Books

Arctic Traverse: A Thousand-Mile Summer of Trekking the Brooks Range

A memoir of wilderness, cultural connections, and gritty adventure across northern Alaska.  Much more than a harrowing account of a human-powered solo journey, Arctic Traverse sparkles with anecdotes about wildlife, scientists, Indigenous elders, and the clients Engelhard guided, as well as with intimate experiences of the land itself.

“Buoyed by Engelhard’s wry sense of humor and encounters with those he meets along the way, Arctic Traverse is a rare entry in the outdoor genre. His wit invites readers to laugh and occasionally shudder with him as he makes his way to a final landing in Kotzebue.”  — Booklist, starred review

A “glowing travelogue.” — Robert Moor, bestselling author of On Trails

No Walk in the Park: Seeking Thrills, Eco-Wisdom, and Legacies in the Grand Canyon 

In the footsteps of Desert Solitaire, these essays by an outdoors professional and student of culture sift decades of experience backpacking and boating for a stance that questions the mainstream. More than mere tales of bravado, they offer glimpses into the heart and history of the places explored, with the Grand Canyon as their center of gravity. Vivid, finely crafted, shot through with humor, self-effacing while deeply opinionated, No Walk in the Park shows what it means to meet nature on nature’s terms.

Engelhard’s love song to America’s most beautiful desert. A stunning collection of essays.”                  — Sean Prentiss, National Outdoor Book Award-winning author of Finding Abbey

Avidly urges the reader to side with Nature rather than continue to celebrate the foibles of our over-abundant, misguided species.”  — Jack Loeffler, author of Adventures with Ed

What the River Knows: Essays from the Heart of Alaska (Hancock House Publishers, June 2024)

Edward Abbey, who never much liked Alaska, called it “our biggest, buggiest, boggiest state.” To others, it has been a cure for despair. When the author moved to Fairbanks more than three decades ago, he was a cheechako, a subarctic tenderfoot. Gathering skills and experiences the hard way, he attained “Sourdough” status while realizing there would always be more to learn, see, and do in the land of midnight sun and auroras.

“Bound to become a new classic of the outdoors… This is a book sure to be cherished by all who love Alaska and who long for wilderness.”  — Bill Streever, bestselling author of Cold 

Engelhard not only heeds the call of the wild, but also provides eloquent descriptions of its ever-diminishing decibel level.  — Lawrence Millman, author of The Last Speaker of Bear

Ice Bear

Ice Bear: The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon

Prime Arctic predator and nomad of the sea ice and tundra, the polar bear endures as a source of wonder, terror, and fascination. Ice Bear traces 8,000 years of intertwined human-polar bear history, painstakingly researched and illustrated with 175 images.

“‘Iconic’ is the marketing 
cliché of our times, applied as unthinkingly to wildlife as it is to biscuits. But here, Michael Engelhard digs deeper, tracing how the polar bear came to occupy its place in contemporary culture and, in the process, suggesting what the mechanics of iconography say about us.”  — BBC Wildlife

“Ice Bear is a visual National Geographic with real verbal punch!”  — New York Journal of Books


American Wild: Explorations from the Grand Canyon to the Arctic Ocean

2016 Foreword INDIES Gold Medal winner, Adventure & Recreation category and 2017 Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze Medal winner, Travel Essay category

Torn between two “soulscapes”—the canyon country and Alaska—the author has roamed both for twenty-five years. En route he suffered snowstorms, boat-flips, heat, injury, bobcat tamales, upset raptors, charging grizzlies, the Park Service, heartbreak, hungry mosquitos, and honeymooners from abroad. American Wild charts his love for these regions in essays that are lyrical, candid, and luminous. Above all, they speak of one man’s desire to see natural wealth and our stories about it preserved.

“Thoroughly at home in these wild places and among their creatures, Engelhard is a worthy guide across thresholds that can provoke profound, irrevocable change.”  — Foreword Reviews

51NnPzPF4BL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Where the Rain Children Sleep: A Sacred Geography of the Colorado Plateau

Inspired by a year of hiking 120 desert canyons, Where the Rain Children Sleep is nature writing in the best tradition of Edward Abbey, Ellen Meloy, and Craig Childs. Much more than one man’s memoir of his time in these canyons, it is a well informed, critical, and in-depth collection punctuated by flashes of humor and whimsy. The vivid thread connecting these essays is the Navajo concept of a “sacred geography.”

“A Poet’s walkabout . . .”  — L.A. Times

“The finest Abbey-inspired prose I’ve encountered since Ed himself. . . . Just the gust of fresh air our stagnant nature / travel genre so desperately needs right now.”  — David Petersen

“Compelling and thought-provoking.”  — Booklist

51jDLZQktcL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Wild Moments: Adventures with Animals of the North

Stories by Douglas Chadwick, Karsten Heuer, Nancy Lord, Richard Nelson, and others.

“This is top-drawer nature writing—there’s not a clunker in the bunch.”  — Editor’s Choice, Audubon

“Loss is a theme in the book. So is being found; finding oneself through the ‘other,’ which sometimes looks and acts in ways that are too similar for comfort.”  — Alaska Dispatch News

Wild Moments is the next best thing to being there. The poignant stories flowing from our interaction with these ‘other nations’ are reminders that America’s last wildlife haven is at risk of being lost to the juggernaut of development. That is, unless we decide together that endless wild moments are worth more than quick fixes to long-term problems.”  — John Toppenberg, Alaska Wildlife Alliance

51ZACSIYYbL._SX404_BO1,204,203,200_Redrock Almanac: Canyon Country Vignettes

Fifty micro-essays and lavish images showcase the Colorado Plateau’s geology, flora, fauna, climate, people, and landmarks in their unrivaled splendor.

“Grandeur comes in many dimensions, and this book captures them all.”  — Bill McKibben

“Every now and then a writer emerges who has both an intimate and hard-won experience of the wilderness and the prose skills to share what they found there, seemingly without loss along the wires. For my money, Michael Engelhard is one of this rare breed.”  — David Knowles, publisher of EarthLines

514QB47gq9L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Cold Flashes: Literary Snapshots of Alaska 

Flash fiction and nonfiction by Christine Byl, Eowyn Ivey, Don Rearden, Sandra Kleven, and others.

“Engelhard has a good thing going here, and he’s handled it well.”  — Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

“This isn’t a book bound for the tourist rack, but it does present an honest view of life in Alaska. . . . One delightful aspect of this anthology is that you can sample many Alaskan authors (although not all the writers now live in Alaska), but you also experience so many perspectives, a peek into the Alaska writers’ psyche, how they describe the world and what they make of it. Alaska is a big state. Cold Flashes can escort you on a tour without you ever leaving your seat.”  — Anchorage Daily Planet

51xGQXO6FhL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Unbridled: The Western Horse in Fiction and Nonfiction

Stories by Mark Twain, Thomas McGuane, Edward Abbey, Gretel Ehrlich, Mark Spragg, and others.

“Michael Engelhard has rounded up a group of writers gentle and smart and loving of the animals, as well as experienced in their visions of the American West.”  — Kent Nelson

“Both fiction and nonfiction, these exceedingly artful pieces are divided into seven categories: Broncs & Rogues; Mustangs, Cow Ponies & Other Workhorses; Racers & Buffalo Runners; Mares & Foals; Legendary & Supernatural Horses; and Casualties & Survivors. The authors range from the familiar (e.g., Zane Grey, Theodore Roosevelt, Frederic Remington, and Gretel Ehrlich) to those best identified in the full Notes on Contributors at the end of the volume. Most are active in the horse world, as evidenced by their vivid writing: they truly know their horses. Altogether, a sheer delight to read; highly recommended.”      — Library Journal

51o7bhjlQkL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Hell’s Half Mile: River Runners’ Tales of Hilarity and Misadventure

Stories by Edward Abbey, Craig Childs, John Nichols, Katie Lee, Brad Dimock, and others.

“A high-water mark in river running humor from the guides and the misguided.”  — Tim Cahill

Hell’s Half Mile represents the best in humorous outdoors writing and the lowest in guide culture.”                   John Weisheit, co-founder of Colorado River Guides and Conservation Director of Living Rivers

“[Engelhard] has done the river community, and all lovers of the lighter side of nature writing, a great service. . . . Whether breaking the tension above rapids at high water, or simply reveling in the glory and mishaps of those who have gone before, this book is a ‘must have’ for book shelves and ammo cans alike.”     — The Confluence