On August 18, 2014, the California town of Boca near Lake Tahoe burned. More accurately, it was the Boca Townsite which burned, as the town itself had been gone for more than eighty-five years. Boca was a “boom and bust” town, in existence from 1867 until 1927, after which most of the place was dismantled. Although a post office remained until 1945, what was left of the village was demolished when the Boca Dam was built in 1939. …


The camp’s founder’s original paddle adorns this beautiful canoe-themed artwork that hangs in the center of the Main Lodge

Despite the warmth of the summer morning, gazing down at the shipwreck mere centimeters below me sends a shiver down my spine. Sunken boats have unnerved me for as long as I can remember, yet I’ve always loved paddling out alone to the south end of Teepee Lake to pay my respects at the Lizzie Graveyard. This submerged burial ground for watercraft is not far from Camp Arowhon, which I — and my father before me — attended as a young man and where, for many years, the camp owners scuttled boats whose years of service had come to an…


I made the above photograph last week using a high-tech, high-megapixel modern camera while on a mountain bike ride on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe. You might have deduced the location by studying the image (that’s Sand Harbor State Park below me), but it’s unlikely you would’ve guessed the date correctly. This vista of iconic Lake Tahoe probably looked the about the same in 1978 as it does in 2018, and if you shot it in 1978 using a Polaroid camera with PX680 film, the resulting picture would look similar to the one shown above.

For the last couple…


Morro Rock, located just off the central coast of California, is a 581-foot tall volcanic plug. If the term sounds kind of cool to you, that’s because it is. Volcanic plugs form when magma cools and hardens within a vent in an active volcano; over time erosion strips away the surrounding mountain, leaving an impressive feature rising out of the landscape. Volcanic plugs are most definitely cool, in both the literal and figurative sense.

Wonders of nature such as these are often referred to as tourist attractions, yet for the local community, they serve as far more than a source…


We all get deflated sometimes. When life gets overwhelming or we have a string of bad luck, it’s not uncommon to start feeling down. A wonderful woman who was a very positive influence on my life at a young age was fond of saying “Worry is like a rocking chair; it’s something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” These are wise and insightful words, and we can apply them to feeling deflated too: sometimes it feels cathartic to allow ourselves to be consumed by our wistfulness, but doing so doesn’t accomplish anything useful.

The only solution is to…


It’s easy to get into a rut. We have a tendency to do the same things day after day, mindlessly slipping into our automatic routines. Often we feel there is no change in our lives, yet with every sunrise, the world is a different place. To pull back the curtain of the ordinary and reveal the extraordinary, we must seek a new perspective.

One way to find an alternate perspective is to look at a familiar scene or object in an original way, and another is to view it from a changed angle. The above photograph, of a massive sandstone…


Balance is a good thing, both in one’s life and for the world at large. It’s easy to get caught up in our personal worldview and forget there is a broad and balanced spectrum of ways in which people experience our environment. From the rugged and adventurous to the calm and leisurely, our planet offers a method of participation for everybody.

Last week I visited Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. I did it “tourist style,” by which I mean I drove on paved roads to trailheads and walked short distances on established, level paths with prepared surfaces to pre-selected…


I have too much stuff. I’m not saying I have a lot of stuff, just that there’s too much of it. I don’t mean only physical objects, either: I’m referring to mental paraphernalia, things to do, priorities, and of course I also own a fair bit of the earthly junk which occupies the closets and drawers of all Americans.

The overflowing things I possess prevent me from focusing on what’s genuinely important. My goal is to distill the items filling my days down to the salient bits that make an impactful difference to me and to the world.

For many…


I’m a tough guy. Well, at least in my own mind, I am. Compared to the hardest men and women to ever grace the planet, I’m a total wimp, but that’s not the point. When faced with a difficult challenge, whether physical or mental, I’m able to convince myself I’m a badass, and this determination is enough to get me to push through any obstacles in my way. In the American Midwest, where I was born, there’s a blue-collar, nose-to-the-grindstone attitude which was instilled in me early in life. This doctrine has always been the method I’ve used to help…


I have mixed feelings about rain. On the one hand, sitting quietly with a hot cup of coffee and reading a good book on a rainy afternoon is one of my favorite ways to pass the time. When the weather is warm, I’ll crack a window so I can feel the humidity — a comforting, almost viscous, sensation on my skin. The gentle rhythm of the raindrops sooth my soul, our planet’s free white-noise machine. …

Stephen Anspach

Adventurer, entrepreneur, philomath. Perpetually curious. Whenever possible, I ski.

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