John Riha


I was born and raised in Illinois. I migrated to the West several times and finally resolved to stay there, with the big mountains and clear rivers. I'm married to a beautiful, funny woman I don't deserve, and I'm a dad to two sons who certainly must have done something right in their previous lives to deserve such a generous, understanding, and doting father.

I’ve always been into writing, nature, and some form of carpentry. I grew up with lake houses, summer places where, as a small boy, I balanced my suburban life with a magical universe full of waves and seaweed and tadpoles and rowboats, and where all things that mattered existed.

Both my grandfathers were carpenters, and I inherited the gene, and have always been fascinated by wood and making things with my hands. I have built and remodeled houses but always have had a fondness for fine woodworking, for cabinet-making and furniture-building, for watching a single piece of raw wood become a thing of accomplished beauty.

In this capacity, as construction aficionado, I’ve built a career, and parlayed my building experiences into journalism. I’ve been an editor on several national magazines, and I’ve authored many books and articles on home improvement and maintenance.

One of the best things about the West is that it’s indescribable. Perhaps that’s what makes it so intriguing for the writer. The scale, the raw beauty, the promise.

Smashwords Interview

When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was about 2, but nobody could decipher my scribbles. I first thought about writing as a craft in high school. I wrote a poem in English class that I liked, and the teacher liked it, and I got hooked on the idea of stringing together words and sentences in fun and interesting ways.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It's a backpacking story for those who don't backpack, but veteran backpackers will appreciate it, too. It's about two people who have no business venturing into the wilderness who go ahead and venture into the wilderness. It's a true Dad and son story set on the Pacific Crest Trail in the magnificent Trinity Alps Wilderness of northern California. It's about moisture-wicking underwear, and cougars and Douglas-firs and the raw beauty of the American West.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find John Riha online


Rookies in the Wild
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 56,060. Language: English. Published: September 11, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Backpacking
(5.00 from 1 review)
A journey into the wilderness will reconstitute a lost soul. At least that's the theory. But when a newly unemployed dad decides to take his teenage son on a life-affirming backpacking trip along the Pacific Crest Trail, he unleashes deep-rooted fears of the unknown. Cougars, Bigfoot, and iliotibial syndrome are con-conspirators in this true comic misadventure set in the Trinity Alps Wilderness.

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