Actually, I was with a bunch of other guys; Keith Lampe who recently died, who became known as Ponderosa Pine; Jeremiah Gorsline, a kid named Steve Wilson. And we were traveling around trying to get a sense of what was going on in the communal movement. And Gary lived in a place that actually had a community, North San Juan Ridge. And Keith Lampe had met him, and we stopped and spent a couple of days there. And then later, we visited again. And there was a roadkill deer that the — there’s a religious thing there called — and they picked up a roadkill deer, and they brought it to Gary, because they knew he was a barbarian meat eater. And he was taking off to give a poetry reading, and had to catch a plane, and I said hey, no problem, I will skin it and prepare it and all that. It was a little puffed-up since they hadn’t gutted it.
So, I hung it up and skinned it, which I’d done, you know, many times. And he was quite taken by my dexterity with cutting up meat to butcher, skinning it and stuff. And then they were giving somebody a bad time that had killed a deer there that took them a while to skin it out, like two hours or something. I did it like in 10 minutes, to get the skin off. So, I think he saw some authenticity that — I actually did live in the hills, so I think that helped.
And then I started a — I don’t know what they call it. We call it a circle of correspondence, but it was a little newsletter that went back to the landers called, Upriver/Downriver, and he contributed to that. And I wrote a couple of pieces that he thought were good. And so, we began corresponding. And eventually we gave a reading tour of Vermont together, and all kinds of things. Yeah, a good mentor, a good mentor I thought, really smart.1
And I don’t think it’s out yet, but I wrote a — I contributed an essay drawn from a conference at Stanford when Mountains and Rivers Without End came out, that I think was a fairly good, critical piece. It got a lot of laughs anyway. And yeah, well, I said that in travels and profession and stuff that I’d met a lot of — I’d met a lot of very smart people, and I sort of ranked them as, you know, like super intelligent, unbelievably intelligent, and holy shit. Snyder fit the holy shit category. He really has a remarkable mind.