(Andrea R. Lankford)
PERSONAL: Married. Education: University of Tennessee, Knoxville, graduated 1986.
ADDRESSES: Agent— Jeff Kellogg, Pavilion Literary Management, 660 Massachusetts Ave., Ste. 4, Boston, MA 02118. E-mail— [email protected]
CAREER: National Park Service, park ranger for twelve years.
(And photographer) Biking the Arizona Trail: The Complete Guide to Day-Riding and Thru-Biking, Westcliffe Publishers (Englewood, CO), 2002.
(And photographer) Biking the Grand Canyon Area, Westcliffe Publishers (Englewood, CO), 2003.
Haunted Hikes: Spine Tingling Tales and Trails from North America’s National Parks, Santa Monica Press (Santa Monica, CA), 2006.
SIDELIGHTS: Andrea Lankford spent twelve years as a ranger for the National Park Service enforcing laws, fighting fires, and practicing wilderness medicine in locations such as Cape Hatteras, Zion, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon. After leaving the Park Service, Lankford embarked on personal adventures that included hiking, kayaking, and mountain biking the Grand Canyon and the Arizona Trail, both of which touring adventures she recounts in her first two books.
In Haunted Hikes: Spine Tingling Tales and Trails from North America’s National Parks, Lankford highlights fifty hikes, each of which is associated with a true or spooky story, many of which involve murdered or missing persons. The true stories include bleeding trees, a lake that burps, and brain-eating amoebas. Library Journal contributor Susan Belsky described the volume as being a “guide for the morbidly curious.”
Lankford rates the fright factor of each story with from one to five skulls. Her curses, tales, and histories of people such as Charles Manson, who retreated to Death Valley, are contained in eight geographically themed chapters. Familiar legends such as Bigfoot and Sasquatch appear in various stories, but other lesser-known creatures like Florida’s Skunk Ape are also included. In a review for the RoadTrip America Web site, Megan Edwards wrote, “The book would be valuable for the maps and descriptions of routes alone, but the well-told tales add a fascinating dimension.... Enhanced with photographs and loaded with plenty of suggestions for further research and reading, Haunted Hikes is no mere guidebook. It’s a highly entertaining tapestry of stories that add a human (or inhuman) element to natural landscapes.”
Lankford told CA:“My time as a park ranger continues to be a major influence in my work. I loved having a job that allowed me to enjoy nature every day, but I quickly learned that life as a park ranger was not all waterfalls and sunsets. Yet, despite many search and rescue missions with tragic endings, I also see an odd, undeniable beauty in frightening things that occur in gorgeous landscapes, such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Yellowstone. Haunted Hikes was my first attempt to share my passion for the stories behind the scenery in our national parks.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Library Journal, August 1, 2006, Susan Belsky, review of Haunted Hikes: Spine Tingling Tales and Trails from North America’s National Parks, p. 110.
Andrea Lankford Home Page, http://www.hauntedhiker.com (December 12, 2006).
eTorch (University of Tennessee), http://pr.tennessee.edu/etorch/ (December 12, 2006), review of Haunted Hikes.
RoadTrip America, http://www.roadtripamerica.com/ (October 8, 2006), Megan Edwards, review of Haunted Hikes.