Adam Sawyer and Kara Close at Palouse Falls (Photo: Adam Sawyer)
This post is a break from my typical articles, but I wanted to get the word out to those who follow my blog. Over the weekend, I learned that my friend Adam Sawyer lost his wonderful partner Kara Close when their home in rural Washington burned to ground.
Adam lost everything, including Kara’s little cat Lela. It’s both heartbreaking and unfathomable for any of us to imagine the loss Adam is experiencing. He is staying with family for now, but he needs our help to recover from this devastating blow. A GoFundMe page has been set up by his sister to directly help Adam:
Adam and Kara in Washington Park (Photo: Adam Sawyer)
Why am I posting this here? That’s easy. Adam loves the Pacific Northwest outdoors, and he makes his living writing field guides, news and magazine articles and leading tours that bring outdoor experiences within reach of everyone. Nobody gets rich in his business. He’s in it for his love of the outdoors and to share that love with others. The joy he finds in guiding others to adventure shines through in his writing, too. Adam has led an adventurous life — including being a veteran — but his literary bio blurb perfectly sums how he embarked on the life he now lives:
“After giving up a soul-crushing corporate job, Adam Sawyer now describes himself as a Professional Gentleman of Leisure. A freelance writer and photographer, he also offers guided hikes around the Portland, Oregon area. He has hiked extensively throughout the Pacific Northwest and enjoys sharing his discoveries.”
Adam’s field guides are “people’s guides”. They are aimed at a broad audience to include people who might not otherwise explore the outdoors discover the beauty of our amazing Pacific Northwest. They’re accessible and fun to read, yet they also cover trail ethics and especially the impacts that we humans have on our public lands. Adam calls on his readers to consider volunteering with trail stewardship organizations to give back and pitch in to care for our amazing trail network – something you don’t often find in a hiking guide.
Adam and Kara on the water (Photo: Adam Sawyer)
Adam and Kara in the air (Photo: Adam Sawyer)
Kara joined Adam on many of his adventures, and she was a constant source of support for him in realizing his dream of being an author and guide – including long stints away from their home. Adam was on just such a trip when the fire occurred, likely saving his life, but taking Kara’s. It’s too often a cliché, but Kara and Adam were, indeed, soulmates. That’s plain to see in these photos that Adam has shared.
Support Adam’s Writing
While the GoFundMe campaign will help support Adam in this moment of tragedy, we can continue his excellent work going forward by simply supporting his writing. To say that Adam is a prolific writer is an understatement, as you can see in this rundown (below) of his many guides currently in print. Have a look… and then buy every single one of them! Then buy a couple more for friends or family! They make great gifts.
I’ll post a couple links at the bottom of this article (to Amazon and Powell’s) where you can pick up any of these titles. Please note that for the purpose of getting this post up quickly, I’ve included the publisher’s descriptions for each of these books (italicized).
Urban Hikes | Oregon (March 1, 2022)
Oregon, whimsical paradise of the Pacific Northwest, is known for its lush landscapes of forests and mountains. But you don’t have to go all the way into the backcountry to experience what the state has to offer. In Urban Hikes Oregon you’ll hit the trail to discover the landmarks and hotspots that shape the state’s cities and towns. From arboretum trails to picturesque waterfront walks, this guide explores the 40 best urban hiking trails throughout the state.
Best Outdoor Adventures Near Portland (2016)
Who says you have to travel far from home to go on a great hike, paddle, or bike ride? Best Outdoor Adventures Near Portland, Oregon details nearly forty of the best hikes, paddles, bike routes, and adventures within an hour’s drive from the Portland, Oregon, area. This book is perfect for the urban and suburbanite who may be hard-pressed to find great outdoor activities close to home. This guide not only include the best cycling, hiking, and paddling, but also ziplining, rock climbing, and disc golf – perfect for families!
Hiking Waterfalls | Oregon (2020)
This beautiful, full-color guidebook features 64 of the best waterfall hikes in Oregon, with another 19 honorable mentions. From the Coast Range to the Cascades, along with the breathtaking Columbia River Gorge, you can explore those special places where water cascades over cliffs. Some waterfalls are remote while others are just a short hike from the trailhead, some are gentle trickles and others are roaring giants. Yet all of them offer a peaceful escape and are worth seeking out.
Hiking Waterfalls | Washington (2019)
Hiking Waterfalls in Washington includes detailed hike descriptions, maps, and color photos for the area’s most scenic waterfall hikes. Hike descriptions also include history, trivia, and GPS coordinates. This book takes you through state and national parks, forests, monuments, and wilderness areas, and from city parks to the most secluded corners of the area to view the most spectacular waterfalls.
Best Easy Day Hikes | Salem & Eugene (2021)
Best Easy Day Hikes Salem and Eugene includes concise descriptions and detailed maps for easy-to-follow hikes in and around two of Oregon’s most charming and adventurous small cities. Stroll along the river in Salem and visit the Northwest Rainforest outside Eugene’s hip college town.
Unique Eats and Eateries of Portland, Oregon (2018)
“Adam Sawyer uncovers the stories of the people behind the city’s ascension to culinary greatness. Along the way, you’ll discover the best places to try it all!” – katu.com
“You have more than 90 eateries, and as I read through all of them, there wasn’t a loser among any of them. I want to take someone visiting Portland to each of these places.” – Portland Culinary Podcast
“This book covers all locations around the Portland area, no cravings unanswered! Highly recommend as the perfect research resource for your next date night in Portland.” – Reader review
Forthcoming titles to watch for from Adam Sawyer:
- 25 Outdoor Adventures on the Tillamook Coast
- Hiking Waterfalls: Idaho
You can order Adam’s books from these online booksellers (and Kindle versions from Amazon):
Adam Sawyer and Kara Close in 2017 (Photo: Adam Sawyer)
If you’ve been a reader of this blog for a while, you might remember this post from 2012 that features Adam on a trip dedicated to restoring Warren Creek Falls:
I have such fond memories of that trip, and it resulted in this Oregon Field Guide story on OPB:
I met Adam 15 years ago when Trailkeepers of Oregon (TKO) and the Oregon Hikers Forum were just getting started. It has been such a pleasure to watch his life as a “Gentleman of Leisure” unfold over that time, and I know he’ll find his path through the hardship and grief that he’s now facing.
Adam has had other challenges in his life, more than most of us have faced. But he’s a man of unusual grit, good humor and a big heart, and that has always pulled him through. I wish him well, and I thank you for considering your part in helping Adam through this especially tough part of his life journey.
Adam, thank you for the spirit and passion you bring to our amazing outdoors!
Tom Kloster | February 2022