Essays

Finding the quiet West inside
Finding the quiet West inside
A writer remembers a week spent on a cattle ranch, and an unexpected discovery.
Rants from the Hill: watching the desert flood
Rants from the Hill: watching the desert flood
When the ghost rivers rage in Nevada.
Ranch Diaries: How to coexist with wild animals
Ranch Diaries: How to coexist with wild animals
When your livelihood depends on the boundaries you set with the natural world.
In the middle of nowhere, a Promised Land
In the middle of nowhere, a Promised Land
A group with chemical sensitivities makes a community in the Arizona desert.
Misadventures in packrafting
Misadventures in packrafting
Is the new sport just an expensive way to get into trouble on the river?
Is tech ruining the wilderness?
Is tech ruining the wilderness?
Documenting recreation on Instagram, Strava and YouTube is changing the way we experience the outdoors.
On death’s doorstep in the Grand Canyon
On death’s doorstep in the Grand Canyon
A misstep in the backcountry alters an avid hiker’s perspective.
Ranch Diaries: How the Triangle P grazes on tribal lands
Ranch Diaries: How the Triangle P grazes on tribal lands
Breaking down private leases and federal permits.
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.