Feathered Canyons

Finding Treasures in the Golden State

Non-Fiction - Adventure
254 Pages
Reviewed on 04/30/2023
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Author Biography

I love adventures, exploring and learning. That is what my book Feathered Canyons is about. I look back at four crucial years while exploring Big Sur and the Feather River in California, learning about nature and people. Some of the knowledge and wisdom I gleaned are in the books I've written. Since my formative time in the 1960s I’ve traveled and had training in understanding animal behavior, studied monkeys, lions, humans and more. Cultural differences and adaptations to environments continue to fascinate me. I'm grateful to share life with an incredibly helpful, tolerant, artist-naturalist husband, David Bygott,

    Book Review

Reviewed by Nino Lobiladze for Readers' Favorite

Feathered Canyons by Jeannette Hanby and David Bygott is a memoir of historical significance. Hanby was born during WWII and raised by protective parents in a safe environment. Once she graduated from California's Berkeley in 1962, she decided to explore life deeper and learn more about her fellow Americans with different skin colors or social backgrounds. She started working at McLaren Hall with troubled and often abused children. Hanby, along with her co-worker and friend, Perky, wanted to visit Mexico and even purchased tickets for their trip, but Perky got sick at the very last moment. Hanby confessed that she was still eager to go on her big adventure and wanted to move to Big Sur in Northern California, where there was a job opportunity at the Nepenthe restaurant, famous for its bohemian atmosphere. Jeannette met Bill Hargis, who soon became her mentor, friend, and love of her life. Bill invited Jeannette to join his gold mining venture in the Feather River Canyon. This unique experience would change the course of her life for good.

After opening Feathered Canyons, be prepared to hear the mighty ocean waves, smell the magnificent Ponderosa pines, and hear the roar of the wild and beautiful Feather River. It invites you to participate in a sensual, thrilling adventure. Jeannette Hanby's prose is powerful and leaves readers almost breathless. This is a captivating story of a young Hanby, who is shy, socially awkward, and knows the darker side of life from experience. The pictures show that she is also strikingly beautiful; it was easy to connect with her on an emotional level. I liked her curiosity and big heart so much. She is concerned with environmental challenges and takes action to save the wild beauty of the Feather River, leading by example. Hanby's relationship with Bill Hargis is the centerpiece of the story; I was amazed by how openly and genuinely Hanby speaks about it. I particularly enjoyed the chapter about Hanby's trip to Mexico, for she showed a true sense of travel, exploring different cultures with tremendous respect and admiration. The wonderful illustrations by David Bygott are an essential part of the story, allowing us to grasp the beauty of Big Sur. I also loved the amazing poems by Genetta opening most chapters. Feathered Canyons is for readers who love memoirs, inspirational tales, and nature. I would especially recommend it to readers of all ages looking for their path in life.

Edith Wairimu

Feathered Canyons: Finding Treasures in the Golden State by Jeannette Hanby and David Bygott documents Hanby’s beautiful journey of enlightenment in the Big Sur region in California during the 1960s. While working as a probation officer in a holding facility in Los Angeles, Hanby learned about cultures that were different from her own. Determined to travel and explore the world, she quit her job. Her journey led her to the heart of Big Sur, working at the Nepenthe restaurant. The work documents her eye-opening experiences including the people she met and their cultures. It follows her adventures as she wanders the Big Sur wilderness with a friend and intertwines them with historical facts and breathtaking descriptions of the places they explore.

An exciting work that wonderfully captures the feeling of freedom and adventure found in nature, this account challenges common trends of consumerism and materialism and invites us to pause and explore the world around us. It contains a host of intriguing people and informative conversations. I especially enjoyed its eye-catching descriptions of lesser-known places around the Big Sur Coast as they were during the 1960s and its straightforward illustrations. The lessons captured in the work are eye-opening and the cultural information included is educative. I found the book’s candid descriptions of Hanby’s background, her relationship with Bill, and her interactions to be refreshing. Feathered Canyons by Jeannette Hanby and David Bygott is an adventure-filled work that inspires wonder and adeptly portrays the beauty found in different cultures and places. Highly recommended.

Vincent Dublado

Feathered Canyons: Finding Treasures in the Golden State is Jeannette Hanby’s travel adventures on the California coast. From working in a culturally diverse home for abused and abandoned children in Los Angeles, her adventure begins as she visits her friend, Perky, who lives on the south side of Los Angeles and whom she plans to go on a vacation with to Mexico. Plans change when Perky is hospitalized and nearly dies. Perky asks Jeanette what she will do now, and she sets her sights on Big Sur. Jeanette embarks on a memorable period of adventure, meeting interesting people, panning for gold, finding love, and continually seeking enlightenment.

Feathered Canyons should be read slowly for its profound life lessons and how it connects to you personally if you have ever ventured forth in search of finding yourself. Containing nostalgic passages, Jeanette Hanby expresses her love for the unadulterated California of the early days and her rediscovery of how it keeps pace with the tempo of our times. Her impressions trigger a mix of emotions, from the idyllic to the horrors of commercialism. While all good journeys must end, Hanby does not rest after her transformation. Her experience is continuous, further honing the wisdom acquired through interaction with new people and nature. She has a great story to tell about the people she met and the things she saw, made more interesting by her philosophical meditations. If you enjoyed Steinbeck’s Travels with Charlie, you will enjoy Feathered Canyons.

Bernadette Longu

In Feathered Canyons: Find Treasures in the Golden State, authors Jeannette Hanby and Davit Bygott have covered a time period from 1964 to 1967 when politicians and big businesses were more interested in making money than preserving the wonderful earth we live in and when greed and indifference hit the world with a big bang and never let go.

The authors have given the reader glimpses into the lives of some colorful characters in Big Sur, the last of the untamed areas in California. The 'treasures' in the Golden State can be measured by how the reader sees life. Whether it is gold in the rushing waters of the Feather River or in the people who live in the area along the main road, or in the mountains where four-wheel drives or hiking are the only means of transport. Just to name some of the wonderful characters walking with you on your journey are Perky, Susie, Barley, Lolly Fassett, Nathan, a friend from college, Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac, Tom, Alan Watts, Sage, and Fritz Perls. Bill Hargio wanders the most throughout the book and at the end finds the reason why. Personal drawings, pictures, and the most beautiful poetry are an inspiration in themselves.

The authors have written a most interesting and page-turning book. Feathered Canyons allows the reader to see this period of time through the eyes of a young girl ahead of her time, who realized that there was more to life for anyone, not only a woman, than marriage and family. It was a privilege to read this book, which opened up a whole new part of the world that I had only faintly heard of through movies and TV programs but not in the way Jeannette Hanby and David Bygott have brought it to life. What a wonderful book; well worth it!

K.C. Finn

Feathered Canyons: Finding Treasures in the Golden State is a work of non-fiction in the adventure, memoir, and historical subgenres. It is suitable for the general adult reading audience and was penned by Jeannette Hanby with illustrations by David Bygott. In this charming autobiographical work, we follow the author during a formative period in her life, her early twenties, just as the hippie movement of the 1960s is getting into full swing in the USA. Jeanette discovers much about the world and other people, but also some really important lessons about her place in the world and connection to nature, particularly in the wild beauty of Big Sur.

Anyone who has ever wanted to go to California will find a gorgeous tribute to its many varied landscapes within the pages of this heartwarming work. There are so many layers to what Jeannette Hanby brings to the table for fans of adventurous memoirs, not least in the way she handles the follies of youth and many of the risks she took as a young woman trying to find herself out in the big wide world. The social and cultural history of the 1960s is charged with energy and filled with vivid descriptions, and the narrative is so confident and well-worded that it often feels like a wise friend is telling you these uplifting and sometimes cautionary tales. I would not hesitate to recommend Feathered Canyons to memoir enthusiasts for its gorgeous presentation, cinematic writing, and well-penned emotional storytelling.