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Essays

  • Ready ... or not

    Ready ... or not

    Sometimes a close encounter with wildlife is a little too close for the wildlife's comfort.

  • Summer blizzard

    Summer blizzard

    Wonderful things are everywhere -- but you have to pay attention in order to see them.

  • Turning back the tide

    Turning back the tide

    A volunteer naturalist describes the unique beauty -- and fragility -- of California's Elkhorn Slough Reserve.

  • Guns -- and none

    Guns -- and none

    A woman who grew up with guns goes on to a life without them.

  • Nature illiteracy

    Nature illiteracy

    Many hikers are obsessed about correct identification of flora and fauna, but a stalwart few are fine with simply seeing a bird as a bird.

  • Walking Woman

    Walking Woman

    The Owens River is flowing again -- and Mary Austin's Land of Little Rain is rejoicing.

  • Little doses of danger

    Little doses of danger

    A formerly fearless outdoorswoman becomes unexpectedly wary once she becomes the mother of two children.

  • Crossing over

    Crossing over

    This particular city girl never wanted to live in a small mountain town – until she fell in love with one of the residents.

  • Out of the cubicle, into the canyon

    Out of the cubicle, into the canyon

    After he gets laid off from his job, a writer seeks consolation hiking in the Sierra Nevada.

  • East to the West

    East to the West

    A writer contemplates where the West begins, both in the landscape and in his life.

  • Good night, sweet trees

    Good night, sweet trees

    A scientist sees a Shakespearean tragedy unfold in the West’s dying aspen forests, victims of climate change.

  • The squeal of silence

    The squeal of silence

    Time spent alone in a cabin in the wild reminds a writer that silence is more than the absence of noise.

  • Drive that Hummer

    Drive that Hummer

    If you could find a Hummer that got perfect gas mileage and didn’t pollute, would you be willing to get behind the wheel?

  • Ending hunger

    Ending hunger

    A New Mexico woman fights hunger by sending healthy snacks home with schoolchildren every Friday.

  • My brother, the bear

    My brother, the bear

    A Colorado woman copes with marauding bears, dead chickens and her beloved brother's schizophrenia.

  • The Eastern Frontier

    The Eastern Frontier

    New York City is really the West, buried under time's wrapping.

  • The kindness of hunters

    The kindness of hunters

    After a lifetime of despising and fearing guns, a woman is blindsided by the everyday kindness shown by two hunters.

  • My father's political career

    My father's political career

    A writer remembers her father's unlikely political career, running as a Democrat in a Republican part of Colorado.

  • A guide to the past -- and the future

    A guide to the past -- and the future

    The WPA Guide to 1930s Montana has become the author's favorite guidebook.

  • Coming home to the cosmos

    Coming home to the cosmos

    A wandering writer comes home to Utah after chasing meteorites around the world for years.

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