In 2017, I sent Katie Lee an email. Hoping for a friendly reply, perhaps even a chance to meet her for coffee near her home in Jerome, Ariz., I instead read her obituary a few weeks later. The timing haunted me just as Glen Canyon does—a reminder of the cruel fate of being born too late.
At every available opportunity, I heed her advice, fill my backpack and search the Glen Canyon backcountry and its tributaries, hoping for a glimpse, not only of the canyon that was but of Katie Lee herself.
“A Once and Future Canyon: Making a Compact with the Colorado River”, The Gulch Magazine, Issue 17
*Standing at the foot of the rainbow, I bask in the bridge’s sacred geology without crowds, as Indigenous people, explorers and early tourists once did. Now, more people than ever may experience Rainbow Bridge, but much of that experience remains securely tucked beyond the rainbow, waiting for those who journey across the desert.*
In 2019 I trekked through overland history for this story in the July issue of Arizona Highways. Later, I sought the perspectives of Navajo guide Leo Manheimer and historian Harvey Leake, whose deep connections to this landscape enrich its historical significance.
“The Other Side of the Rainbow,” Arizona Highways, July 2021
Rainbow Bridge is known as Tse’naa Na’ni’ahi or Na’nizhoozhi in Diné. It is affiliated with the Navajo, Hopi, San Juan Southern Paiute, Kaibab Paiute, and White Mesa Ute Tribes.
“As both an overlander and an environmentalist, I still find myself riding a line between seemingly contradictory worlds where stereotypes and stigmas abound. I’m either considered a Jeeper or a tree hugger. As I navigate this terrain on four wheels and on foot, I increasingly find less distance between them. Yes, you can enjoy off-road driving and be an advocate for the environment. At the same time, it’s imperative to recognize that there is no such thing as a perfect environmentalist.”
“Shifting Into A Greener Gear: Make Your Next Overland Mission Kinder To The Planet,” Overland Journal, Summer 2021
An interview with R.E. Burrillo, author of “Behind the Bears Ears” (Torrey House Press) for Sierra Magazine. In Behind the Bears Ears, Burrillo intertwines his personal story with the complex cultural history of the area, examining the human history, Indigenous perspectives, archaeology, and politics of the 1.35-million-acre chunk of southeastern Utah that is at the heart of the debate over public lands in the US. Themes of “finding home” and “healing” launch compelling explorations into Bears Ears’ history. “By the time I got involved in research and conservation efforts in the Bears Ears area,” Burrillo explains, “I was paying off a rather sizable karmic debt that I felt I owed the place.” This book, along with Burrillo’s contributions to the ongoing lawsuits, is part of his penance.
“Paying Bears Ears Its Karmic Debt,” Sierra Magazine, June 2021
We remained still, in reverence, my mouth agape. I don’t think either of us moved for 30 minutes, maybe more. Perhaps it was because we still weren’t satisfied. With the towers gone, we shifted our gaze to the Glen Canyon Dam, looking more prominent than ever before. Were we waiting for it to come down next in an encore performance? At least now it’s possible to imagine this happening in our lifetime.
“Demolishing Coal,” The Gulch Magazine, Issue 15
photos by @edmoss.photo
Names and places can carry the weight of a nation, but in the American melting pot, their significance can go unnoticed…The modern history of the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe is hiding in plain sight. The San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe is the only federally recognized tribe in Arizona without its own land. It wasn’t always this way. “We just want people to know we’ve always been here. That we’re here.”
“I Just Want To Go Home!” Arizona Highways, May 2021
“Bears Ears Is A Desert Paradise: It’s Up To Us To Keep It That Way”.
Backpacker Magazine, Spring Gear Guide 2020
Story and photos from Backpacker Magazine Editor’s Choice Trip
“Gardening Corals Before They Are Gone,” Patagonia: The Cleanest Line, 2020
Anthropologist Clyde Kluckhohn led the way for adventure as a gateway drug to preserving the West.
“Wild Horse Mesa,” The Gulch, Issue 11
Hiking through prehistory in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
“A Landscape Miracle,” Archaeology Southwest, Winter & Spring 2019
“Outdoor Shaming Needs To Stop,” Backpacker Magazine, January 2020
“No Exit Route,” Arizona Highways, November 2019
IRMA Magazines Bronze Medal for 2019 Travel Features
Following a canyon mystery reveals a seldom told story of Indigenous injustice.
“Writing on the Wall,” The Gulch Magazine, 2019
The intersection of Uranium Mining and Street Art at the heart of southwestern highways.
“Drive-Thru Protest,” The Gulch Magazine, 2019
The footsteps of an old explorer light the way home.
“The Path of Light,” The Gulch Magazine, 2019
Ansel Hall’s Romantic Vision Asks Us If We Are Ready To Lace Up For Public Lands.
“Explorers Wanted,” The Gulch Magazine, 2019
“They said if we didn’t succeed they would never hire women again.” What Ada hatch’s story—set in the American Southwest—reveals about the future of our public lands.
“How Ada Hatch Helped Change the Field of Archaeology for Women,” REI Co-Op Journal, 2018