Essays

The hidden fires
The hidden fires
Keeping honest about what we burn and why.
The time of the Indigenous critic has arrived
The time of the Indigenous critic has arrived
Now that the industry is finally greenlighting Indigenous films and TV, Indigenous critics ought to lead the conversation.
The public lands that kept us sane
The public lands that kept us sane
In honor of National Public Lands Day, High Country News staff reflect on access to spaces across the West.
A return to the Snake River
A return to the Snake River
Taking a trip down the undammed section of Hells Canyon.
Lessons in the moon’s shadow
Lessons in the moon’s shadow
How the eclipse makes you understand space, and why we should pay attention to lesser wonders.
Hunting for feral figs
Hunting for feral figs
The gem-like fruit are best when found free in the urban wilds.
So what if we’re doomed?
So what if we’re doomed?
Climate chaos, mass extinction, the collapse of civilization: A guide to facing the ecocide.
Grand Staircase-Escalante was set up to fail
Grand Staircase-Escalante was set up to fail
How budget cuts, a divided staff and state politics hamstrung Utah’s biggest monument.
The making of a motorhead
The making of a motorhead
Ex-skiers, ex-climbers, ex-hikers take on long-distance travel with motorbikes.
Big Dan, a couple of beers and thousands of honeybees
Big Dan, a couple of beers and thousands of honeybees
A tale of removing a bee infestation.
Anticipating the next ‘Big One’ in Anchorage
Anticipating the next ‘Big One’ in Anchorage
Can an imminent disaster draw tourists to Alaska’s largest city?
Meet Ruth, who makes a home for the houseless
Meet Ruth, who makes a home for the houseless
After her husband’s death, a woman collects a new family.
How stargazing connects us
How stargazing connects us
And how growing light pollution threatens that connection.
A roadmap for nomadic love
A roadmap for nomadic love
One couple’s story of a long-distance relationship across the landscape.
 ‘Look for something white’
‘Look for something white’
Discovering the North through its most iconic birds.
Raptors in flight
Raptors in flight
Enduring relationships begin with encounters.
Growing up in timber country
Growing up in timber country
A writer returns to the old-growth forest of her youth.
The Yaak Valley’s ‘Dirty Shame’
The Yaak Valley’s ‘Dirty Shame’
In the infamous Montana saloon, a lesson about home in harsh places.
Cowboys with surfboards
Cowboys with surfboards
How Hanalei, Hawaii, reflects small Western towns.
Together we pause
Together we pause
Sometimes we need to stop — to think about the ways we wreak havoc in the world.
An expedition through the Edgelands
An expedition through the Edgelands
This landscape isn’t always beautiful — but that’s what makes it loveable.
The watcher and the watched
The watcher and the watched
Observation transforms our bodies and minds.
Naked in the desert
Naked in the desert
The sunburned, imperfect and deeper wild of the human body.
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