I am working on reading a book about each of our presidents. You can see the ones I have read so far here.
Franklin Pierce our 14th president was an interesting man whose political life was based on preserving the union. This book only covers Pierce’s life up to his inauguration. Although it took me six months to read I found the book compelling. Pierce was 47 when he was elected, the youngest president up until his time. The previous biography of Pierce prior to Wallner’s book was published in 1931 and Wallner uses new sources and modern research to describe the life and times of Pierce. Here are a couple quotes from the introduction.
“The reality of the man did not seem to fit the reputation, and maybe it is the reputation that needs to be reconsidered in light of the reality of Franklin Pierce’s life and career.”
“His failings in these early years, and they were many, are consistent with the inability of the second party system to deal with the single-issue movements such as abolitionism and temperance and their moralistic, divisive, and often extralegal propensities.”
The most tragic thing about Pierce’s life is that he and his wife had three children all of whom died before he became president. The most horrifying death was that of his ten year old son Benny who was seated right behind his parents when he was killed in a train accident on the way to Washington for the inauguration.
Duke and I just got back from a two night camping trip in Nevada’s newest State Park, the Walker River State Recreation Area. The park just opened this summer. It is made up of four units along the east fork of the Walker River. The units are not contiguous. The first night we camped in the Pitchfork unit in the Riverbend Campground. The campground is less than two hours south of Reno. It has nice bathrooms with flush toilets and showers. I loved the setting, especially with the fall colors.
We had yummy Guiness stew for dinner. Once it got really dark we enjoyed the amazing number of stars and the view of the Milky Way that you can only see when you are away from city lights.
The park includes a 5.6 mile stretch of the Walker river that is open for floating or kayaking. I think it would be fun to rent a kayak and make the trip some time.
During the days we had beautiful fall weather. The only problem was that the nights were cold. The first night it got down to 27 degrees!
The next morning we packed up and moved about 45 miles down dirt roads to the Bighorn Campground in the Nine Mile Ranch unit of the park. It is a rustic campground with brand new pit toilets. Each camp site is well separated and right along the river. We were the only ones camping there and overnight it got very cold – down to 18 degrees! Other than the cold it was a wonderful place to camp.
We had good sleeping bags and lots of blankets but it was hard to get up in the morning. Even the water in our five gallon container was frozen! The temperature warmed up pretty fast once the sun came up.
When we warmed up we packed up and headed home. Along the way we stopped for lunch at Rosie’s Place a great Mexican restaurant in Wellington.