About Walt Franklin

Welcome to Rivertop Rambles. I am writing and reflecting on the headwaters or the backcountry of my Allegheny foothills in the northern tier of Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York State. I will also post occasionally on the wilderness in distant places, and the wildness found within the human heart. I’ve been a fly-fisher, hiker, birder, and naturalist for most of my life. I’ve written and published poetry (since college days) and natural history books for many years. The journey of a life outdoors, domestic or wild, will be shared with passion, poetry and photos. Your thoughts are always welcome, and I’ll try to answer any questions you might have.

For a catalogue of my published books, please check my Amazon Page at https://www.amazon.com/Walt-Franklin/e/B00LWH3J3U?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1605140218&sr=1-1

And thank you!

About the Books: 

Learning the Terrain, published in Feb. 2022 by Wood Thrush Books (WTB) in Swanton, VT, is the fifth & final book in a well-received series focused on fly-fishing, hiking and natural history studies. The publisher of the series at WTB, W. McLaughlin, has said of this book, “This one, I believe, is his best one yet.” Available from WTB, Amazon Books, and from the author. $14, plus shipping.

SLOW SEA RISING is my fifth full-length collection of poetry, and perhaps my strongest one to date. It contains a revision of “Ekos, A Journal Poem,” set on a Greek island, along with newer verse from islands near and far, including the Caribbean and the mid-Atlantic shoreline, with a focus on the natural world experienced personally by the author. 80 pages, perfect-bound, available from Great Elm Press at this address. $16, post-paid.

WINGS OVER WATER, The Late Notes of a Naturalist, is now available (Feb. 2020) from Wood Thrush Books (see link at blogroll) and from Amazon Books in book and Kindle formats (see the link above, for a preview and ordering information).

Of Wings Over Water, Wood Thrush Books has said, “In this collection of personal essays, the author describes the flora and fauna he encounters while plying some of his favorite trout streams in the Mid-Atlantic states, New England and the American West. Walt Franklin is as much a bird watcher and amateur naturalist as he is an avid fly fisherman, with a strong desire to protect the lands he has walked and the waters he has fished for decades. Wings Over Water is a blend of fishing tales, folklore, natural history, and riverine ecology. It is also a lighthearted narrative that turns poetic whenever the wild comes into full view.”


STREAMWALKER’S JOURNEY, Fishing the Triple Divide. My publisher (Wood Thrush Books) has written: “The essays in Streamwalker’s Journey are a celebration of the fly-fishing life, with a focus on the triple divide of watersheds in north-central Pennsylvania and upstate New York: the Genesee River, the Allegheny River, and Pine Creek. These are among the author’s favorite trout streams, plied over decades so he knows them well. As he walks these waters with fly rod in hand, he delves into their natural history, local lore, and conservation efforts to protect them. He shares the methods and fly patterns he uses to tease trout into striking, while occasionally telling tales of anglers past and present. But most of all, Walt Franklin writes with skill, passion, and a touch of humor about his experiences on these streams as well as his interactions with the natural world at large.”

LEARNING THE TERRAIN, WINGS OVER WATER, STREAMWALKER’S JOURNEY, BEAUTIFUL LIKE A MAYFLY, and RIVER’S EDGE are Wood Thrush Books selections also available, along with other Franklin publications, at Amazon Books (see the new Amazon Author’s Page for Walt Franklin https://www.amazon.com/Walt-Franklin/e/B00LWH3J3U?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1605140218&sr=1-1), from select stores and fly shops, as well as from the author (franklinl3@yahoo.com).


A RIVERTOP JOURNAL, by Walt Franklin

246 pages with photos & artwork, from Writers Publishing Cooperative,

Warner, New Hampshire

Price:  $16.00

The linked essays of A RIVERTOP JOURNAL form a personal narrative developing a natural sense of place amid the dehumanizing elements of the modern world.  Walt’s subject matter in this beautifully produced book includes birding, hiking, wildlife studies, rural living, and the natural and cultural history of his rivertop home in upstate NY.

Walt’s intimacy with the land drives a poetic prose and sustains him in his efforts as an environmental activist—plus forms a strong link to community, uniting people of varied backgrounds, abilities and interests.

“I consider (his) work to be some of the most vital and important being done in our efforts to at last become friends with the ancient mountains.”

—Robert Stough, writer and conservationist

“The sense of discovery and personal odyssey is both intense and reassuring.”

—Frederick Moe, editor, COLOR WHEEL

To order:  Available at Wood Thrush Books, but also through the author at franklinl3@yahoo.com.

If you are interested in any of the books listed on this page, simply contact me via email (above). I’ll ask for your mailing address, send the book to you, after which you can send me a check for the postpaid amount that’s indicated. Thank you!

Also Available:


EARTHSTARS, CHANTERELLES, DESTROYING ANGELS (from FootHills Publishing, 2016) is Franklin’s first full-length book of poetry since “Uplands…” in 1992. With this collection of previously published poems, the author has returned to his poetic roots, revealing, once again, the spirit of nature burning brightly in our lives. For ordering information, see the blog roll on the home page and click on “FootHills Publishing.”

Also Available: FROM THE HIGH HILLS TO THE BAY was published by FootHills Publishing (2020) and is available there as well as from Amazon and Wood Thrush Books. Reviewer W. McLaughlin has said, “New poetry by the naturalist and writer Walt Franklin, set in upstate New York. Appalachian Dawn, The Waterthrush, In Jewelweed, Eastern Coyote Poem, Swamp Magic-– straightforward, well-crafted, nature-related verse from one of the region’s passionate stewards.”

From the High Hills to the Bay


 UPLANDS HAUNTED BY THE SEA. Poems by Walt Franklin. Great Elm Press, 1992. 90 pages. Illustrations by Jane Lavendar. $7.50 ppd.

“Walt, a master of the long poem.” Tony Cosier, poet, novelist.

“… A fine radical conservative book, and you should be well pleased with it… I suggest you send a copy of your book to Wendell Berry.”– Hayden Carruth.

“If I was stranded on a desert isle and could have only one book, I’d want it to be Uplands Haunted by the Sea.” F. Moe, in a letter to W. McLaughlin.

Also available: 

SAND & SAGE, The Trails Beyond. Great Elm Press, 2010. 74 pgs., $12, ppd. Illustrations by Tim Shoales and Alyssa Franklin.

The Sand & Sage narratives reflect small journeys into places as diverse as the Greek Islands, the American West, the Rocky Mountains, and the coast of North Carolina. Franklin has examined these far-flung locales and explored them beyond the usual boundaries as a hiker, birder, and fly fisherman… The narratives form a travelogue of simple living, with all the drama and mystique that a world in balance can reveal. They tell a story of our human probing of the world for meaning and identification.

52 Responses to About Walt Franklin

  1. Nice blog site, Walt. Welcome to the Digital Age!

  2. Dale Houseknecht says:

    great job walt as always i enjoy your writings

  3. Rex is here at The Hatch and says it’s great to see you online. Rob

  4. Marjorie says:

    I would love to connect with you about your blog. Please email me at mhall@nationalparks.org
    Marjorie Hall
    Dir of Communications
    National Park Foundation

  5. Here’s a newly found Reader Note, from Reader Approved Outdoor Blog Posts, January 31, 2012:
    “I’ve just put up the URL for the blog itself. Well worth going right down the line. He’s just got started and is well worth following.”
    Thank you! (WF)

  6. Benjamin says:


    This is a wonderful blog and similar to one I run. Slowly and surely, as fishing and nature begin to dominate my life (in a good way) at 39 my blog has turned to posts of life outdoors and not of zombies.

    Beautifully written and photographed, Sir!!

    Ben Rogers

  7. Welcome to Another Green World, Ben. I’ll follow your progress on Ben’s Fishing & Life!

  8. Bill Ragosta says:

    I just found your blog and must say that you sir, are a man of my own heart. Very nice ramblings and photos.

  9. Bill,
    Very pleased that you found me here at RR. Thanks for the kind comment, and I hope you stop by often!

  10. trutta99 says:

    I just found your blog, and hit “follow” instantly. I really enjoy your essays and approach to the world out there . keep it going!

  11. trutta,
    Very glad that you found RR! I note that your blog is about “landscapes, poetry, and the outdoor lifestyle” centering around trout. That’s our kind of place! Will add you to the blog roll and look forward to reading more. P. S. I thought I had accidently erased your message, but it’s here. Thank you.

  12. Chris Clark says:

    It looked like you had a peaceful day near Slate Run. I liked the picture of the little brookie.

  13. Thanks Chris! A peaceful day it was. They aren’t all like that, but welcome to my world!

  14. Long says:

    Walt – Just came across your site, fantastic. Really enjoy the small stream, brookies, and wild trout I see in your posts. Looking forward to following your blog.

  15. Long,
    Glad you found us here. Welcome to Rivertop Country. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your adventures!

  16. Anonymous says:


    I am a representative of Yesterday’s Muse Books in Webster, NY, and I am writing you today because while I was entering a couple books into our system, I stumbled across Rivertop Rambles. After reading through your blog it seems to me that, considering your interest in both Christman’s work and persona, these books might also interest you.

    Christman, W.W.
    Songs of the Helderhills (SIGNED FIRST EDITION)
    Harold Vinal, 1926. Includes original jacket, toned and lightly rubbed, now securely wrapped in attractive Mylar. Pages lightly toned, clean. Includes tipped-in cut of envelope used to originally ship the book and an invoice for its purchase in 1977. 1926 Hard Cover. We have more books available by this author!. A collection of poetry by the noteworthy Catskills poet and transcendentalist, W.W. Christman. Signed by the author.


    Christman, W.W.
    Songs of the Western Gateway (SIGNED)
    Lewis Copeland Company, 1930. No jacket. Boards very lightly rubbed. Pages lightly toned, clean. Signed by the author.


    Photos of each book can be found at the links above, and we’d be happy to provide you with additional scans / photos if you want to take a closer look at the books. Please let us know if you have any questions.

    Neil Grayson, Assistant
    Yesterday’s Muse Books

  17. Neil,
    Thanks for your interest, but I have a copy of all W.W. Christman books. It’s good to know that other copies in good condition are still available for folks who have an interest. Also, I have recently published “On the Helderhill: Selected Poems by W. W. Christman” if you or anyone else might like a copy ($10).

  18. Ryan Foley says:

    Hi Walt,

    Shoot me an email (mofrackie@gmail.com) when you get a chance. I had a question regarding your recent poem that mentioned Astral Weeks. Thanks!


  19. Ryan, thanks, will send via email.

  20. Hey Walt, just stumbled upon your blog. Really nice. I realized after looking through it that you fish many of the streams I fish when I’m in the area. We have a cabin on Pusher Siding Road near the
    Middle Branch of the Genesee near Ulysses. If you wouldn’t mind emailing me at ryanabel52@gmail.com to discuss some of these streams that would be great. Thanks, Ryan.

    • Wonderful to hear from you, Ryan, thanks for connecting. It’s not often that I hear from someone who has first-hand knowledge of many of the same streams I talk about on the blog. I know the Pusher Siding Road pretty well and will contact you via email. Am looking forward!

  21. Anonymous says:

    I just found your great blog and enjoy your roaming’s and ramblings. I was born and raised in Western Pa. on the Allegheny River and fished and camped up and down the Allegheny and in McKean and Potter counties when I was younger. Although I have lived in some beautiful places, I still miss Western Pa. It has the right combination of great fishing, wildlife, and natural beauty that makes me wonder why I ever moved away.
    Cheers, John

  22. Hi John,
    Hey I’m glad you found the Rambles tour and are liking what you see! Rural PA has some beautiful country and, as you know, experience of the place will stay with you forever. I love these places for the same reasons that you mention, though I’m not from the area originally. When I did arrive here I knew that I would stay indefinitely, and even write about it from my own experiences. Thanks so much for responding here, and please stop by often.

  23. Thom Hickey says:

    Thanks Walt. Very pleased to have found your fascinating blog. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (plugged in and ready to play).

    • Hi Thom! Welcome to the Rivertops where the country still knows how to rock and wild. Please weigh in whenever you like. It’s great to have someone here who has a key to the Immortal Jukebox! (And thanks for the Follow, too).

  24. Thom Hickey says:

    Thanks. Drawn in by Richard Thompson but stayed for more! Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox ( drop a nickel).

  25. Thom, Very pleased that you dropped a nickel here for a Thompson play and poked around a bit. Thanks!

  26. plaidcamper says:

    Hi Walt, I have enjoyed reading your posts – you have a way with words and pictures, conveying your connection to the outdoors, it’s an absolute delight to read! I’m looking forward to reading more, (and trying my hand at fly fishing again soon).
    Thanks for taking the time to read OldPlaidCamper, I appreciate it. Enjoy your day!

    • Thanks PlaidCamper, and I’m glad I found your blog today, a rare one in its artfulness and sensibilities. Please keep in touch, and good luck with your camping and flyfishing efforts!

  27. Anonymous says:

    walt, the name is steinhilper

    • Thanks! It helps me sometimes to have a name along with comment, although it’s not always easy when first going through the choices of response that WordPress offers… Hope to hear from you again.

  28. Hi Walt, I just got around to reading about you. You are my hero. One day when I grow up I hope to reach the stratosphere like you have done with the blog. I hope you still have a book available.

    • Hey Howard, I’m glad you found About here! I’m humbled by your comment but, really, I don’t feel quite grown up yet myself. Sort of like being a mayfly nymph emerging for the hatch (and just witnessed by a hungry trout). But I’d be happy to send you a copy of River’s Edge, if you want. Just send your mailing address to my email at franklinl3@yahoo.com and I’ll happily ship you a copy at a price you can’t refuse. Thanks!

  29. Thom Hickey says:

    Always a refreshment of the spirit to visit here Walt.

    Regards Thim.

  30. Thanks again, Thom, and for your Immortal Jukebox!

  31. Jet Eliot says:

    Congratulations Walt, this is an impressive repertoire~~

  32. Hi Walt, my address is 1604 E. Weldona Way, Superior CO 80027. Please let me know how much I owe you.

  33. Dan Hayes says:

    Hello Walt, am embarrassed to admit I just stumbled across your work and “Rivertop Rambles”. I care for a little piece of the earth near Millport PA; just a short ramble over the hills to the west. This was my grandpa’s place and, now that I am a grandfather four times over, I have loved that country for generations. I just ordered one of your books and look forward to making your acquaintance through your words and possibly even a stream one day. Stay safe and healthy, Dan

    • Great to hear from you, Dan, and thank you for your interest. I hope to learn more about your connections to your place in Potter County. I love the Millport area and have fished its streams for many years. Perhaps we have stories & waters to share!

  34. hillfarmblog says:

    Hi Walt, I was throwing out some old correspondence and ran across a bunch of letters that we exchanged years ago. I looked and here you are! Nice to reconnect,
    Kathleen Tenpas

    • Hey Kathleen, hello again! Do you believe in synchronicity? I’m almost convinced about it now… This very morning, I, too, was going through old correspondence, selecting certain letters to save, tossing out extraneous items (a huge job for me that will last a while). I enjoyed rereading a couple of your letters & decided they were items I will keep… How about that? It looks as though our activities just crossed tracks in a “synchronous” universe. I hope things are going well!

      • hillfarmblog says:

        Things like this happen in my family all the time. Fortunately, my English ancestors skipped Salem and went on to Amherst before heading off into the wilds of western NY.

        We are retired! No cows, all gone off to live elsewhere. Stan had some heart problems and after milking for 3 more years, decided to stop in 2015. There were still heifers, which he sold later that year, and bought beef cows, some lovely Herefords. They left last year and we bought a 29 acre woodlot and are building a retirement home. The farm will go to a young couple whose family lives just down the hill.

        I have written lots of poems, and published almost none. Except what I put on Facebook for my friends. I would have a stack of rejection letters if I kept them, that tell me what a good poet I am, I just don’t fit what they are looking for. Oddly, it doesn’t discourage me from writing on.

        Off to get lunch.

  35. Congrats on your retirement that keeps you close to the home place of the heart. I think your Salem-skirting ancestors would be proud of a tradition being carried on!
    I know what you mean about the poetry… I pretty much abandoned sending out poetry after everything went digital in the 90s and took the fun out of getting rejection/acceptance notices in the mailbox. Trying to keep up otherwise, revising, putting together some collections… Good to hear from you, Kathleen. Stay in touch!

  36. Anonymous says:

    Walt, I seem to have lost your e-mail contact. I was looking to catch up and maybe do some fishing. E-mail me at cmclark8903@yahoo.com

    Chris Clark

  37. Chris Clark says:

    Hi Walt. I hope you are doing well. I wanted to reach out and connect after your retirement. Maybe we can meet up and fish soon.

  38. Hi Chris! Thanks for reaching out. Great to hear from you & I hope you & family are doing well. I’d still like to meet up & get some fishing done. Because of low water it may have to wait for a while. Also, I’m recovering from some heavy-duty back surgery last week (a problem started last winter) but I’m hoping to be strong & back in the water before too long. Here’s wishing the last stretch of summer is a fine one for you.

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