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Cassandra Kircher

Now available!
PB 978-1-946684-94-3
eBook 978-1-946684-95-0

In Place Series



Cassandra Kircher was in her twenties when she was hired by the National Park Service, landing a life that allowed her to reinvent herself. For four years she collected entrance fees and worked in the dispatch office before being assigned as the first woman to patrol an isolated backcountry district of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. There, Kircher encountered wonder and beauty, accidents and death. Although she always suspected the mountains might captivate her, she didn’t realize that her adopted landscape would give her strength to confront where she was from—both the Midwest that Willa Cather fans will recognize, and a childhood filled with problems and secrets.

Divided and defined by geographic and psychological space, Far Flung begins in the Rockies but broadens its focus as Kircher negotiates places as distant as Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, Russia’s Siberian valleys, and Wisconsin’s lake country, always with Colorado as a heartfelt pivot. These thirteen essays depict a woman coming to terms with her adoration for the wilds of the West and will resonate with all of us longing to better understand ourselves and our relationships to the places and people we love most.


I.   Near

A Portrait of My Father in Three Places                                                 

Someone Else Dies                                                                                  

There’s an Old Dump Below Lawn Lake                                                

Backcountry Trash (and Other Important Considerations)                     

Over Mummy Pass                                                                                  

When I Leave                                                                                           

Going to Die                                                                                            

II.  Far

     On Not Marrying a Ranger                                                                       

     No More to the Lake                                                                                 

     Driving to Russia                                                                                      

     My Father and I Take a Vacation                                                             

     Oxford Through the Looking Glass                                                         

     Visiting the Iditarod Champ   


Cassandra Kircher is a professor of English at Elon University. She studied nonfiction at the University of Iowa, and her essays have received awards including a Pushcart nomination and Best American Essays citation. She was the first woman stationed in Rocky Mountain National Park’s remote North Fork subdistrict.


“This bold, jaunty narrative travels to unexpected places and tangos with unanticipated obsessions. I can easily imagine Kircher’s book shelved alongside contemporary place-based work by Ana Maria Spagna, Blair Braverman, and Cheryl Strayed.”
Elena Passarello, author of Animals Strike Curious Poses

"Intimate and moving essays on nature, family, and adventures in the wild."
Foreword Reviews

"In a voice as clear and compelling as a tumbling mountain stream, Cassandra Kircher writes of family, landscape, and the deep and sometimes mystical ways in which we are bound to the land and bound to each other. This book is an intimate, meditative journey into the human heart, with no shortage of adventures along the way."
Kristen Iversen, author of Full Body Burden: Growing up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats