Through the Wilderness by Brad Orsted


Award-winning Yellowstone photographer and documentary filmmaker Brad Orsted’s seven-year search for refuge and redemption in America’s greatest wilderness.

When Brad Orsted’s fifteen-month-old daughter, Marley, died mysteriously at the home of Brad’s mother, he descended into madness. Blaming himself, he plunged into an abyss of grief, guilt, and self-recrimination, fueled by prescription drugs and alcohol. He planned his suicide as his wife, Stacey, searched for a new beginning. She finally found a job in Yellowstone National Park and, with their daughters, Mazzy and Chloe, the pair fled Michigan, looking for refuge and redemption in the 2.2 million acres of glorious American wilderness.

Through the Wilderness begins in Yellowstone, five months after the family’s arrival in 2012, when, in an alcoholic haze, Brad stumbled into a field of sage and survived a face-to-face encounter with an adult male grizzly bear. For the first time in almost two years, he realized he wanted to live―he just didn’t know how.

Desperate for help, Brad invited himself to a Crow sweat lodge ceremony, where an elder told him it was time to stop grieving. The elder’s words started Brad on a journey towards sobriety and inner peace, only possible because of lessons he learned in the wild, his new job as a wildlife photographer and filmmaker, and two orphan grizzly cubs who carried him back home and taught him how to live again.

Brad’s ten-year odyssey is about finding the wild inside the human heart. It is a journey of the spirit― a journey to forgiveness and sobriety, to love and life, to memory, and ultimately, to Marley.



Rating: 5 out of 5.

Through the Wilderness: My Journey of Redemption and Healing in the American Wild by Brad Orsted

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An outstanding story. I’d recommend to anyone.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advance readers copy via access to the galley for free through the NetGalley program.

The Story
What a beautiful storytelling and journey.

Grieving father. The timeline like flashbacks. Complex parent relationships. Trajectory of personal profession. Dependency. Resiliency. Guilt and shame. Drawing from nature. Capturing the art of it and profession. Meaningful relationships.

Some comedic, lighthearted bits in there too.

Different struggles and grievances yet finding solace, there’s relatability and it’s a very beautiful, detailed account.

The Writing
Great storytelling in the sense of capturing the deeper emotion of circumstance, descriptions that from geological formation to questions about life, and the wanting and yearning after much loss.

I will look forward to more.

View all my reviews

<span class="uppercase">Hello, I'm Erica </span>
Hello, I’m Erica

Recipe developer, book reviewer, and artist. Expect delicious recipes both traditional and new, book reviews of all sorts of genres, a variety of creative expression, life musings, and much more!



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