Compass? Maps? Leigh Bernacchi?
Ready to Explore.

Hello! I’m a writer who is passionate about sharing exploration of the wild world.

In 2021, Moon Travel Guides published the first edition of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks! I offer tips on traveling solo, with big groups, with tiny people and with people who are eager to check off their bucket list. I worked as a ranger in Sequoia, Yosemite and Denali national parks and hold a doctorate in wildlife and fisheries sciences (so I sometimes get a little too excited about birds!).

Visit my backyard!
From California’s stunning Sierra Nevada to the
abundant San Joaquin Valley

My Work

My Approach

Trained in environmental humanities at the University of Utah, I studied with nature writers Terry Tempest Williams, Scott Russell Sanders and Sharman Apt Russell. I apply their teachings to my native landscape and attempt to convey information clearly and succinctly, to add meaning to travelers’ experiences.


I specialize in nature photography, trained by Rocky Mountain School of Photography’s Tim Cooper. I am skilled at digital storytelling, interviewing and video. If you need a scientific story told, hire me to help you from story framing to editing, writing, voice over, lighting and post-production. My co-authored videos are available on UCTV Sustainable California.
I shoot with a Canon EOS 6D, Google Pixel 3, and a couple of Zoom camcorders.


Opinion. Travel. News. I research and write about the natural world, pending legislation, and ways to take action.

Yosemite Valley, stunning in every season. Dec. 2019.

About Me

I pay attention to the details to design the best travel experience for you. I’m passionate about getting outdoors. If given the choice between seeing a movie for a couple hours in a dark theater, I would rather spend the same amount of money for a full-day adventure in one of our nearby natural areas.
I was lucky to grow up in Mariposa, California. Armed with too many hamsters, a little brother, and an encyclopedia, I began my life as an adventurer in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Now I try to make the wild world accessible to everyone. And I strive for accuracy; I try every flavor of pie if I have to. When not at work or roaming around seeking a great hike, I like to go birding at one of the regional wildlife refuges, make things out of yarn, and cook. I’m also active in my church community.


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Blog: Tips and Tricks

Preparing for Mt. Whitney?

Any trip into Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks wilderness is a challenge and is a risk. But nothing will prepare you more for the daunting hike than tackling the web-encrusted tangle that is Recreation.gov. To hike Mt. Whitney in the summer and fall (the season for mere mortals) you must somehow navigate the treacherous…