Jeff Ryan, Author & Speaker

Behind the Ranges

Something hidden. Go and Find it. Go and look behind the Ranges — Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you. Go!

Rudyard Kipling

In the course of writing my latest book, I have had a number of experiences that qualify as those that don’t happen in the normal course of events. Some of them have made me question whether I was writing from my own brain or whether I was guided by a force much wiser and greater than my humble operating system.

In one case, I discovered that a character I created from whole cloth lived a life that closely followed the path of a real person I wouldn’t even know about until months after I wrote about him. In another, with no information other than a name to go on. I “imagined” what a woman in my book looked like, only to later find out that there was one surviving photo of her after all. You guessed it, her appearance was just as I’d described, right down to her long, dark hair being pinned up in the back.

These aren’t the only “coincidences” that have happened to me while seeking out stories and adventures that are “lost behind the Ranges” as Kipling said. 

How is it that precisely when my 1985 Vanagon stalled in Sedona, Arizona and wouldn’t start that the next vehicle on the scene was another 1985 Vanagon owner that knew what was wrong? Or how is it that when my parents and me sat down to eat at a restaurant in St. Paul that the people seated across from us just moved to the Midwest after selling a house they’d purchased from my folks in Wellesley, Massachusetts twenty-two years before, having never seen each other before or since? 

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A good friend has told me that, “these things don’t happen if we stay hunkered down behind our keyboards” (or within self-imposed limited realms of thought for that matter). They only happen if we are willing to go off in search of something hidden and waiting for us.

Jeffrey H Ryan is an author, adventurer, photographer and historian. He has written several books about his outdoor exploits, his fascination with hiking trails and the people and places found just off the beaten path. His debut book, Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year hike on America's trail was hailed by the former Executive Editor of National Geographic as "a classic of nature and travel writing" and set off a national tour (in a 1985 VW camper, no less). His books are known for weaving a deep appreciation for history into walks across contemporary landscapes that give readers the feeling they are hiking right alongside. When Jeff isn't trekking, chasing down a great story or spinning yarns from his keyboard, he enjoys sharing his adventures with audiences who love the outdoors. He spends much of his time in his beloved native state of Maine.


  • Joe
    June 28, 2019

    Thanks Jeff,
    I have had numerous events as you have discribed and never had a venue to discuss them . I beleave that they are going on constantly around us . If we only take the time to really experience the Moment.


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