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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
Health and the Older Hiker: Three Reasons to Hike with Osteoarthritis
The Fossils of the Falls of Ohio
Seismic Wiggle Room
Tom Killion: Sketching and Carving the Western Landscape
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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 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)
Lisa Ballard grew up in the Adirondack High Peaks, climbing 4,000-footers. Since then she has trekked up mountains in many parts of the world, taking photos and writing about her adventures for numerous magazines and websites. A past president of the Outdoor Writers Association of America, she is the author of thirteen books, including Hiking in the Adirondacks, Hiking the Green Mountains and Hiking the White Mountains, all FalconGuides. Between assignments, she hits the trails around her homes in Red Lodge, Montana, and Chateaugay Lake, New York. lisaballardoutdoors.com (Photo: Parker Densmore)
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. siribeckman.com
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 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 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 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. instagram.com/lydiacassatt (Photo: Courtesy of Lydia Cassatt)
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 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 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. bobelfstrom.com
(Photo: Courtesy of Bob Elfstrom)
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 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 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 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)
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. chuckgrahamphoto.com; Instagram @chuckgrahamphoto.
(Photo: Lori Graham)
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. melissagreene.com
(Photo: Jean Fogelberg)
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)
Born in We’koqma’q, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Rita Joe was a poet, songwriter, artist, educator and elder of the Mi’kmaq people. She published her first book of poetry—Poems of Rita Joe—in 1978 and went on to publish five more books of poetry and songs, plus an autobiography. Writing in both English and Mi’kmaq, she shared her love of the land and world view as an Indigenous person with an ever-widening audience. Recognized as an eloquent spokesperson of the Mi’kmaq people, she received various awards, honorary doctorates and in 1989 the Order of Canada. She died in 2007. (Photo: Unknown)
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]
Kenny Karem is a life-long educator, naturalist and writer. At one time, a Peace Corps volunteer and a finalist for the NASA Teacher-In-Space Program, he has taught at all levels and in different teaching environments, from inner city to rural, private to public schools, and in museums and state parks. He has published numerous articles and two books, including The Falls of the Ohio State Park and National Wildlife Conservation Area Souvenir Album. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky, and now leads tours at the Falls of the Ohio. (Photo: Courtesy of the Falls of the Ohio State Park)
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)
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. matc.org (Photo: MATC)
Stuart Kestenbaum is the former director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and Maine’s poet laureate from 2016 to 2020. He has been a visiting writer at arts programs including Penland, Cranbook Academy of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, and Penn State, and designed the new arts program in Monson, Maine. His most recent book is Things Seem to Be Breaking. monsonarts.org; stuartkestenbaum.com (Photo: Stuart Kestenbaum)
Tom Killion grew up in Marin County, California, where the rugged landscape inspired him to create Japanese-style woodblock prints from an early age. After learning the art of letterpress printing, he founded Quail Press to produce five handmade art books and over 400 relief prints. Along the way, he obtained a PhD in African history and spent many years working in Africa, returning to the States to teach. He now lives in Point Reyes, California, where he has collaborated on three books with poet Gary Snyder, The High Sierra of California, Walking Tamalpais and California’s Wild Coast. He is currently working on the images for a new book Trees & Trails of California. tomkillion.com (Photo: Courtesy of Tom Killion)
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. robinkimmerer.com (Photo: Dale Kakkak)
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)
Dr. Alyssa Kuhn
Dr. Alyssa Kuhn is a physical therapist and arthritis specialist with Keep the Adventure Alive, in Sandy, Utah. She believes an adventure is anything that makes a person happy on the inside, and her mission is to help arthritis sufferers all over the country break free from pain without surgery or medication. Inspired by adventures of her own, including hiking, road biking and skiing, she wants the world to know that arthritis pain doesn’t have to end adventures. keeptheadventurealive.com (Photo: David Starkey)
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.
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 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 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)
Robert Macfarlane is a bestselling British author of books on landscape, people and language, including Mountains of the Mind, The Wild Places, The Old Ways, Landmarks and Underland. His writing has been published in the Times Literary Supplement, the London Review of Books and Harper’s Magazine, among other publications, and adapted for TV, film and radio. He is currently a Fellow in English of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. (Photo: Helen Mort)
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. sjh.no
(Photo: Audhild Bjune)
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)
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’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 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. TheTurtleGallery.com
(Photo: Holley Mead)
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 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. Dailydevotions.org; peterpanagore.com
(Photo: Donald Scott)
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. markpicard.com
(Photo: Jim Boutin)
Michael Powers is internationally recognized for his photography, writing and participation in cause-related expeditions to wild places around the world. He is also founder of Ocean Studio, an alliance of adventure writers, photographers, filmmakers and composers, and author of the coffee table photography book Wild in Spirit. He lives in Half Moon Bay, California. wildinspirit.com (Photo: Benson Louie)
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. timprentice.com
(Photo: Courtesy of Tim Prentice)
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. rebekahraye.com (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. mountaininstitute.org
(Photo: The Mountain Institute)
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. seaweedcouncil.org; celesteroberge.com. (Photo: Joy Drury Cox)
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 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.
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)
Jonathan Schechter is a naturalist and four-season adventurer who writes weekly nature and wildlife blogs for the Oakland County, Michigan, Government. He is also a semi-retired ER paramedic, a member of the Wilderness Medical Society and a seasonal volunteer lighthouse keeper on South Manitou Island for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. He enjoys photographing the wilder side of nature’s way and finds peace and truth in the words of John Muir, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” (Photo: Taylor Reynolds)
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. camilleseaman.com
(Photo: Udo Zoephel)
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 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 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)
Tom Watson is a freelance writer specializing in self-reliance in the outdoors, kayaking, camping and other back-country activities. He’s a former owner and operator of a kayak touring venture on Kodiak Island. A frequent contributor to several outdoor websites and publications, he’s also authored several guidebooks on hiking and camping in Minnesota. He’s an active, award-winning member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. tomoutdoors.com (Photo: Courtesy of Tom Watson)
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. susanwebster.net (Photo: Susan Webster)
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. wendyweiger.com (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)