excavating these sites...
||The Mystery of the Maya
I spent a number of weeks following archaeologists around the ancient Maya
city of Palenque in the jungles of Chiapas, Mexico. Never before had I
seen so many ruins in the half-light of the jungle. And the howler monkeys
roared at us like lions...
||On the Trail of Sacagawea
In the summer of 1999, I took my family on the Lewis and Clark Trail from
North Dakota to Oregon, and we canoed and kayaked sections of the same
rivers traveled by Sacagawea, the Shoshone Indian woman who had helped...
All my life I had wanted to travel America's mythic river. And finally
I paddled parts of it with my partner Ernie La Prairie. After he left me,
I traveled alone all the way down to the Gulf, arriving there in a hurricane...
||Lost Treasure of the Inca
After 16 years, I returned to Ecuador and to the little village of Triunfo,
where many years before I had hired three guides to take up into the Llanganati
Mountains in search for the great Inca treasure. Meeting my...
||Rio Grande (1997)
When I traveled down this third-longest river in the United States--1,885
miles long--I decided to mostly drive it so I could see the whole thing
in less than a month. But I rafted various sections, too...
||Erie Canal (1996)
I spent three weeks paddling the Erie Canal in a solo boat with a double-bladed
paddle. The last week of the journey I paddled north to my home up near
Lake Champlain. I kept a 1000-page journal for this trip, which I thought
I would turn into an adult book, too...
||On the Trail of
Lewis and Clark: Traveling up the Missouri River (1995)
This book comes from a trip I made up the Missouri, 1700 miles by boat, in
1995 when I traveled with travel writer William Least Heat Moon, from Omaha,
Nebraska, up to Three Forks, Montana. We fought a current that sometimes
ran 12 miles per hour...
For this book I made many trips into the River of Grass to spend time with
Buffalo Tiger, a wonderful old man who had grown up in the Everglades
without ever speaking to a white kid until he was 14. I spent hour after
hour interviewing him....
||Yukon River (1991)
My paddling partner, Ernie La Prairie and I wanted to see the gold rush
trail of 1897. So we paddled from Whitehorse to Dawson in the Yukon Territory,
460 miles with a 7-mile-an-hour current!...
||The Lost Treasure of Captain
This novel comes directly out of the Hudson canoe journey. One story always
leads to another, and then another, and so on. In Kingston, New York, I
met a boat captain named John Cutten who told me the pirate story...
||Sweat of the Sun, Tears
of the Moon (1979-82)
I lived in Ecuador for many years in order to research this story. I kept
a visa, which allowed me to stay in the country, by getting a job teaching
at the American School in Quito. What a magic country of volcanoes...
River of Mountains
This is the adult version of the children's book about canoeing the Hudson.
I met such interesting people along the way, and learned so much history
that I decided I needed to write a longer version than just 48 pages...
A Fan's letter
||Hudson River (1990)
So far, I am the only person ever to canoe the entire Hudson River from
its source at Lake Tear of the Clouds on the edge of Mount Marcy to the
sea. I made this three-week journey in June through the whitewater at
the beginning of the river...
For three months I wandered the state of Rondonia in the heart of Brazil's Amazon jungle. I took boats, jeeps, planes, and traveled all around. I saw the old forest being cut down and burned. I met gold miners...