Travel. Culture.
Nature. Policy.

I’m a writer who contributes to magazines, travel guidebooks, and the occasional website. I’m also the associate editor at Down East magazine and the author of The Footloose American: Following the Hunter S. Thompson Trail Across South America.

I like the outdoors, public lands policy, American history, beer, people with interesting jobs, the Grateful Dead, and airport newsstands.

Some of my stories have been recognized in the Best American Essays and Best American Sports Writing anthologies, and I’ve received a Lowell Thomas Award from the Society of American Travel Writers. I grew up in Wisconsin and have lived in Minnesota, Montana, and Oregon. Home is currently a fishing village in Maine.

If you’d like to get in touch, please send me an email.

Photo by Sky Gilbar

The Footloose American:
Following the Hunter S. Thompson Trail Across South America

Out now!
Crown/Broadway Books
Learn more and pick up a copy!

Before he became America’s foremost gonzo journalist, the young Hunter S. Thompson was a bohemian foreign correspondent, a self-described “footloose American” filing dispatches on culture and politics from deep in the Amazon and the Andes.  With Thompson’s route as a roadmap and ghost as a guide, The Footloose American takes readers on a smart trek across South America, exploring a rapidly changing continent and a forgotten chapter in the life of one our sharpest cultural critics.

Want updates on the book? Check The Footloose American website and follow me on Twitter.

The Footloose American

Of Canvases and Canvasbacks

A story about ducks, but just barely: On art, representation, money, and passion in the high-stakes world of the Federal Duck Stamp Contest.

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Photo by Jon Lowenstein

Before Gonzo

In appreciation of Hunter S. Thompson’s early, underexposed work as a “straight” journalist.

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This excellent illustration was created by Nathan Gelgud for the blog Biographile. See his full post with additional illustrations of young Thompson’s exploits.

Illustration by Nathan Gelgud

The Survivors

In Maine’s Aroostook County, a ragtag troop of recent veterans converges on one of the country’s most respected wilderness schools. Can they find what they’re looking for in the North Maine Woods?

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Photo by Mark Fleming

The Settlers

At the northern tip of Maine, members of a six-year-old Amish splinter community work together to survive.

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Photo by Paul Cyr

Uruguay is a Land of Contrasts

Some gauchos are rather on the tall side, while others are almost freakishly short. A travel-writing satire.

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Photo by Vince Alongi, via Flickr

Presence of Mind

The first American woman to break the 150-mile mark in 24-hour running has a lot on her mind.

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Photo by Tim Hancock

Fight Club

A ragtag crew of backcountry activists is fighting a losing battle in the whitebark pine forests around Jackson Hole. So how come they feel like they’re winning?

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Photo by David Gonzales

Hornet’s Nest

Burt’s Bees cofounder Roxanne Quimby wants to give the federal government 74,000 acres for a national park. Why do so many locals have a problem with that?

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Photo by Robert F. Bukaty

Milking the Tiger

It’s a periodic nuisance to which most Peruvians seem glumly resigned: For three and a half days surrounding any election, the entire country goes dry.  Naturally, this leads to a no-holds-barred, rage-till-dawn bacchanal the night before the dry law takes effect.

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This awesome image was created independently of the magazine by illustrator Tania Talbot. Check out the uncropped original and the rest of her work here.

Image by Tania Talbot

Savage Love

How the larger-than-life bushmen of cable TV are creating an audience of armchair anthropologists.

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Image by Koren Shadmi

Everybody Hates
Chuck Schwartz

The head of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team is just a scientist trying to do his job (probably). His critics are a cadre of partisan, melodramatic activists (maybe).  Welcome (sort of) to the tooth-and-claw world of grizzly bear science.

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Photo by Moe Witschard

Eastern Promises

While Portland and the rest of Oregon’s left-hand side continue their reign over West Coast beer, the state’s other half is quietly catching up.

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Photo by Leon Werdinger

After the Time of Cholera

When the irony struck me, I was fully immersed in the dark swell of the Magdalena River, breath held and heaving against the fiberglass hull of a half-submerged boat.

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Photo by Sky Gilbar

Songs Primarily in
the Key of Life

Within every collection of vinyl LPs or compact discs are found two different types of records, those dusty with neglect and those affectionately scratched.  Among my scratchiest is a light funk-gospel album recorded in 1973 by the world’s most infamous suicide cult.

Notable Essay of 2010
Best American Essays 2011

Best read on a tablet! Download the Creatavist app and search for “Songs Primarily.”

Or read in your browser with the Creatavist web app.

Songs Primarily

The Revolución Will Not Be Oxidized

The only time I was ambushed in Colombia was while sitting at a mahogany bar in the Bogota Beer Company.

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Revolucion

The Longest Haul

A pair of Montana anglers scout a recovering river, one free-floating mile at a time.

Notable Sports Writing of 2010
Best American Sports Writing 2011

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Image by Josh Cochran

Mickey Mouse Operation

Disney is getting back to its nature-documentary roots — but can the company escape its own legacy?

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Mickey Mouse Operation

Why I Ride the Greyhound

The perpetual motion of cross-country bus travel is a powerful equalizer.

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Why I Ride the Greyhound

Compass American Guide: Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

Now in its 3rd edition!
Fodor’s (Random House)
April 2014

Winner of a 2010 Lowell Thomas Award from the Society of American Travel Writers.

This book both looks great and features valuable information — what a winning guidebook should do.
– Lowell Thomas Award judges’ comments

Lushly illustrated and intelligently written.
– National Geographic Traveler

Buy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, IndieBound

CAG Yellowstone

Fodor’s Guidebooks

Contributor to multiple editions of:

Fodor’s Montana & Wyoming
Buy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, IndieBound

Fodor’s Essential USA
Buy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, IndieBound

Fodor’s National Parks of the West
Buy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, IndieBound

Fodor’s Oregon
Buy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, IndieBound

Fodor’s Pacific Northwest
Buy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, IndieBound

Fodor’s New England
Buy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, IndieBound

Fodors books2

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