Senior Hiker Magazine


The Magazine

Senior Hiker publishes good writing, compelling science, beautiful photography, and artwork inspired by the wilderness experience. Regular columns include practical guidelines on hiking (Mountain Sense), descriptions of hikes in international locales (Exotic Hikes), hiking group profiles (Hard Corps), and accounts of hiking misadventure (Hell Hikes). An underlying theme informs each issue's content and imagery, such as wilderness environments, wildlife, and food before, during, and after an adventure. The magazine is published twice a year by Deer Isle Press, LLC.

Find More Articles

The Sound of Silverbells

Boreal Insects

The Monkey Pod Tree: The Photography of Lydia Cassatt

Mountain Sense: Hiking in the Time of Pandemic

Current Issue

To read additional articles in the current issue, purchase this issue or subscribe, including the current issue in your subscription.

Buy This Issue Subscribe

Back Issues

You may also purchase a back issue.

Buy Back Issue


Our contributors are writers, artists, teachers and scientists who bring a love of wilderness and wide-ranging life experience to the magazine. They include:

Shari Aber

Shari Aber taught English in public schools in NYC and Newburgh, NY. Since retiring, she has led paddles and hikes in the area. Shari loves both sports, also downhill skiing, writing, good food, her dog Alice and her family. She is the author of A Kayaker’s Guide to the Hudson River Valley.
(Photo: Joe Ferri)

David Barber

David Barber’s new collection of poems, Secret History, has just been published by Northwestern University Press. He is poetry editor of the Atlantic and teaches writing at Harvard. (Photo: Courtesy of Middlebury College)

Siri Beckman

Siri Beckman is a printmaker and painter well known for her wood engravings of rural life on the Maine coast. As an artist-in-residence at several national parks, she created a series of prints on mountains.

Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry is an American poet, novelist, essayist, cultural critic and environmental activist. He is also a farmer who has maintained a farm for over 40 years near his birthplace in Port Royal, Kentucky. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2010. (Photo: Guy Mendes)

Bruce Bulger

Bruce Bulger is an artist, illustrator and furniture maker, who enjoys traveling, exploring steep mountainous terrain, and drawing en plein air to tell an accurate pictorial story of being there.
(Photo: Holley Mead)

Fritz Burke

Fritz Burke is a writer, husband, father, and carpenter. His essays have been aired on National Public Radio and have appeared in various magazines and newspapers. Fritz is devoted to traveling to warm places to escape the Maine winters. He is currently working on an essay about Cuba.
(Photo: Debbey Schilder)

Lydia Cassatt

Lydia Cassatt is a photographer who has documented trees, flowers and natural landscapes around the world. In 1990, she and her husband sold everything and sailed the North and South Pacific for six years, traveling from Alaska to New Zealand. She now lives in Brooksville, Maine. (Photo: Courtesy of Lydia Cassatt)

Dana Douglass

Dana Douglass was a UCC pastor for 30 years. He and his wife, Anne, also owned and operated Granite Island Guide Service offering wilderness canoe trips and sea kayak trips. They live off the grid on Deer Isle in Maine. Dana still enjoys canoeing, kayaking, biking, and has run 14 marathons. (Photo: Anne Douglass)

Jeff Dworsky

Jeff Dworsky is a professional photographer, lobsterfisherman and antique textile dealer who lives in Stonington, Maine, and on the island of Carriacou in the Grenadines. His photographs of people and places frequently appear in such publications as The Island Journal, Downeast Magazine, and National Geographic Traveler.
(Photo: George Lyons)

Bob Elfstrom

Bob Elfstrom is a documentary filmmaker who has traveled the world directing and filming full-length feature and short films on a broad range of subjects from science and the environment, politics and history, to culture and the arts. As a cameraman and director, he has made films for National Geographic Explorer, PBS, BBC, Frontline and Discovery Channel among others, earning many awards over his 50-year career.
(Photo: Courtesy of Bob Elfstrom)

Terence Fifield

Terence Fifield is a retired US Forest Service archaeologist and tribal relations specialist, who currently lives in Plymouth, New Hampshire. For 18 years, Terry practiced archaeology on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. In that role he had the opportunity be part of many important archaeological projects, among them the 12-year study of On Your Knees Cave and the subsequent repatriation and reburial of the 10,300-year-old human remains discovered there (Photo: Cheryl Fifield)

Dan Flores

Dan Flores is the author of ten books on western US history, including, most recently, American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains. A.B. Hammond Professor Emeritus at the University of Montana, he lives just outside Santa Fe, New Mexico.
(Photo: Sarah Dant)

Roberta Forest

Roberta Forest is a nature photographer who started hiking after retiring from her work as a special needs teacher. She enjoys exploring the natural world on foot and documenting all that she sees.
(Photo: Sue Jordan)

Jeremy Frey

Jeremy Frey is a nationally recognized master basket weaver. His work, which is based on Passamaquoddy traditional methods and materials, is shown in museums, galleries, and collections around the country. He has been awarded best-in-show from both the Santa Fe Indian Market and the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market in Phoenix. He lives in Eddington, Maine.
(Photo: Lisa Schoonmaker)

Chuck Graham

Freelance writer and photographer Chuck Graham lives in Southern California and appreciates the fact that he can drive to the Carrizo Plain National Monument without encountering a stoplight. His stories and photos have appeared in Backpacker, Outdoor Photographer, National Geographic for Kids, Islands, BBC Wildlife and Canoe & Kayak.; Instagram @chuckgrahamphoto.
(Photo: Lori Graham)

Melissa Greene

Melissa Greene is a nationally known ceramicist who works in white earthenware. Her pots and bowls can be seen at major national craft shows, in galleries and private collections, and on her website. She lives and works at Yellow Birch Farm, Deer Isle, Maine, with her husband, metalworker Eric Ziner, where they raise goats and grow vegetable gardens.
(Photo: Jean Fogelberg)

John Groff

John Groff has hiked and climbed for more than fifty years, first in the Ramapo Hills of southern New York, then extensively in the Adirondacks, Shawangunks, White Mountains of New Hampshire and Cascades of Washington State, among other places. He is retired from a career teaching English at the Ethel Walker School in Connecticut, where he also ran an outdoor program. Having just finished the 48 White Mountain peaks over 4,000 feet, he looks forward to exploring the hiking possibilities of Pennsylvania, where he now lives. (Photo: Karen Price)

Susan J. Hewitt

Susan J. Hewitt is a malacologist and an all-round naturalist who has authored forty-nine scientific papers. She is from England, but lives in New York City. She manages to find plenty of nature wherever she goes, even within the concrete canyons of the big city. Susan is a power user on iNaturalist, and is on the leaderboards for many of its projects. (Photo: Ed Subitzky)

Jean Hoekwater

Jean Hoekwater has been the naturalist for Baxter State Park since 1988. Earlier work with the Quebec Labrador foundation, the Appalachian Mountain Club and as a whitewater guide set her on a lifelong course of enthusiastic adventures in the US and Canada. She lives in Brownville Junction, Maine, with the 100-Mile Wilderness in her backyard.
(Photo: Rob Tice)

Donald Hudson

Donald Hudson developed an interest in plants and ecology in the early 1970s while leading expeditions for the Chewonki Foundation in Maine and Quebec. He became the Head Naturalist at Chewonki in 1982 and was appointed President in 1991. He received an Environmental Merit Lifetime Achievement award from the US EPA and an Outdoor Hero Award from LL Bean when he retired in 2010 to become a full-time volunteer for the International Appalachian Trail and a number of other “friends” groups and environmental organizations. (Photo: Phine Ewing)

Peter Jones

Peter Jones has been a caver and cave photographer for 50 years, primarily in the caves of New Mexico. He has photographed at and for Carlsbad Caverns National Park (CCNP), but his passion is to shoot in the wild, undeveloped caves of the Guadalupe Mountains. He has worked on filming projects for National Geographic, NOVA and Anyplace Wild TV, and his prints have been shown at CCNP, Carlsbad Museum, American Cave Museum, and the Smithsonian, as well as in numerous publications. He teaches cave photography workshops around the country and lives in Camden, Maine. [email protected]

Dr. Eric Kelsey

Dr. Eric Kelsey is a meteorologist, climatologist, husband and father of three daughters. A native of New Hampshire, he has always enjoyed studying the weather, especially big snowstorms, since he was a child. Whether hiking, skiing, camping, kayaking or gardening, Eric loves to immerse himself in the outdoors as much as possible. He is thrilled to hold a joint position between Mount Washington Observatory (Director of Research) and Plymouth State University’s Meteorology program (Research Professor). (Photo: Sarah Goodnow)

Lester Kenway

Since 1975, Lester Kenway has served in a volunteer capacity as an officer of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, which maintains the 267 miles of Appalachian Trail in Maine. During this time, He also served as the trail supervisor in Baxter State Park and was program coordinator for the Maine Conservation Corps. He resides in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, Elsa. (Photo: MATC)

Stuart Kestenbaum

Stuart Kestenbaum is the former director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and Maine’s poet laureate. He has been a visiting writer at art programs including Penland Cranbook Academy of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, and Penn State. His most recent book is Only Now. He’s currently designing a new arts program in Monson, Maine.; (Photo: Stuart Kestenbaum)

Robin Kimmerer

Robin Kimmerer is a scientist, member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and SUNY Distinguished Teaching professor of Environmental Biology. Her books Braiding Sweetgrass and Gathering Moss have earned wide acclaim for combining the wisdom of both scientific and indigenous worldviews. She founded and directs the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment. (Photo: Dale Kakkak)

Carey Kish

Carey Kish is a veteran hiker of more than 20,000 long trail miles in the US, Canada and Europe and the author of the AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast and editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide. He lives on Mount Desert Island, Maine. (Photo: Courtesy of Carey Kish)

Ted Levin

Ted Levin has worked as a zoologist at the Bronx Zoo, a naturalist for the National Park Service, and a wildlife biologist for the Audubon Society. He is the author of Backtracking: The Way of the Naturalist; Liquid Land: A Journey Through the Everglades; and most recently, America’s Snake: The Rise and Fall of the Timber Rattlesnake. He lives in eastern Vermont, where he climbs high talus slopes in search of snakes.

Rod Lorenz

Rod Lorenz is a retired physician, lifelong hiker and backpacker, and occasional writer in prose and verse. When not hiking he is committed to community service and neighborhood activities. With his wife and son he built an Alaskan cabin that now facilitates visits to grandchildren in the Copper River Basin. He looks forward to his third trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota this summer.
(Photo: Mary O’Boyle)

Dougald MacDonald

Dougald MacDonald has been climbing on Longs Peak for more than 30 years and is author of Longs Peak: The Story of Colorado’s Favorite Fourteener. He is editor of the annual American Alpine Journal and lives in Louisville, Colorado. (Photo: Christine Blackmon)

Joan MacCracken

Joan MacCracken is a mother, grandmother, retired pediatrician, and author. She loves exploring new environments, when not writing. Her activities include tennis, cross-country skiing, canoeing, and just communing with Nature. Returning home on the same path has never appealed to her; she prefers loops. (Photo: Bob Holmberg)

Nat Mead

Nat Mead is a farmer and educator at Sogn Jord- og Hagebruksskule, Norway’s national college for organic farming and gardening in Aurland, where he and his wife, Audhild Bjune, have lived, worked and raised three daughters. He brings a love of the outdoors since childhood and experience as a rock climber, long-tour bicyclist, Nordic skier, and Outward Bound instructor to the management and teaching of organic farming and gardening.
(Photo: Audhild Bjune)

Frank Melia

Frank Melia, a lifelong Dubliner, recently retired from a career as administrator for the Dublin City Council. An avid hillwalker since youth, he hikes every weekend, as well as pursuing interests in reading, writing, music and volunteering.
(Photo: Dabney Melia)

Brook Merrow

A Maine native, Brook Merrow lives in Bozeman, Montana, where she writes and recreates. She has taught language arts/writing at the middle school, high school and college levels. Her work has appeared in Big Sky Journal and Montana Magazine. Brook is happiest when she is moving.
(Photo: Hy Adelman)

Jacqueline Michaud

Jacqueline Michaud’s work has appeared in New England Review, The Florida Review, US1 Worksheets and American Letters and Commentary, among other literary journals. She has had translations of work by Francophone poets included in Per Contra, Lascaux Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, Catamaran Literary Reader and the University of California Book of North African Literature. Her collections include The Waking Hours: Poems & Translations, White Clouds and Jacques Prévert: 30 Poems. (Photo: Martin Gellert)

Larry Moffet

Larry Moffet is a lobsterfisherman, boatbuilder and artist who paints landscapes en plein air and works in metal, paper and wood. He is building a home on Deer Isle in Maine and shows his work at the Turtle Gallery.
(Photo: Holley Mead)

Georgia Murray

Georgia Murray is a staff scientist with the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). She oversees AMC’s ambient air pollution program to monitor mountain ozone levels, cloud, rain and stream water chemistry in White Mountain National Forest wilderness areas, in cooperation with the US Forest Service and NH Department of Environmental Services. She also coordinates AMC’s plant phenology monitoring and mountain climate research. (Photo: Cathy Poppenwimer)

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver was a naturalist who published fifteen books of poetry and five of prose, as well as essays and chapbooks. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize (1984) and National Book Award (1992), she is widely recognized for her powerful and intimate observations of the natural world. (Photo: Mariana Cook)

Rev. Peter Baldwin Panagore

Rev. Peter Panagore is the author of Heaven Is Beautiful: How Dying Taught Me That Death Is Just the Beginning, and remains an adventurer in the outdoor wilderness and in the interior wilderness. His Maine broadcast TV show, Daily Devotions, was founded in 1926 as the First Radio Parish Church of America. He holds an M.Div. from Yale University.;
(Photo: Donald Scott)

Mark Picard

Mark Picard is an internationally known wildlife photographer who lives on the border of Maine’s North Woods. His photographs of moose, bear, birds and other wildlife have been printed in over thirty publications worldwide, used in commercial advertising and purchased for private collections. They are on display at Moose Prints Gallery in Millinocket, an enterprise he owns and operates with his partner Anita Mueller.
(Photo: Jim Boutin)

Will Presley

Will Presley is a retired trade unionist from Northern Ontario. He and Mona raised three children on the family dairy farm. They spend summers on Wolfe Lake and winters in Arizona and Mexico. He does not pretend to be a great hiker, but enjoys it as his main hobby. Finding new hikes and showing them to his friends keeps him out of trouble. (Photo: David Klatt)

Tim Prentice

Tim Prentice is an internationally renowned kinetic sculptor who has created wind-driven works of art for museums, public spaces, corporate headquarters and private residences for over 40 years. A architect who founded the award-winning Prentice and Chan in 1965, he established a studio for his kinetic sculpture at his home in Cornwall, Connecticut, in 1975. He continues to work there on commissions from around the world.
(Photo: Courtesy of Tim Prentice)

Rebekah Raye

Rebekah Raye is an artist well known for her bird and animal paintings and sculpture. Inspired by her affinity with the natural world around her studio and home in East Blue Hill, Maine, she has written and illustrated several children’s books, including The Secret Pool, a Kirkus-starred picture book and winner of the 2014 John Burroughs Association Riverby Award and Maine Lupine Award. She enjoys teaching workshops in art for adults and children and makes frequent school visits. (Photo: Ken Woisard)

Dr. Jorge Recharte

Dr. Jorge Recharte is an anthropologist who directs the Andes Program and Global Strategy at The Mountain Institute. Since the late 1990s, he has led conservation and economic development programs in the Andes, including the Páramo Initiative to preserve ecosystems on high, tree-less plateaux. He has worked to implement climate change adaption projects, partnering with USAID and municipal commonwealths in Peru, and also helped establish the initiative to protect the Great Inca Road, now a World Heritage Site.
(Photo: The Mountain Institute)

Celeste Roberge

Celeste Roberge is an artist and professor emerita at the University of Florida. She has held artist residencies with The Arctic Circle in Svalbard, SIM in Iceland, Kohler Arts/Industries, MonsonArts, MacDowell Colony, and Radcliffe Institute. Her work can be seen at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Nevada Museum of Art, Portland Museum of Art, Farnsworth Art Museum, Harn Museum of Art, and Kohler Art Center. She is a member of the Maine Seaweed Council.; (Photo: Joy Drury Cox)

Edward Rolfe

Cartographer Edward Rolfe has worked and adventured in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Rockies. Educated in Dutch maritime mapping and art history abroad, he is known for his beautifully designed and informative hiking maps of the New England mountains. Edward lives with his wife, Jenny, and their three sons in Franconia, New Hampshire. (Photo: Jenny Rogers-Rolfe)

Don Root

Don Root thinks he must have been raised by wolves in a past life, as he much prefers being lost in the wilderness to being found in the big city. A retired editor and travel writer, he has spent quality time on the Pacific Crest Trail each year for the past five years. He currently maintains a burrow in Portland, Oregon. This is his first article for Senior Hiker.

Ellen Rubenson

Ellen Rubenson loves backpacking, long distance walking and biking, and travel writing. She has walked over 1,200 miles in Spain on nine footpaths of the Camino de Santiago and biked around Germany and France on a tandem. An avid backpacker, she has hiked in the Sierra Nevada, Wind Rivers and Teton ranges, among many others. Her story about her trek across Spain, “To Begin. The Way to Santiago de Compostela,” was published in Adventures NW Magazine, Winter 2014. (Photo: Dan Rubenson)

Diana Smith Rush

Diana Smith Rush is a New York–based writer, a wife, a mother of six and a grandmother of three with another on the way. In her writing she likes to explore stories of motherhood, disability and family life. She received her MFAW from Goddard College. Her work has been featured in The Pitkin Review and Warren Artists’ Market anthologies. In 2017, she developed a creative writing program for parents of children with disabilities that she continues to lead. (Photo: Alayna Barnes)

Jessica Rykken

Jessica Rykken is an entomologist currently working for Denali National Park. She has conducted surveys of pollinators and other insects in various national parks over the last dozen years, and is also passionate about outreach and education. She loves exploring high elevations and latitudes on foot.
(Photo: K. Chen)

Jane Sandiford

Jane Sandiford is a retired editor living in New York City. She enjoys rowing, kayaking, moderate hiking, and rambling around town. (Photo: Don Corrigan)

Ray Sandiford

Ray Sandiford lives in central New Jersey and is an active geotechnical engineer primarily involved in the design of tunnels for transit and highway systems. A founding member of Port Authority of NY & NJ Geotechnical Hiking Group established in 1983, he intends to keep this group active until his legs gives out. (Photo: Steven Sandiford)

A. H. Saxon

A. H. Saxon is the author of P. T. Barnum: The Legend and the Man, as well as editor of Selected Letters of P. T. Barnum and The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb. A fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, he has also written fiction and works dealing with natural history, including The Old Codger’s Guide to Hiking and Climbing in the White Mountains: A Vade Mecum for the Old but Young at Heart.

Camille Seaman

Camille Seaman is a professional photographer who has recorded the polar regions of the world, super-cell storms across the Great Plains of the US and portraits of Native Americans, using digital and film cameras. A TED Senior Fellow and Stanford Knight Fellow, she lectures globally about her experiences and her work, which has received awards from National Geographic, The New Yorker and PhotoLucida.
(Photo: Udo Zoephel)

Steven Smith

Steven Smith is owner of the Mountain Wanderer Map and Book Store in Lincoln, New Hampshire, and has been hiking the White Mountains for 40 years. He has been co-editor of the AMC White Mountain Guide since 2001 and is the author or co-author of several other White Mountain guidebooks. He is a member of the AMC Four Thousand Footer Committee and a White Mountains National Forest trail adopter. He lives with his wife, Carol, in Lincoln.
(Photo: Carol Smith)

Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder is a poet, environmental activist, and educator. He has published eighteen books, which are translated into more than twenty languages. In 1975, he received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
(Photo: Leon Borensztein)

Matthew J. Spireng

Matthew J. Spireng, 71, lives in rural upstate New York on the wooded acreage left of the family farm, where he first developed a love of nature as a child. He is a widely published, award-winning poet. His full-length books are What Focus Is, published in 2011 by WordTech Communications, and Out of Body, which won the 2004 Bluestem Poetry Award. He is an eight-time Pushcart Prize nominee. (Photo: Steve Antonelli)

Sandy Stott

Sandy Stott writes analyses of search and rescue in the Accidents column for AMC’s journal Appalachia. The founding editor of the Thoreau Farm Trust’s blog, “The Roost,” he writes often about wild lands, their spirit and Thoreau for a variety of publications. His book Critical Hours—Search and Rescue in the White Mountains, released by University Press of New England, is available at bookstores and online.
(Photo: Lucille Stott)

Susan Webster

Susan Webster is a visual artist who works with a variety of materials and processes. She has taught at Haystack, Penland, Center for Contemporary Printmaking, and Studio Artworks Center in Jerusalem, and developed a model art program in the prison system in Maine. Recently her work has been exhibited at Greenhut Galleries, Concord Art Association, and Southern Graphics Council. In addition to making art, she is a hotline volunteer for the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence. (Photo: Susan Webster)

Wendy Weiger

Wendy Weiger is an MD/PhD who left Boston’s halls of academe for the wilds of Maine’s North Woods. She recently founded Achor Earth Ways: a nonprofit whose programs guide people into deeper, more joyful connection with nature. She believes that rekindling our intimacy with the natural world will renew our own health on multiple levels—physical, emotional, spiritual –and will inspire us to work toward healing the Earth. (Photo: Christopher King)

Terry Tempest Williams

Terry Tempest Williams is an author, naturalist, and conservationist. She has also been called “a citizen writer,” who speaks on behalf of an ethical stance toward life. She has written nine books, including the most recent The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks. She is currently the writer in residence at Harvard Divinity School and otherwise divides her time between Castle Valley, Utah, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. (Photo: Cheryl Himmelstein)

Photo: David Anderson