Educating visitors about the Colorado Plateau landscape is necessary to keeping it intact. It’s something that storyteller and guidebook author Morgan Sjogren has been trying to do as she’s told stories and written books about the region. Here, we speak with Morgan about what she sees as the role of storytellers on Plateau and the need for diverse voices when educating about and conserving this place.

As visitation to the Colorado Plateau increases, it’s becoming particularly important to examine how education, storytelling, and media impact people’s behaviors and the landscape. This week, Science Moab speaks with author and storyteller Morgan Sjogren about writing guidebooks, immersing oneself in place, and telling stories about a landscape in a responsible way. Sjogren, known online as “The Running Bum,” is the author of three books, including The Best Bears Ears National Monument Hikes and The Best Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Hikes.

In this episode of the Arizona Highways podcast, editor Robert Stieve sits down with Morgan Sjogren, a frequent contributor to the magazine. Her recent piece on Rainbow Bridge appears in our July issue.

Morgan Sjogren, a writer, trail runner, and one of the strongest new voices of the desert.

Although there are many who get outside to car camp, spend the weekend in the wilderness and return to the comfort of their own homes – Sjogren took it a step further: She decided to pull the rip cord on paying rent. She instead opted to pursue her dream of sleeping under the stars (or in the somewhat-cramped confines of her Jeep) every night, escaping the chaos of suburbia and the noise of large cities and – above all – logging some serious solo miles and becoming a full-fledged writer.

Today, she’s hit all those goals and lived to tell the tale, with her new book, Outlandish: Fuel Your Epic, released earlier this month. The pages are a manifesto of escaping the daily norms and reflecting on what really matters. Sjogren captures the essence of life on the road, mapping miles on foot in Bear Ears, running to multiple mountain peaks in one day, and staying fueled on a multitude of endlessly creative recipes (many of which include a burrito variation of some sort, cobbling together any and all ingredients she has on hand at the moment).

“I am more in step with the landscape of sand, slick rock, and river bottoms than I have ever felt in civilization.”

“You don’t need the latest, greatest gear, a huge budget, or a perfect plan to be self-sufficient in the outdoors.”