During the summers of 1977, '78 and '79 he was also a fire lookout on Aztec Peak south of Young, where the trail that climbs to the top of the peak is called Abbey's Way Trail, number 151. Abbey's love for the West is demonstrated in many of his books, journals and interviews but no thought sums up Abbey's approach as much as this quote, from when he originally discovered the West: "For the first time, I felt I was getting close to the West of my deepest imaginings, the place where the tangible and the mythical became the same."
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To call Edward Abbey simply an "environmentalist" would be inaccurate. Although his writing focused primarily on environmental issues, Abbey seemed to be constantly critiquing the culture that surrounded him. His works ranged from fiction writing to blunt, and sometimes slighting, essays. Much of his writing was so controversial that even some groups of environmentalists rebuked his stance. Abbey was known to throw beer cans from his car because the highway he was traveling had already ruined the landscape surrounding it. He wrote essays degrading western farming and ranching methods and yet he was a proponent of the National Rifle Association. His writing suggests he wasn't comfortable with environmental activists or activism as a whole. Abbey wasn't concerned with keeping either a liberal or conservative point of view; his views were directed by nature and his love of the American West.