Laughingwater Ink

I read, I write, and I explore.

My writing encompasses not only where to hike in amazing open spaces and national parks, but also stories about the creation of these parks and the people who have lived in them and loved them.

These days I also spend a lot of time in a room full of books surrounded by children. A circle has closed in that sense. I started writing when I was in elementary school, so to be a school librarian feels like a homecoming.

As a writer, reader, and wanderer, my life’s work feels like a long walk in a spectacular labyrinth of story. I’ll keep you posted on the story unfolding around the next bend.

2020 NOBA Winner

2020 National Outdoor Book Award Winner

Outdoor Adventure Guidebooks

Hiking Lassen Volcanic National Park (3rd ed)

About the Author

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, I started writing articles for local newspapers in Marin County’s Ross Valley when I was a teen. I continued to publish while earning a bachelor’s in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, where I also took journalism and creative writing courses.

In Colorado, I worked as a reporter and editor for a local newspaper. Backcountry skiing, backpacking, mountain biking, and summiting Fourteeners crystalized a love of outdoor adventure that had its genesis in the hills above my hometown of Fairfax, California.

My metamorphosis into a guidebook writer took place at Chockstone Press, then the premier publisher of rock climbing guides. After twin sons Jesse and Cruz were born, I began writing guides to hikes suitable for families, which became the 12 Short Hikes series. When Chockstone moved under the wing of Falcon Publishing, I moved with it, and have since published more than 20 FalconGuides to destinations in California and Colorado. Jesse, Cruz, and their younger brother, Penn, accompanied me on much of my research.

In addition to FalconGuides, I’ve also published books of essays focused on national parks with Lyons Press. These include Historic Yosemite National Park, Historic Denali National Park and Preserve, Death in Mount Rainier National Park, and Search and Rescue Alaska. Taking these deep dives into history, park lore, and SAR have not only broadened my skill set as a writer, but piqued my curiosity. I’ve got a couple of projects in the works that follow this format. You can sample these essays by visiting my blog page.

And though 2020 was a difficult year on many fronts, it had a brilliant highlight: The third edition of Hiking Lassen Volcanic National Park was named the National Outdoor Book Award winner in the Outdoor Adventure Guide category. Lassen is my heart park and the award was validation for me as a writer. That I can express my love of place with my words in a way that reaches people, and moves them, makes me very happy. I’m proud to have done right by the park and by my craft.

Now based back in California, I continue to write stories and opinion columns for local newspapers, including the Kenwood Press, the Sonoma Index-Tribune, the Sonoma Sun, and the Pulitzer-Prize winning Santa Rosa Press Democrat. I’ve worked as an editor for a number of online investing and life sciences newsletters and magazines, as well as for Globe Pequot Press (now part of Rowman & Littlefield). I’ve become the librarian at Altimira Middle School in Sonoma. And in my spare time (ha!) I’m pursuing a dream of also becoming a novelist.

My guidebooks are available online through,,, and other online booksellers. The titles are also available at bookshops and outdoor retailers. Happy trails, and happy reading!


Shy no more: I’ve got stories to tell. Tales from the trails, from the places I’ve been and places I love, about my people, about fire and resilience, about home, and about things I’ve decided to make up. I’ve broken them into categories, hoping it’ll be easier to find what you’d like to read. Thanks for indulging me and please enjoy.

Best Books about Wild People Doing Wild Things in Wild Places

I was asked by Ben at, a fabulous new website that helps people search for books on subjects they love by people who’ve read and written in those realms, to create a blog entry. You can access the whole thing at, but here’s a sampling. Who am I? I’ve always wanted to write, …

We Remember You: Notes from the Eldridge Cemetery

Unless you read the signs, you might not know it’s there. The Eldridge Cemetery, stretching from Orchard Road down to the broom-choked banks of Mill Creek on the former Sonoma Developmental Center campus, resembles parkland more than a burial ground. Its wrought-iron gates appear to open onto nothing more than a gentle, grassy slope, scattered …


Tracy Salcedo
Writer / Editor


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