Appalachia is a journal of wilderness, mountain, and river adventure and environment, published by the Appalachian Mountain Club and edited by Christine Woodside. 

We welcome narrative, historical, and science essays on the following topics: mountain, wilderness, and backcountry adventure; technical climbing; canoeing and kayaking; nature and climate change; and land ethics. We work far ahead and publish twice a year. We consider it our mission to encourage and work with new writers, as well as seasoned ones. The editor-in-chief solicits most lead feature stories several months ahead. 


Story proposals should reach the editor-in-chief eight months ahead of publication: April 1 for December publication, October 1 for June publication.

Manuscripts sent on speculation may arrive as late as seven months ahead of publication: May 1 for December publication, November 1 for June publication.

Letters to the editor, suggestions for obituaries in our “In Memoriam” section, and short items for our “News and Notes” section may arrive five months ahead: July 1 for December publication, January 1 for June publication.


Our philosophy is that articles should be as long as they should be. Most articles run between 1,000 and 3,000 words. Some measure as short at 500 words, and our longest are 5,000. Please double-space your document, use Times New Roman 12-point font, and send submissions electronically, if possible.


Photographs or drawings accompany most of our articles and are usually provided by the authors. We also publish a limited number of standalone photos that evoke the mountains, and we welcome high-quality freelance submissions.


Original poems about the above topics are also welcome. Shorter poems are preferred. Only eight poems are published per issue, which makes this the most competitive section of the journal; on average, one in 50 submissions is accepted. Send poems to the attention of Parkman Howe via the editor-in-chief.


All work is subject to editing. We make every effort to work cooperatively with authors in the early stages of production and to explain editing decisions. Deadlines usually make last-minute communication with authors impossible.


Enter the Waterman Fund Essay Contest by February 1

We invite emerging writers to submit personal essays between 2,000 and 3,000 words by February 1, 2019. The topic is…

Humor in the Wild

Maybe these scenarios sound familiar. You’re dripping sweat under that pack you've overloaded. You’re on an exposed ridge, the sky blackening, thunder rolling in. Your stove has malfunctioned. You’re forced to conclude you've gotten the whole party lost. Exhaustion, fear, stupidity: yet you’re surprised to find yourself laughing.

The mountain world can bring humor unexpectedly into our lives. Perhaps because the mere act of being in the mountains provides an antidote to the daily bombardment of the news cycle and the traumas of modern life. Perhaps because being in the mountains heightens all kinds of human experience. Perhaps because being in the mountains helps us to remember that life is full of the absurd and the unexpected. 

Does laughing, or just a bemused smile, bring us closer to wildness? Does humor bring us to the threshold of finding that mysterious something that often eludes us yet draws us into wild places? Is laughter a natural reaction to wildness—the wild within responding the wild outside? How and when does humor intersect with our experience of the wild?

Guy and Laura Waterman spent their lives exploring, living, and writing within the boundaries of culture and nature, and through our annual essay contest, the Waterman Fund seeks new voices on the role and place of wilderness in the modern world. 

This year we dedicate our contest to the memory of Hannah Taylor, a wilderness runner, Nordic ski coach, and the beloved sister of our essay contest coordinator and former winner, Bethany Taylor.

Essays will be accepted through February 1, 2019. The winning essayist will be awarded $1,500. The runner-up essayist will receive $500. Both will be published online and in Appalachia. Essay winners will be selected and announced by midsummer 2019.

For the purposes of this contest, an emerging writer is considered someone who has a solid writing background or interest but has not yet published a major work of prose on this topic or been featured in national publications. Send inquiries and submissions to You may also submit essays through

Appalachia Journal