Writing Samples

At the Rendezvous, by Gwen Hoffnagle

Take yourself back to 1833. You’re a trapper. Your supplies are all but gone. Your mule is more obstinate than usual, weighed down by a load of beaver pelts. You top the ridge, and there’s the sight you’ve been thirsting for – canvas tents bright against the surrounding mountain greenery. It’s the rendezvous! You can sell your “plews,” down a jug of whiskey, and forget your cares for a couple of weeks! [To read more of this article, click here.]

The More Things Stay the Same, by Gwen Hoffnagle

I’ve been hiking my gulch for five summers now. During the first two winters it had a good enough base for several weeks of cross country skiing. The snow has been too inconsistent for skiing the last two years, so I hiked there in the winter, too. When we first moved to this area, I began taking our dogs to the gulch because it’s about the closest place to home for a hike. Sometimes we explore elsewhere, but because it’s so convenient and private, we go to our gulch more often than not. We share it with bovines during the summer months since it’s on BLM land, though we usually see only the pies and don’t encounter the cows. There’s a road into it, but it’s only during the various hunting seasons that we see anyone else there. [To read more of this article, click here.]

The Opera Ladies, by Gwen Hoffnagle

This hour-long radio program aired Sunday, March 6th, 1988, as part of “Women Aloud,” a full weekend of women’s programming produced by women on KRCL in Salt   Lake City, Utah.[To read this script, click here.]

Lost and Found, by Gwen Hoffnagle

I got lost last week. It often happens in September – maybe two or three times in September. With the sharp sky colors and the air made especially for breathing deeply, I tend to make more time for getting lost in September.

Used to be I’d get found on these jaunts. Backpacking with a friend or lover, or car camping with another friend or another lover, it was “find me” time. We’d spill our guts to each other, starting in the car, where lack of distraction makes for deep conversations. We’d each take a turn. On the trail we’d start over and each take another turn with the trees and rocks for inspiration, and so on, until all subjects had been covered and everything that needed to come up came up, finding our thoughts by speaking out loud. [To read more of this article, click here.]

On Becoming a Hunter, by Gwen Hoffnagle       

Published in the September, 2008 edition of Mountain Gazette

            The sun is mercifully warm on my back as I trudge the trail back to camp.  It was forty chilling degrees colder when we headed out this morning at 5:00am, trying to second-guess the elk herd we know is out there somewhere.  It’s our first morning out, and not being used to the weight, my rifle is excruciatingly heavy on my shoulder.  It’s hard to keep my mind off the home-made cookies calling my name from camp.  But I’m still constantly thinking through the skills I will need when an animal is in my sights: wait, don’t shoot until your breathing slows, don’t flinch, don’t close your eyes, don’t drop the barrel, follow through, keep your eyes on the animal, start reloading immediately. [To read more of this article, click here.]

The Illusive Storm, by Gwen Hoffnagle

I love unusual weather, and often go outside when a storm blows through. As a child I was never afraid of thunderstorms or violent weather. I would watch excitedly for the next streak of lightening, count down the seconds, and marvel at the thunder. But at my rural home in central Colorado in April of 2010, I witnessed two storm events that were the most phenomenal and fantastic I have ever experienced. [To read more of this article, click here.]