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September 27, 2012
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Mountain Gazette editor unveils two new books in Grand Junction

It's not often a writer unveils two new books at once. "Smoke Signals: Wayward Journeys Through the Old Heart of the New West" is a collection of essays by John Fayhee, longtime editor of the "Mountain Gazette," a regional outdoor culture magazine. The book was purposely released in time for the 40th anniversary of the magazine where the chapters first appeared in their "unencumbered, long-winded" form, the author said. The publication of his other book, "The Colorado Mountain Companion: A Potpourri of Useful Miscellany from the Highest Parts of the Highest State" was delayed after the publishing company changed hands - thus the author's two books both released within 24 hours.John Fayhee will read from one, and talk about the other Saturday, Sept. 29, in Fruita at Cavalcade; and Oct. 13 at Barnes and Nobel Booksellers in Grand Junction."It presents a challenge," presenting two very different books. "But it's sort of cool - makes people think you're industrious," Fayhee joked.The genesis for "The Colorado Mountain Companion" began in a Bisbee, Ariz., bar where Fayhee said an argument ensued over what is the highest town in Colorado. Fayhee reflected on how often he's had those kinds of conversations, and how little some residents know about their Colorado home. Later, Fayhee became familiar with the original encyclopedias of the early 1700s, where authors compiled information of whatever was of interest to the writer. "I decided to aggregate those things about the Colorado mountains - what interested me most and see where that led me," Fayhee said.In areas of which Fayhee knew little - geology, Native American history - he consulted with those who did. He pursued controversies such as the debate over the number of Colorado mountains higher than 14,000 feet - is it 52, 53, or 67, as some have claimed?"The Colorado Mountain Companion" is much more than a book of trivia, however."It's way more than that," including chapters on geology that talk about the "Aspen Anomaly" responsible for the elevation of Colorado's two highest mountains, he said.His other book stems from the monthly columns titled "Smoke Signals" that Fayhee wrote over several years for the "Mountain Gazette.""This book is 22 favorite 'Smoke Signals' - reconciled versions that appeared in the 'Mountain Gazette,'" Fayhee said. "I reconciled each draft, line by line, picking out the best version."The essays' themes draw primarily on Fayhee's experiences as a traveler and outdoorsman."My strength as a writer, is I recognize a story when I see it," Fayhee said. "I seem to have a knack for putting myself in positions that are bizarre misadventures."Fayhee worked as a reporter and editor for 15 years, and was also a contributing editor at "Backpacker" magazine. His previous books include "Mexico's Copper Canyon Country," "Up At Altitude: A Celebration of Life in the High Country," and "A Colorado Winter."Fayhee, 56, lived in Colorado for 24 years, and wrote "The Colorado Mountain Companion" over two years in Leadville. He now lives with his wife, Gay Gangel-Fayhee, in Silver City, N.M.

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The Post Independent Updated Sep 27, 2012 05:14PM Published Sep 27, 2012 04:58PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.