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The Very Long Way Home

The Very Long Way Home

Glacier Bay National Park, in Alaska, was founded with good intentions in mind: to protect a wild land still recovering from the recession of a massive, steamrolling glacier and all the whales, otters, fish, bears and wolves that haunt the fjords and mountains. But when the monument was established in 1925, the local people, the Huna Tlingit, who had lived there since time immemorial, were not consulted. Thus began a long, sour history between the tribe and the park. For years, the Huna were discouraged from…
The Necessity of Desert Wanderings

The Necessity of Desert Wanderings

This past weekend, the forecast called for snow and unseasonably low temperatures. All of Durango seemed to be eyeing the mountains for one last ski expedition. Meanwhile, I was going to the desert. Admittedly the idea gave me pause, particularly the prospect of flash floods. Despite the skies rumbling with clouds and the snow-covered grass, we departed. How bad could it be? I love these fly-by-the-seat weekends. We wound up camping at Hite under mottled skies and waking up to high clouds and perfectly cool weather.…
Finding Perspective in a Ramshackle Old Dance

Finding Perspective in a Ramshackle Old Dance

Just a few days after an election that deeply affected me, I set off into the heart of Trump country: rural Texas. Admittedly, I was a bit wary. I recognize and honor the diverse political viewpoints of our country, but this election felt like a personal attack to me. And yet, here I was on a plane to Austin... The assignment was not political in nature whatsoever. It was a feel-good story about a diverse group of music and dance aficionados who are fighting to stabilize and protect rural Texas'…
A Direct Path to Wonder

A Direct Path to Wonder

Last year, a highly unusual assignment landed in my lap, something I never would have thought to pitch: a children's book. How do you write for children? I am having a great time figuring it out. It's a project that necessitates cultivating an inner sense of curiosity and wonder and delight, which turns out to be the perfect antidote to the anxiety of these uncertain times. The book is about national parks, non-fiction, large-format, for kids ages 7-12. It will come out in 2018. The illustrations, by a…
Hailing the Adventurers of the Year

Hailing the Adventurers of the Year

What's it like to grow up in a tiny Nepali village with few opportunities and become one of the world's top ultra runners? What's it like to soar by yourself in a paraglider higher than anyone ever has before, topping even an 8,000-meter peak? What's it like to track down fishermen in rickety boats in the remotest atolls of Indonesia to uncover the destructive aquarium-fish trade? These are a few of the questions I had the opportunity to explore in a delightfully fun assignment: interview three of National Geographic…