Steve at the WildeBeat profiles Ranger Laurel Boyers, who is retiring from Yosemite National Park after 31 years at the beginning of October. Boyers’ specialty has been patrolling the backcountry (which constitutes 95 percent of Yosemite). From the script:

STEVE: So of all those places you were posted back there, if you were going to get to retire to one and live there, which one would you choose?

LAUREL BOYERS: I’d choose them all! I just did my swan song of a sort, and took a trip where I went from Wawona, all the way up through Tuolumne Meadows, taking some of my favorite routes, all the way to that furthest northeast part, and then back down to Hetchy, so rode the entire length of the park. It takes ten days to ride across this park, which is quite interesting. That’s not trying to make it longer, or whatever. And I think that’s quite an important part of the wildness of this park, to think that you do have to cross a road once, you’ve got to cross the Tioga Road. But, Aldo Leopold said that wilderness should be big enough to take a week long pack trip. And lo and behold, in Yosemite it takes ten days, at least, to cross it, which is pretty exciting to me.

Steve asked me to do some poking around online to find interesting tidbits on Boyers. One gem: She’s described as “the heart and soul” of Anna Pigeon, the protagonist of a series of spy novels by the author Nevada Barr, a former park ranger who sets all her novels in the national parks.

Not sure which is cooler, getting to hike and camp for a living or inspiring a series of detective yarns.