Where I Go: Hiking the Mountain That Almost Killed John Muir

Finding an Adventure Story and a Portal to the Past Beneath Mount Shasta

The great outdoor adventurer John Muir—who had skipped over glaciers in Alaska, surfed an avalanche, and gleefully rode a wildly swaying tree in a storm in the Sierras—lay in a hotel bed strewn with wildflowers. He gazed through the window at the majestic sight of Mount Shasta.

He had nearly died on the summit of that mountain the night before. A fierce blizzard had set in after he and mountain guide Jerome Fay reached it. A blinding deluge of snow obscured their route back, making a descent impossible.

They survived by lying …

Hawai‘i Doesn’t Need More Tourists, It Needs Better Tourists

From Kaua‘i to Croatia, the World’s Increasingly Crowded Vacation Spots Seek Visitors Who Spend More Money—And Actually Talk to Locals

Rapidly rising tourism in Hawai‘i and around the world poses new and complicated economic, environmental, and cultural challenges that in turn will require better management and well-designed restrictions on visitors, …

The Postcards That Captured America’s Love for the Open Road

From Mid-Century Until Today, “Greetings From” Postcards Have Combined a ‘Fantastical View’ of the Country With Car Culture Obsession

The most prolific producer of the iconic 20th-century American travel postcard was a German-born printer, a man named Curt Teich, who immigrated to America in 1895. In 1931, Teich’s printing …

Are You Cursed If You Steal Rocks From the Petrified Forest?

A Photographer Ponders Beauty, Truth, and the Guilt of Visitors Who Pilfer Souvenirs From the Arizona National Park

In 2011, I was traveling in Arizona photographing meteorites and the misidentified meteorites known as “meteor-wrongs.” My work with the meteor-wrongs went quicker than expected and my wife and I …

Could California’s Coldest Place Blaze a Path to Better Development?

Up in the Sierra, the Town of Truckee Is Embracing Dense Urban Growth

One of California’s hottest development projects can be found in one of its coldest towns.

In an era of bitter neighbor-bites-neighbor fights against big developments, perhaps it’s fitting that an antidote …