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Final Words

Nearly a year ago, I had the great good fortune to be assigned a story on Mike Yochim. Yochim was a park ranger in Yellowstone National Park for many years before he was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. When I met him last fall, he was in a wheelchair and had lost the use of his entire body except for his eyes. He could still blink and look up and down and from side to side. But otherwise, he was entombed…

A Surprise Gift

One of the best surprise gifts of my writing career has been the opportunity to write children’s books. When a commissioning editor reached out to me about writing National Parks of the U.S.A., I thought…why not? Little did I know that books live in the world in a different way than magazine articles, and I am still blessed with the rewards even a couple years after it was released. Readers tag the book in Instagram posts, send me photos of their kids enjoying it, and…

New Book! 100 Hikes of a Lifetime

From the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, a trail snakes down cliffs deep into a labyrinth of stone. The Havasupai people have lived in a flat verdant valley here for countless generations, growing beans, corn, and squash and reaping the blessings of a limestone aquifer filled with blue-green water. Today, the area is still only reachable on foot, and hikers arrive in numbers, drawn by the legendary turquoise waterfalls that pour off cliffs and collect in idyllic pools below the village of Supai. On…

The Hidden Power of Silence

Not long after I moved to Durango, Colorado, my future husband and I ventured into the mountains to backcountry ski on a February weekday. The sky was a muddled grey as a storm silently raged. Broad flakes wafted down while we climbed through the empty forests, our jackets sodden and heavy. We didn’t see a single other person all day. Andrew and I chose to ski a safe, mellow slope blanketed in aspens, and the monochrome of the trees’ bark against the bare white snow…

Mississippi Reckoning

Last August, I spent four unforgettable days in Mississippi. I had never been to the state and had all sorts of preconceived notions about what I might find. The reality of what I discovered there was so far beyond anything I could ever encapsulate in one story. Even months later, well after the story was published, the experience of that short trip still seeps through my being, changing me in ways I couldn't have anticipated. I was in the state to report a story on…