Essays

Public land is the essence of freedom
Public land is the essence of freedom
A hunter reflects on the gut-level connection she has to the public land she traverses.
Coal. Guns. Freedom?
Coal. Guns. Freedom?
How the Trump administration has seized mythologies around coal.
Close encounters with a scary fire season
Close encounters with a scary fire season
As wildfires have ripped through the West, take stock of what climate change has wrought.
Ranch Diaries: Getting injured on the job
Ranch Diaries: Getting injured on the job
I went through a lot of Ibuprofen and some serious self-doubt; then I sucked it up and got back on my horse.
The life of a once-lost dog
The life of a once-lost dog
Aging takes its toll on creatures both human and canine.
Ranch Diaries: What life’s like as a female rancher
Ranch Diaries: What life’s like as a female rancher
Some ranchers still say women ruin horses and a rancher and his wife can be paid at two-for-the-price-of-one.
An ode to germs, guts and gardens
An ode to germs, guts and gardens
When calamity strikes, a gardener finds her way back to the basics.
Ranch Diaries: Spared from drought, for now, in New Mexico
Ranch Diaries: Spared from drought, for now, in New Mexico
Dry spells take a toll on landscapes and livestock, but are also hard on people.
Rants from the Hill: Fall brings a new bird to the neighborhood
Rants from the Hill: Fall brings a new bird to the neighborhood
A Northern Mockingbird stops by, its varied song a reminder of October's restless nature.
In the Mojave, a new relationship with trash
In the Mojave, a new relationship with trash
A new arrival finds traces of what we discard and what we bury deep inside.
Ranch Diaries: Remote ranching and vet care in the 21st century
Ranch Diaries: Remote ranching and vet care in the 21st century
When crisis hits, help comes in unconventional ways.
How to survive the bust
How to survive the bust
As oil prices plummet, a drill rig worker traces the effects among his brethren.
Ranch Diaries: Why cowboy life is intense
Ranch Diaries: Why cowboy life is intense
We have other interests, like art and cooking, that take a backseat to the needs of our land and animals.
Rants from the Hill: The aliens that make Nevada home
Rants from the Hill: The aliens that make Nevada home
Military history, conspiracy theories and the landscape itself make Nevada ground zero for the bizarre and otherworldly.
Anatomy of a flash flood
Anatomy of a flash flood
After a series of deaths, a writer considers his own close calls in canyons.
Ranch Diaries: Is ranching a form of conservation?
Ranch Diaries: Is ranching a form of conservation?
Our cattle can help restore wildlife habitat, reduce fire fuels and sequester carbon, when used creatively.
Claustrophilia: Do wide-open lands bring us closer together?
Claustrophilia: Do wide-open lands bring us closer together?
A writer finds that Colorado small-town life and Mongolian mishaps strengthen her human connections.
Notes from the road to bestsellerdom
Notes from the road to bestsellerdom
An author’s promotional book tour includes incontinent owls and posh but uncomfortable luncheons.
Ranch Diaries: One dog can be worth three hands
Ranch Diaries: One dog can be worth three hands
A cowboy and a good canine or two can handle several hundred cattle.
Rants from the Hill: Don't fence me in
Rants from the Hill: Don't fence me in
Marking our territory with wildlife-friendly fences.
Bringing a long-lost artifact back to the Hopi
Bringing a long-lost artifact back to the Hopi
Iconic Western author journeys with a tribe’s spiritual talisman.
How movies have changed our expectations of the wild
How movies have changed our expectations of the wild
Decades of Disney have prepared us for a tamed, cleaned-up version of nature.
Dispatch from a medic on the North Star Fire in Washington
Dispatch from a medic on the North Star Fire in Washington
What base camp and wildfire look like from one firefighter’s perspective.