Author Archives: rivertoprambles

About rivertoprambles

Welcome to Rivertop Rambles. This is my blog about the headwaters country-far afield or close to home. I've been a fly-fisher, birder, and naturalist for most of my adult life. I've also written poetry and natural history books for thirty years. In Rambles I will mostly reflect on the backcountry of my Allegheny foothills in the northern tier of Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York State. Sometimes I'll write about the wilderness in distant states, or of the wild places in the human soul. Other times I'll just reflect on the domestic life outdoors. In any case, I hope you enjoy. Let's ramble!

Tarantula, Rainbow, Mesquite Night

This post is basically a photo album of our winter break near Big Bend National Park in southwestern Texas. This is the fourth and final post about our visit, a reflection of family time enjoyed in the desert environs of … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Boquillas and Beyond

[For this third installment of my Big Bend series, all photos, again, by Brent & Alyssa Franklin.] Start the day with coffee on the patio, with wren and quail and thrasher stepping near, with three dawn coyotes hunting leisurely in … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Two Hikes, Terlingua

For this second post of my Big Bend National Park series, all photos are by Brent Franklin or Alyssa Franklin and accepted here with thanks. It’s been said that to really know the world of your environment, you’ve first got … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Islands of the Sky (Big Bend)

The Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park have been described as “sky islands surrounded by desert.” I’ve had an opportunity to delve into those remote volcanic isles, to note their varying temperatures and moisture levels, from the Rio Grande, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

No Room to Gripe

Responding to my previous post about removal of the Klamath River dams, a friend of Rivertop Rambles, Tio Stib, responded favorably to the prospect of environmental change and also reminisced about his angling in the Klamath region. One of Tio’s … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

The Klamath Cheer

I’ve seen the Klamath River but have never had the chance to fish it (yet). I remembered it recently when the good news filtered through abominable stews of economic, political, and environmental turmoil. Four dams on northern California’s Klamath River … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Golden Brown

There were golden days this autumn, brilliant afternoons delightful for occasions on the trail or on the stream. I tried to make the most of them, getting outside when I could, and trying to fit some angling time into a … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

More Than Fish That We Are After

I’ve returned to fly-fishing the local rivers and smaller streams, my first solo outings on the water in quite some time. These were modest outings, casting bamboo and smaller graphite rods, catching and releasing a few nice browns that rose … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments


Flipping through the pages of my old literary magazines, I recently found a piece that I had written long ago and had published in a Philadelphia magazine called LaZer (1994). I’d completely forgotten about this personal reflection from my youthful … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

A Diminished Thing

On the last full day of summer, I experienced a somewhat inspirational event. It was a simple event but one that I could not have known earlier this year, prior to surgery on my spine in August. My brother and … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments