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Essays

  • I fell into a burning ring of fire

    There’s nothing like a campfire to soothe and lift the soul

  • Shear Pleasure

    A photo essay follows Matt Smith and the other New Zealanders who make up the company Shear Pleasure as they travel Montana, visiting sheep ranches, shearing sheep, and drinking hard at the end of the day

  • Dina's Place

    An 8-year-old named Dina leads the author down to her own "special place" by the Big Sioux River on the Indian reservation that is home to the troubled child

  • Working among the West's newcomers

    New Western immigrants - illegal or not - often work hard in odd places, following the American dream.

  • When nature calls, don't follow your instincts

    For environmental as well as aesthetic reasons, parks like Grand Teton in Wyoming are doing away with wilderness outhouses, and requesting hikers to use "poop bags" to pack out human waste.

  • Chasing hope amid the hedonists

    At the Burning Man Festival in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, an eccentric city is created and then destroyed, and lives are sometimes changed along the way.

  • In the lion's eye

    Personal tale of a biologist in southeastern Idaho who had a mountain lion as her guardian during a bout with the flu.

  • In the throat of a black hole

    An essay from the author's book, "The Desert Cries," in which he tours Antelope Canyon, where a flood once took the lives of hikers.

  • Riding the Line

    During Cinco de Mayo on the border between Douglas, Ariz., and Altar, Sonora, Mexico, a traditional horse race brings people of both countries together for fun and excitement.

  • In the West, drought is a native

    The West is naturally dry, according to the writer, and people should accept that fact, especially when there is a drought.

  • Where free trade is more than an acronym

    Pulling onions alongside a Mexican field worker, the writer describes the hard work and meager pay for a product that will sell for 50 times what workers are paid.

  • Muscle car of the prairie

    The writer reminisces about the time he was a teen-age boy and encountered "nature" with Leviathan, his 1966 Pontiac LeMans, on the plains east of Aurora, Colo., which he discovered was a place of rugged beauty.

  • The oldest living thing is a quiet survivor

    Shielded in anonymity, the "King Clone," a creosote bush identified as the "oldest living thing on Earth," can be found on a dirt road south of Barstow, Calif., where it continues to keep a low profile about the many benefits of its properties.

  • The 'Niche West' reconnects us to the land

    Honest work producing honest goods - not industrial tourism - is the way for Westerners to start a healthy, honest, economic and spiritual relationship with our landscape.

  • In the grip of Ungulate Fever

    Life in western Colorado leads to many close encounters with deer and elk, both living and dead.

  • Greens join 'Let's derail a judge' game

    Environmentalists adopt the conservative strategy of working to derail the nomination of federal judges whom they fear could harm their cause.

  • A sense of wonder needs no name

    Wild creatures are wonderful to encounter, even when they aren't the rare and spectacular species we long to see.

  • Cybermapping the West - a new view

    A ramble through cyberspace paints an interesting "cybermap" of the West on the Web.

  • The canyon between us

    A visit to the strange landscape of Utah’s Goosenecks of the San Juan reveals the chasm growing between two people.

  • Holding open the door to the good life upnorth

    A day spent helping Mexican immigrants apply for matricula personal identification cards leads the writer to believe that the influx of workers from the south is not a threat to the West’s environment.

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