Hike. Research. Write. Repeat.

A lifetime of national park geekdom

When I was 12 years old, my parents took me out West, part of a great American tradition of touring crown jewel national parks. In the space of three weeks, we visited Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Yosemite, Zion, and Bryce Canyon. I fell in love with the West and these repositories of our spectacular natural heritage, and when the opportunity came to move to Washington state, I took it. For the last 25 years, I’ve lived within day-hike distance of Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks.

At the boundary between Olympic National Park and Buckhorn Wilderness
At the boundary between Olympic National Park and Buckhorn Wilderness. Can you say “national park geek”?! (Mr. Adventure photo)


My fascination with national parks led me to write a book about the history of North Cascades National Park, a little-known gem here in Washington. Crown Jewel Wilderness: Creating North Cascades National Park is available now from Washington State University Press and at your local bookstore. The park turns 50 in 2018 and I’m delighted to be part of the celebration.

My idea of an excellent day is one spent in a national park, national forest, or wilderness area. The more I explore the wilderness outside, the more I learn about the wilderness within and connect with my inner adventurer. That’s what my blog is about, and along the journey I hope to inspire others to follow John Muir’s advice that going outside is really going in.

Writing, hiking, and writing some more

In addition to the book and this site, I’ve written about national monuments for Crosscut and the national parks’ healing qualities for Parks&Points. Innercompassblog’s #ParkPeople series features my thoughts on hidden park gems, favorite parks (part one and part two), road trip songs, and books about national parks, with more to come. When I’m not writing about the national parks, the Pacific Northwest, and environmental history, I’m on a trail (usually with my favorite hiking partner, Mr. Adventure), reading, at a yoga class, or trying to self-regulate my time on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Learn more about me and my work in this recent profile on ThurstonTalk and this feature on the American Alpine Institute’s Climbing Blog.

At least the salmon is great

Potentially interesting information: I’m from New Jersey. This means that everything called a “bagel” in the Northwest is really just a piece of round, soft bread that aspires to be something like the genuine article but fails utterly.