When I go, I leave no trace -- The Story of Everett Reuss
November 10, 2005 7:42 AM   Subscribe

"So, tomorrow I take to the trail again, to the canyons south." With these words young artist Everett Reuss left the town of Escalante, UT to head into the desert never to be seen again. He was only twenty but had rubbed elbows with the likes of Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange. Reuss has been described as a "total artist" [angelfire] working in paint, woodcuts and poetry to describe the marvelous wilderness of the Southwest. [more inside]
posted by Ogre Lawless (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Reuss' dissappearance has been a mystery -- no trace of the man was ever found save for his pack mules and the enigmatic inscription "NEMO 1934" carved on a rock near Davis, UT. He is believed killed by misadventure, the elements or murder, though Elvis-like spottings helped fuel the mystique of the boy-poet.

Reuss' tale still stirs the imagination of modern artists -- Boulder, UT holds an annual art festival in his name. He was also an inspiration for Chris McCandless, a modern self-styled adventurer who died in the backwoods of Alaska after apparently injesting toxic flora. McCandless was the focus of Jon Krakauer's Into The Wild which has in turn inspired a new generation of wilderness wanderers.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 7:43 AM on November 10, 2005

Am I totally off base, or was there some talk of his dissapearance being linked to some of the Mormon settlers (discussed in "Under the Banner of Heaven")?
posted by iamck at 8:13 AM on November 10, 2005

Thanks for this, Ogre. I like the bold woodcuts.
BTW: Never injest toxic flora--you can laugh your head right off.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:19 AM on November 10, 2005

this is much better than ferraris and re-photographs. thanks.
posted by 3.2.3 at 9:41 AM on November 10, 2005

A very welcome link. Thx.
posted by horseblind at 9:45 AM on November 10, 2005

I like the woodcuts, thanks.

[McCandless was an idiot. If he took Reuss's disappearance as some kind of inspiration he was even more idiotic than I had thought.]
posted by OmieWise at 9:53 AM on November 10, 2005

Regarding the Banner of Heaven connection, I don't recall it though read the book fairly recently. I think most of the brutality chronicled in that book either pre- or post-dates that, though blaming the local native peoples was a common coverup tactic.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:44 PM on November 10, 2005

Good post. My favorite grassroots environmental organization, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance was inspired by Everett Reuss and depicts Reuss heading off into the desert in its logo.
posted by LarryC at 2:29 PM on November 10, 2005

Very nice post, O. Lawless, and nicely set up. It's easy to be captivated by the Utah desert, as Edward Abbey has well described. (I am another PA boy like Abbey who wandered west at a young age and have never gotten over it.) I second LarryC's vote for SUWA, who do good/difficult work fighting to save one of the most physically beautiful places in the world.

As Abbey wrote, “It is not enough to understand the natural world; the point is to defend and preserve it. Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.”
posted by LeLiLo at 11:02 PM on November 10, 2005

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