Kathleen Meyer is the author of the bestselling outdoor guide How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art, widely embraced by the outdoor community, with more than 2.5 million copies sold, in eight languages. And now in audio book. Her Rocky Mountain memoir Barefoot Hearted: A Wild Life Among Wildlife was published by Villard/Random House in 2001. Long the outdoor adventurer and nontraditional spirit, Kathleen early on chose—over housework—a life of rowing big rapids and driving draft horses cross-country, viewing the landscape from an inflatable raft or the seat of a hundred-year-old wagon.
         Born in Manhattan, the only child of a scientist and a librarian, Kathleen was raised on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. A water baby by nature, she acquired a passion as early as seven for racing catboat-class sailboats, Woodpussies. It all began near the New Jersey shore, on a mile-long peninsula jutting into the Shrewsbury River. The small neighborhood consisted of families from widely varied incomes—a diamond miner at one end, the Secretary of Labor at the other, and then there was Kathleen madly mowing expansive lawns to pay for her annual fifteen-dollar sailing club membership. She crewed every summer into her teens on the boats of more affluent neighbors. Later in life, in California, at a time when she worked with troubled adolescents, she succumbed to purchasing a stray New Jersey Woodpussy—the one she’d never had in her youth—and soon set sail onto the unpredictable currents of San Francisco Bay. Forever the purist (in this case, no motor), her first day out found her, with a handsome male acquaintance on board, becalmed and drifting with the tide into both the dark of night and the Richmond freighter channel—no lights on her boat, no flashlight to shine on the sail. Trapped for those long hours of terror in the open cockpit of a thirteen-foot boat, she remembers it now as the first time she needed to know how, on earth, to finesse bodily excretions with elegance.
         When a sophomore in high school, Kathleen moved with her parents, in an abrupt relocation across the country, to sprawling Los Angeles—a change that would leave an indelible mark on her sensibilities and as yet unimagined career as a writer. College years took her north to the Bay Area: Berkeley, San Francisco, and finally towns in Marin County, where she dallied for twenty-three years. She led wilderness trips for inner-city youth, and then, with a woman named Susan, started up a drywall taping company they dubbed (in lieu of the suggested Mud Hens)
O’ Holy Mud. They became renown as women in the trades, and taped, among other places, the Grateful Dead digs, the room where Star Wars was written, and Melvin Belli’s San Francisco penthouse.
          Kathleen’s days also remained full of the open air. She guided whitewater rafting trips all over the western U.S. and Canada and rolled across three Rocky Mountain states by horse and wagon. Her writing life first sprang from her river trips, in the era when backcountry regulations requiring the use of portable toilets and packing out human waste were barely getting started. She aimed to ease the embarrassment and awkwardness that city folks experienced in trying to squat in the wild, as well as to save favorite beaches from assaults of soiled diapers and toilet paper and to protect mountain streams from fecal pollution. Her instructive guidebook,
How to Shit in the Woods, now in its third edition—and in audio book—grew from a collection of graceless, laughable worst-ordeal stories, many of them her own.
          The author’s last relocation, from California to the rural town of Victor, Montana, supplied the grist for
Barefoot Hearted. She likes to describe the move as “running away with the circus”—after meeting a rakish actor and horseshoer, a member of the Caravan Stage Company, a Canadian theater troupe, touring (then) by means of thirteen Clydesdales and five brightly painted gypsy wagons. Garbed in her white painters’ overalls, well-splattered with drywall mud, she had stopped at the Belli Deli in San Rafael to snag a midday sandwich when she spied an antique medicine wagon and two huge feathery-footed horses—the tent-theater’s promotional act—parked across the street. A tall Irishman’s unwinding from under one of the sturdy drafts sparked the meeting that lead to covered wagon journeys and, eventually, to setting up marginal housekeeping in a seventy-five-year-old dairy barn inhabited by an assortment of wild critters. Barefoot Hearted is the tale of this adventurous Western living, reflected poignantly against the author’s ponderings on the increasingly harried survival of wildlife as small towns everywhere go to sprawl.
          Kathleen has been a conservationist and activist for more than forty years, focused for the most part on water politics and issues of urban sprawl. She was the founding editor of
Headwaters, an early publication of Friends of the River. For many years, she served on the board of Environmental Traveling Companions, an NPO offering wilderness trips to special needs people, and she is currently on the board of West Coast Rivers Alliance. Her travel essays have been included in the Travelers’ Tales anthologies A Woman’s Passion for Travel: More True Stories from a Woman’s World and Sand in My Bra: Funny Women Write from the Road. Her writing and photographs have also appeared in the Professional Farrier and Anvil Magazine.
          Working now as a freelance editor and Web site designer, Kathleen can be found at In the Woods Editing! (a page on this site) or at Rapid River Web Site Designs (find link also at the bottom of this page).
          Kathleen makes her home with Patrick McCarron in an old, rather unrestored, dairy barn in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana.
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Morning Journal
Wyoming Centennial Wagon Train, 1990
Photographer Unknown

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Kathleen in the Redwoods, 1989
Courtesy of San Francisco Examiner
Photo by Carolyn Cole

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Home Sweet Home

photo of kathleen meyer
Kathleen Meyer is the author of the international bestselling outdoor guide How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art that’s been widely embraced by the outdoor community, with more than 2.5 million copies sold, in seven languages. Her Rocky Mountain adventure memoir, Barefoot Hearted: A Wild Life Among Wildlife, was published by Random House in 2001. Always the outdoor adventurer and nontraditional spirit, Kathleen early on chose—over housework—a life of rowing big rapids and driving draft horses cross-country, viewing the landscape from an inflatable raft or the seat of a wagon.
Wyoming Centennial Wagon Train

Morning Journal
Wyoming Centennial Wagon Train, 1990
Photographer Unknown

Born in Manhattan, the only child of a librarian and a scientist, Kathleen was raised on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. A water baby by nature, she acquired a passion as early as seven for racing catboat-class sailboats. It all began in a small community on the New Jersey shore, a mile-long peninsula jutting into the Shrewsbury River, consisting of families from widely varied incomes—a diamond miner at one end, the Secretary of Labor at the other—where Kathleen enthusiastically mowed expansive lawns to pay for her sailing club membership and then crewed summers into her teens on the boats of more affluent neighbors. Later, in the West, at a time when she worked with troubled adolescents, she purchased a stray New Jersey catboat and tried sailing the unpredictable currents of San Francisco Bay. Forever the purist (in this case, no motor), her first day sailing, with a new male friend on board, found her becalmed and drifting with the tide both into the dark of night and the Richmond freighter channel—no lights on her boat, no flashlight to shine on the sail. Trapped for those long hours of terror with a strange new man in the open cockpit of a thirteen-foot boat, the day became the first she can remember needing advice about what, on earth, gracefully to do with bodily excretions.     
Kathleen
        When a sophomore in high school, Kathleen moved with her parents in an abrupt relocation across the country to sprawling Los Angeles—a change that left an indelible mark on her sensibilities and future career as an author. College years took her north to the Bay Area: Berkeley, San Francisco, and towns in Marin County where she dallied for twenty-three years. She led wilderness trips for inner-city youth, and then with a friend named Susan started up a drywall taping company called O’ Holy Mud. They became renown as women in the trades, and, among other places, taped the Grateful Dead digs, the room in which Star Wars was written, and Melvin Belli’s San Francisco penthouse.
          Kathleen’s days also remained full of the open air. She guided whitewater rafting trips all over the western U.S. and Canada and journeyed through three Rocky Mountain states by horse and covered wagon. Her writing life sprang at first from her river trips, in the days before backcountry regulations required the use of portable toilets or the packing out of human waste. Her aims were to ease the embarrassment and awkwardness experienced by city folks trying to squat in the wild, as well as to save her favorite beaches from the likes of used toilet paper and soiled diapers and to protect mountain streams from fecal pollution. Her instructive guidebook,
How to Shit in the Woods, which is now in its third edition—and in audio book—grew from a collection of laughable, graceless worst-ordeal stories, many of them her own.
S.F. Examiner photo of Kathleen by Carolyn Cole

Kathleen in the Redwoods, 1989
Courtesy of San Francisco Examiner
Photo by Carolyn Cole

         The author’s last relocation, from California to the rural town of Victor, Montana, supplies the grist for Barefoot Hearted. She likes to describe the move as “running away with the circus” after meeting a rakish actor and horseshoer, who was touring with a Canadian theater company traveling by means of thirteen Clydesdales and five brightly painted gypsy wagons. Wearing her white overalls, spattered with drywall mud, she had stopped at the Belli Deli in San Rafael to grab a midday sandwich when she spied the tent-theater’s promotional act—an antique medicine wagon and two feathery-footed horses—parked across the street. A tall Irishman’s unwinding from under one of the drafts, sparked the meeting that eventually lead to covered wagon journeys and setting up marginal housekeeping in a seventy-five-year-old dairy barn. Barefoot Hearted is the tale of this adventurous Western living, reflected poignantly against the author’s ponderings on the future of the West’s wildlife as small towns everywhere go to sprawl.        
Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

         Kathleen has been a conserva-tionist and activist for more than forty years, focused for the most part on earth’s water protection and issues of urban sprawl. In 1975, she became the founding editor of Headwaters, a publication of Friends of the River. Her travel essays have been included in the Travelers’ Tales anthologies A Woman’s Passion for Travel: More True Stories from a Woman’s World and Sand in My Bra: Funny Women Write from the Road. Her work has also appeared in the Professional Farrier and Anvil Magazine.
          Working now as a freelance editor and Web site designer, Kathleen can be found at
In the Woods Editing! (a page on this site) or at Rapid River Web Site Designs (find link also at the bottom of this page).
          Kathleen makes her home with Patrick McCarron in an old, rather unrestored, dairy barn in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana.
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© 2011 by Author Kathleen Meyer  •  All Rights Reserved 
Web site design by
RapidRiver.us

© 2011 by Author Kathleen Meyer  •  All Rights Reserved 
Web site design by
RapidRiver.us