Essays

Rants from the Hill: Such Sweet Sorrow
Rants from the Hill: Such Sweet Sorrow
An Airy Meditation on Flatulence and Independence.
Efforts to save Utah's Cedar Mesa reach a crescendo
Efforts to save Utah's Cedar Mesa reach a crescendo
Conflicting county and state proposals would provide various levels of protection.
Ranch Diaries: Wildlife encounters in a life on the range
Ranch Diaries: Wildlife encounters in a life on the range
When herding cattle means meeting black bears, angry turkeys and tame elk.
Reflections on the atomic blast test in Nevada
Reflections on the atomic blast test in Nevada
How the “typical American family” fared in “Doom Town,” 1953.
Ranch Diaries: An East Coast visitor adds some perspective
Ranch Diaries: An East Coast visitor adds some perspective
Sometimes hosting an outsider is the perfect reboot.
Lust for fungi
Lust for fungi
A writer has a holy experience while mushroom hunting in southern Oregon.
Ranch Diaries: Turning a mustang into a willing partner
Ranch Diaries: Turning a mustang into a willing partner
What it's like to start a horse who has a fear of ropes and an unhealthy sense of his own strength.
Rants from the Hill: The adventures of Sir Rantsalot in the dead tree forest
Rants from the Hill: The adventures of Sir Rantsalot in the dead tree forest
On the virtues of cutting and burning wood.
Making a monument from scratch
Making a monument from scratch
A writer wonders if this piece of Northern California federal land is worth the new designation.
Ranch Diaries: An orphaned calf gets rescued
Ranch Diaries: An orphaned calf gets rescued
Surrogate parenting after a cow dies at the Triangle P in New Mexico.
Sightseeing at an open pit mine in Arizona copper country
Sightseeing at an open pit mine in Arizona copper country
The mines are still in business, yet towns that once flourished are now mostly gone.
Walking the damp upper corners of America
Walking the damp upper corners of America
This mysterious Oregon forest awakens hope in a local writer.
Ranch Diaries: Early spring grass brings unexpected challenges
Ranch Diaries: Early spring grass brings unexpected challenges
Roping a sick calf on a green colt.
Rants from the Hill: Will the real fake John Muir please stand up?
Rants from the Hill: Will the real fake John Muir please stand up?
Searching for authentic identity in Chautauqua season.
Can our own ingenuity upend natural laws?
Can our own ingenuity upend natural laws?
Reflections on the health of my heart and the making of Hoover Dam.
Ranch Diaries: Building community in the middle of nowhere
Ranch Diaries: Building community in the middle of nowhere
Cattle branding brings together far-flung neighbors in the midst of the "Big Quiet."
Readers’ foreign travel tales
Readers’ foreign travel tales
Winners of the High Country News essay contest for our annual travel issue.
A German’s shattered romance with the West
A German’s shattered romance with the West
An essayist asks whether the West is the most misunderstood region in the U.S.
Children in Alaska’s barbaric country
Children in Alaska’s barbaric country
As parents, we watch our kids walk into vast new worlds — like it or not.
Raccoonboy’s guide to urban wilds
Raccoonboy’s guide to urban wilds
When in doubt, climb; fences are made for hopping.
Ranch Diaries: Tiny living, 23 miles from town
Ranch Diaries: Tiny living, 23 miles from town
After a chicken coop, a tipi and no electricity, this four-season camper is our most modern home yet.
Rants from the Hill: Scaling Lone Tree
Rants from the Hill: Scaling Lone Tree
Learning to see a one-tree forest in the Great Basin Desert.
Lifties and ski patrol go head to head in Telluride