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Muddy Treads.
Photographs by Peter Sutherland.
Seems Books, 2008. 36 pp., Numerous color illustrations, 6½x9".

Publisher's Description
There was a large chunk of land behind my junior high school known as “The Hills.” It was an unclaimed no man's land, where you could do whatever you wanted. There were strange half built sheds, bags of lawn clippings, some illegally dumped furniture, and the occasional dead animal. Locals would go there to drink beer, burn stuff for fun, and drive four wheelers on the hills, some of which were steep and untracked. There were arched tracks left behind by motorcyclists on the hillsides where they had attempted to ride over the highest point (usually a stump). There was a muddy pond and twisted-up sage brush; all which was hidden from civilization. The edge of the land was the closest possible point to the high school where the kids could smoke. It was also the only place for them to go if they had skipped class and didn't own a car. One day I was back there after school riding my bike (I was 12) and I saw a group of about eight stoners from the high school. They had discovered an abandoned jeep! They pushed it up a massive dirt hill and were taking joy rides in it. It was bouncing over rocks at high speeds and kicking up dust without the sound of an engine. It was probably the most unsafe operation I had ever seen in my life but I could see the expressions of pure joy on their faces. It's one of my favorite memories from that time and somehow everyone survived. I like empty plots of land like that one. There is always something messed up about them that keeps them from being developed and there's a special kind of freedom that allows for stoners to go four wheeling in abandoned jeeps. The entire state of Alaska feels like a more pristine, grown-up version of one of those areas and everything about it is just a bit too rugged and crazy for the masses. Many of the photos in this book were taken in Alaska. The others are from California, Colorado, Utah, and Vermont. (2006-07)


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