Bio (About the Author)

The Basics

I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, where I loved exploring this little woods down at the end of our street in suburbia. That woods has long since been replaced by a subdivision. Our family moved to Chicago in the late 1950s, and eventually I became an English teacher in the Chicago area. That’s how my wife, Barbara, and I met—we were both English teachers.

I hunted for bears in Maple Heights, Ohio, but never found any.

I hunted for bears in Maple Heights, Ohio, but never found any.

In the early 1980s, we relocated to Boston because I landed an editing gig with Houghton Mifflin. Moving east turned out to be a great decision because it took us to a part of the country that had unique access to the outdoors. An hour one way, and we were in the mountains. An hour the other way, and we were stretching out next to the big ol’ Atlantic Ocean. It was cool!

Hiking and the Outdoors

It wasn’t too long after we moved to Boston that we started exploring. Cape Cod. Acadia National Park in Maine. Vermont’s Green Mountains. The Berkshires in western Mass. We camped or rented cheap cabins because we had to save our nickels and dimes for family vacations. Those experiences drew us closer together as a family. For that reason, I’m a big fan of Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, which is about the lack of outdoor experience among American children today. How can we raise children who are self-reliant, empathetic, and creative unless they have experiences outdoors? Simple answer—we can’t!

Chris in Bryce Canyon.

Chris in Bryce Canyon.

Crawford Notch and My Writing

I started writing about nature and conservation because of Crawford Notch. This beautiful pass intersects the White Mountains. On each side, the mountains descend in spectacular fashion to the floor of the valley, and the Saco River splashes through it. Being a native flatlander, I’d never seen anything like it.

Crawford Notch also has tons of history. The Abenaki people hunted and fished there during the summer months. Abel Crawford settled his family there in the late 1700s, and soon, he and his strapping son, Ethan, were guiding people up the mountains. They built the Crawford Path up to Mount Washington, and it remains the oldest continuously used hiking trail in America. I became fascinated by the region, and soon after, I started writing essays about this and other natural areas.  

The Frankenstein trestle carries trains over a deep canyon in Crawford Notch.

The Frankenstein trestle carries trains over a deep canyon in Crawford Notch. The trestle is named after Godfrey Frankenstein, a German artist who immigrated to America in 1831 and painted landscapes of the White Mountains.


The research that I’ve done over the years makes me believe strongly that we must conserve and protect the extraordinary beauty of the green spaces in our country. For that reason, Theodore Roosevelt is one of my heroes. When he was president, he was instrumental in protecting millions of acres of forests and other natural areas as national parks and national forests. Roosevelt was among the many political leaders of the Progressive Era who supported the Weeks Act.


Stock photo credit: New Hampshire Mountains © nialat —