The Sleepover

The Washington Post Magazine, May 14, 2017

A Mother’s Day essay remembering my mom, Barbara Donahue (1929-2017), and my favorite punk band, The Plasmatics (1977-1983). Edited by David Rowell.

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Candidate Kipsang

ESPN, April 20, 2017

Kenyan marathon ace Wilson Kipsang runs for public office, amid accusations that he’s stealing votes. Edited by Rebecca Nordquist.

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Painting the Fence

Yankee Magazine, March 2017

The joys and agonies of maintaining the picket fence at my family’s ancient home in New Hampshire. Edited by Ian Aldrich.

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The Messenger

The Washington Post Magazine, January 20, 2017

Once a basketball phenom and a hiphop deejay, Suhaib Webb is now a Muslim cleric with a vast following among millennials and also a bone to pick with Donald J. Trump. Edited by David Rowell.  

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Don’t Stop Now

Backpacker, January 2017

At age 77, long distance hiker George “Billy Goat” Woodard has no fixed address and is forever walking in the wilderness or making his way to the wilderness—on trains, in friends’ cars, and sometimes by hitchhiking. Edited by Dennis Lewon.

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The Million Mile Man

Outside, November 22, 2016

Cyclist Danny Chew has Asperger’s Syndrome. When he was 21, he resolved to ride his bike a million lifetime miles. Then, at age 54 and 783,000 miles into his quest, he crashed and became paralyzed. He now hopes to knock off the last 217,000 miles on a hand cycle. Edited by Elizabeth Hightower.

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To Build a Mosque in America

Bloomberg Businessweek, August 16, 2016

After 18 years and $1.5 million, the Islamic Society of New Hampshire is still struggling to build its own place of worship. Edited by Miranda Purves.

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Refugee Runner

ESPN, August 9, 2016

Yiech Pur Biel was born amid a civil war in South Sudan. Soldiers burned down his village, his parents left him, he grew up in a refugee camp. Now he’s readying to compete in the Olympics. Edited by Vic Seper.

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Amazon Kindle Singles, July 4, 2016

Of the hundred slaves to toil for President George Washington, Ona Judge was the only one to escape and tell her story. Edited by Ali Castleman.

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Refugees, Inc.

Bloomberg Businessweek, January 8, 2016

Two Norwegian brothers are cashing in on the refugee crisis. Edited by Brad Wieners.

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How The West Wasn’t Won

Bloomberg Businessweek, January 7, 2016

The economics behind militiaman Ammon Bundy’s occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Edited by Brad Wieners.

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Rise of a Running Nation

Runner's World, July 2015

Lon Myers was the greatest American runner of the nineteenth century and also a Sephardic Jew. In 1882, he ran a series of three one-on-one footraces against England’s best runner, Walter George, at the Polo Grounds, in New York City. Edited by Christine Fennessy.

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Poison Oysters

Bloomberg Businessweek, April 24, 2015

Imidacloprid is the world’s most popular pesticide. In the spring of 2015, oystermen in Washington state were poised to start spraying the stuff on the beleaguered oyster beds of Willapa Bay. But then my story broke. A surge of other media followed and then the oystermen caved—and scratched all plans to spray imidacloprid. Edited by Emily Biuso.

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Booze, Guns, and Poetry

Men's Journal, May 2015

Arkansas poet Frank Stanford killed himself in 1978, at the age  of 29. Today, novelist Michael Ondaatje calls his work “the most overlooked writing I know.”A look at a great Southern genius. Edited by Larry Kanter.

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Kindergarten Can Wait

Backpacker, May 2015
Gold Medal winner, Adventure Travel, 2016 Lowell Thomas Awards

At age 5, Christian Thomas Geiger hiked the Appalachian Trail, all 2,180 miles of it, with his mother and stepdad. Was this an act of child abuse? Or should we be applauding Buddy Backpacker’s mom, a recently obese working class Long Islander, for introducing her child to the wonders of nature? Edited by Dennis Lewon.

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Birds of Paradise

Sunset, March 2015

Communing with the endangered forest and seabirds amid the emerald rainforests and precipitous coastal cliffs on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Edited by Bruce Anderson.

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Here We Are Now

Sunset, January 2015

A return to singer Kurt Cobain’s hometown, Aberdeen, Washington, 20 years after his suicide. Edited by Nino Padova.

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No One Can Save Us Now But The Saints

2014 ESPN FC World Cup Guide, June 2014

On the cusp of the 2014 World Cup, a look the Mexican national soccer team, in all its sorrow and anguish. Edited by Rebecca Nordquist.

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Coach, Remembered

Colby magazine, May 29, 2014

Until he died at age 71, while rowing on a lake in Maine, my college cross country and track coach, Jim Wescott was a mentor and sensei to hundreds of athletes. Here’s an account of what it was like to run for him.  Edited by Gerry Boyle.

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The Hero’s March

The Washington Post Magazine, March 23, 2014

Searching for the ghost of Russian novelist Mikhail Lermontov (1814-41) in the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia. Edited by David Rowell.

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Letter from Abkhazia

Harper's Magazine, March 2014

A journey through a Russian client state on the Black Sea. Edited by Christopher Cox.

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Mongolia Rising

The Washington Post Magazine, September 22, 2013

Mongolia strikes it rich on gold and coal. Edited by David Rowell.

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The Elwha River Runs Free

The Washington Post Magazine, September 22,2013

The Elwha was dammed a hundred years ago. The river’s salmon runs all but ceased. Then late in 2011, the feds began tearing down the river’s two dams, to the delight of the Lower Elwha Klallam Indians, who have fished the river for centuries. Edited by David Rowell.  

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Wheat Noir

Bloomberg Businessweek, June 24, 2013

When a few stalks of rogue, genetically modified wheat sprouted on an Oregon farm, dire secrecy ensued. The US Department of Agriculture would not disclose the whereabouts of the wheat, which had never been approved for human consumption. Monsanto, which engineered the seeds, was likewise keeping mum. So I began searching. Edited by Brad Weiners.  

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Naked Joe

Boston Magazine, April 2013

In August, 1913, a pudgy middle-aged man named Joe Knowles stepped naked into the woods of Maine, to see if he could live as a primitive man. When he returned to his home in Boston two months later, clad in a bearskin,  200,000 people greeted him at North Station. Edited by Toby Lester.

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Stairway to Hell

The New York Times Magazine, January 27, 2013

Inside the arcane world of competitive stair racing. Edited by Dean Robinson.

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In the Land of Oil and Money

Thirty Two Magazine, Fall 2012

A week with fortune seekers on the oil patch in Williston, North Dakota. Edited by Katie Eggers.

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The Coast is Clear

Sunset, September 2012

A look at Bandon By the Sea, Oregon–and a meditation on the basic joys of going to the beach. Edited by Nino Padova.

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The Long Way Home

Backpacker, September 2012

Fourteen years ago, Karl Bushby set out to hike 36,000 miles across four continents. He’s still trying to get home. Edited by Dennis Lewon.

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America’s Best Bike City

Bicycling, June 2012

Why Portland is number one. Edited by Dave Howard.

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Are We There Yet?

Wired, November 2011
Gold Medal winner, Adventure Travel, 2012 Lowell Thomas Awards

Six astronauts simulate a mission to Mars, by repairing to a Spartan basement in Moscow and isolating themselves in a fake spaceship for 520 days. Edited by Mark McClusky.

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The Secret World of Saints

Byliner Originals, January 2012

Kateri Tekakwitha was a seventeenth-century Mohawk Indian and a Roman Catholic ascetic who slept on a bed of thorns. On December 19, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI credited her with causing a miracle. She will soon be named a saint. But what exactly does that mean? How does someone become a saint? And why is a con artist Italian friar who faked his stigmata wounds already a saint?
Edited by Laura Hohnhold.

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Back in the ol’ Hippie Hothouse

The New York Times Magazine, September 18, 2011

Can Antioch College return from the dead again? Edited by Dean Robinson.

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Who’s Lovin’ It?

The Washington Post Magazine, September 4, 2011

A week among the Latino emigres working at one McDonald’s in Washington, DC. Edited by David Rowell.

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The Lost Satellite

Popular Science, April 2011

In the late 1990s, NASA spent $250 million on a satellite designed to monitor climate change. The satellite has never flown. What happened? Edited by Seth Fletcher.

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Fixing Diane’s Brain

Runner's World, February 2011
Republished in Best American Sports Writing 2012

Diane Van Deren overcame epilepsy and then became a top ultramarathoner. Did her brain surgery help improve her pain tolerance, or is she just tough? Edited by Charlie Butler.  

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On With The Snow

The Washington Post Magazine, February 6, 2011

The author launches a career as a nordic ski racer. Edited by David Rowell.

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Tea Party Road Trip

The Washington Post Magazine, October 24, 2010

Riding the bus from Ohio to Washington, D.C., with a contingent of Tea Partiers bound for Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally. Edited by David Rowell.

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Flogging Genghis Khan

The Atlantic, September 2010

Bicycling to the world’s largest statue of Genghis Khan, in Mongolia. Edited by Tim Lavin.

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The Trail to Neverland

Backpacker, July 2010

A summer with the college students working in the rustic hikers’ huts of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Edited by Dennis Lewon.

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Semper Youngstown

Inc., May 2010

Youngstown, Ohio resurrects itself from a Rust Belt death. Edited by Dan Ferrara.

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The Boys from Brazil

The Atlantic, March 2010

American rodeo is taking on a Latin flair. Edited by Don Peck.

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Channeling Sappho

Reed Magazine, Autumn 2009

The poet Mary Barnard was an extremely private person, and single throughout her entire life. Her verse was spare and a bit cold, devoid of people. So how is that her 1958 book—Sappho: A New Translation—perfectly captured the Greek lyric poet, in all her sublime sensuality? Edited by Chris Lydgate.

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The First Dude in His Element

Sports Illustrated, March 11, 2009

Todd Palin competes in the Tesoro Iron Dog, a 2,000 mile snowmobile race across Alaska. Edited by Chris Hunt.

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Strange Paradise

The Atlantic, January 2009

Ruled over by druggie tyrant Manuel Noriega for seven years, and occupied by the US military for nearly a century, Panama is still dotted with torture chambers and ominous military installations. Which is exactly what makes it a primo tourist destination. Edited by Amy Meeker.

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My Grandson, The Writer

The Smart Set, August 8, 2008

The summer I turned 18, I lived with my grandmother in our family’s rambling summer home in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. It was an unusual housing scenario, but somehow the experience kind of launched my writing career. Edited by Jason Wilson.

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Wonder Boy

Runner's World, August 2008
Republished in Going Long: The Best Stories from Runner's World

At the age of four, slum kid Budhia Singh ran 40 miles without stopping in the blistering heat of his native India. Then, afterwards, his childhood only grew stranger. Edited by Peter Flax.

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Ways and Means

The Washington Post Magazine, June 29, 2008

Russell Means is an American Indian activist, a movie star who played the last Mohican in Last of the Mohicans, and also a political operator who has befriended Muammar Qaddafi, Larry Flynt, and Louis Farrakhan. In late 2007, he seceded from the United States, to launch The Republic of Lakotah. But is Lakotah an actual sovereign nation, or just a state of mind? Edited by David Rowell.

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The Green Bicycle Murder

Bicycling, December 2007

On a warm summer evening in 1919, a comely young factory worker named Bella Wright set out for a bicycle ride through the country lanes outside Leicester, England. What happened next involved a revolver, a raven, and a shady character on a high-end green bicycle. Edited by Bill Strickland.

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Hail Mary

Mother Jones
March 2007

Built on the swamplands of south Florida, Ave Maria University is the newest Catholic school in the U.S.—and a place where the faith of my fathers has been wholly transmogrified. Edited by Alistair Paulin.

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Lost and Found

Backpacker, October 2006

Social worker John Donovan was a monklike figure who lived alone in a succession of dingy $300-a-month apartments. Strange things transpired after he got lost and died in the high mountains of Southern California. Edited by David Howard.

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Shanghai by Bike

Sierra, September 2006

In a booming city mad for the automobile, cyclists are second class citizens. But it’s still a joy to ride the streets, especially when your guide is an industrious pimp. Edited by Marilyn Snell.

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Craig Rosebraugh’s War

Inc., October 2005

For years, Craig Rosebraugh was the spokesperson for the Earth Liberation Front, which burns down SUV dealerships and ski lifts in the name of eco-defense. When he changed jobs and opened a blue chip vegan restaurant, his inner anarchist never stopped working overtime. Edited by Dan Ferrara.

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Under the Sheltering Sky

The Washington Post Magazine., September 21, 2003
Republished in 2004 Best American Travel Writing.

Writer Paul Bowles spent most of his adult life in Tangier, Morocco. But when you search for his ghost there, what you find is the soul of the city. Edited by David Rowell. Republished in Best American Travel Writing 2004.

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Black Copters over Oregon

Salon, September 8, 2003

Did George W. Bush’s henchmen light a forest fire in Oregon in order to sell Bush’s “Healthy Forest Initiative”? An investigation. Edited by Ed Lempinen.

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Life in Limbostan

Mother Jones, September 2003

In Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in Morocco, thousands of sub-Saharan African migrants wander the streets, hoping to make it across the Strait of Gibraltar, into mainland Europe. Edited by Tim Dickinson.

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Wrestling with Democracy

The Washington Post Magazine, July 7, 2002

Fourteen Kansas teenagers make their senior class trip to Washington, D.C. Edited by David Rowell.

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Nasty, Brutish, and Loud

Outside, April 2002

The Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Area, in the stripmined hills of West Virginia, is the world’s premier all-terrain-vehicle playground—and oh, what a joy it is to ride there after midnight and toss your empties into the woods! Edited by Jay Stowe.

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End of the Run

Outside, February 2002
Republished in Best American Sports Writing 2003

Skier Bill Johnson won the gold medal in the downhill in the 1984 Olympics. Then in 1999, when he was 39 years old and ravaged by years of hard drinking, he tried to make a comeback. He crashed, incurring permanent brain damage. Edited by Laura Hohnhold.

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The Backyard Expedition

National Geographic Adventure, May 2001

When my daughter was almost six, I thought it would be a good idea to take her kayaking down Oregon’s Tualatin River. Edited by Mark Jannot.

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The Same River Twice

Mother Jones , November 2000
Nominated for a National Magazine Award

As a travel destination for kayakers, the Los Angeles River—that 50-mile concrete channel that cuts through the heart of the city—is underrated. Edited by Monika Bauerlein. Nominated for a National Magazine Award.

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Pilgrim at Johnson Creek

DoubleTake, Spring 2000

I didn’t really know my hardscrabble Portland neighborhood until I floated the local creek in a $49.95 inflatable raft. Edited by Toby Lester.

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A Glimpse of Eden

The Washington Post Magazine, January 16, 2000

In the love letters he wrote to his sweetheart, my grandfather extolled the joys of fighting in World War I. “Tennis, swimming, teas and dinners with charming French girls,” he said in one 1918 note from Paris. “The beauty here is punctuated by the boom of long range shells (one just went off in the front of the hotel), but no one seems to mind, unless they are actually hit.” Edited by David Rowell.

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Bad Dirt

Salon, April 15, 1999

Gilmanton, New Hampshire, population 3,000, is where novelist Grace Metalious wrote Peyton Place—and also where I spent every summer of my childhood. Local rumor holds that, in fact, Grace did not write the book. Edited by Laura Miller.

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Dissent on Denali

Climbing Magazine, May 1998
Republished in 30 Years of Climbing Magazine

Long the debate has raged: Did Frederick indeed summit Mount McKinley in 1906? Edited by Alison Osius. Republished in 20 Years of Climbing Magazine.

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Drive Thru Church

DoubleTake, Spring 1998

Pray Here Ministries’ Rick Schneberger offers absolution in a gravel parking lot on the strip mall fringes of Portland. Edited by Rob Odom.

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The Old Ball Game

The Oregonian, September 19, 1994

My great-great-uncle, Tim Donahue, played catcher for the major league Chicago Colts in the 1890s. When he came to bat once in 1899, according to the Chicago Tribune, “It appeared as though the select party on top of a neighboring building would jump off in excess of delight.” Edited by Bob Hicks.

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Bounding Ambition

Northwest Magazine, September 19, 1989

In 1974, in the waning days of the Nixon administration, I attempted to become the pogo stick jumping champion of the world. Edited by Barry Johnson.

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