From the Publisher, No. 1

Welcome to American West. I hope this magazine finds you somewhere special along your journey in this great region.

This magazine is for every explorer and will be a road map – literally and figuratively – of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Our inaugural issue – with the prominent special section “Where in the West Should I Go?” – will look at 52 places you should travel in 2022. That’s four places for each state in our coverage area, a synchronistic one per week if you’re looking to really pound the pavement next year.

That Winter 2022 issue will hit mailboxes and newsstands by early January, and we’re already in the process of creating it. I’m currently building a freelance team of writers, photographers and designers that can help American West grow and live up to its mission of making a better West by connecting people to the region. With your readership, membership and partnership, I know we can make it happen.

I’m a native Detroiter who first visited the West at age 15, on a mighty three-week road trip with my dad. We took I-90 from Chicago all the way to Seattle, making a few stops along the way at Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore and the Little Bighorn Battlefield.

We visited family in and around his native Olympia and scooted down through Oregon and the slice of California where Mt. Shasta is prominent for so many miles. We headed through Reno en route to Las Vegas, taking the same U.S. Route 95 I’d be on a decade later – on a stormy night in a tow truck with my RV and entire life hitched behind me (a story for another time). 

After experiencing that famous desert heat on The Strip in August, we ventured off to Hoover Dam and then onto the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We did all the first-time Grand Canyon stuff – from camping at Mather Campground to taking pictures on cliffs that had “do not enter” signs posted years later when I returned.

Publisher Matt Harding in August 2008 and May 2018.

Against all the (reasonable) recommendations, we hiked Bright Angel Trail almost all the way to the Colorado River – and back up – in a single day. 

I didn’t quite realize it at the time, but that’s when I fell in love with the American West… somewhere between Indian Garden and Devil’s Corkscrew, probably taking a rest at Bright Angel Creek.

Nearly eight years later, a fresh college grad, the West finally answered my calls. I got a job at the Yuma Sun as their business reporter, also covering county and city government during my year-and-two-month stint there. Since that year (2016), I’ve made good on my promise to visit Grand Canyon annually.

In that time, I’ve also moved to Los Angeles (twice) and lived in an RV, traveling up to Washington and back from Las Vegas in my 1990 Fleetwood Jamboree Rallye – a somewhat reliable clunker that is now parked on a small piece of high desert land near Mojave, California.

As I write this, I’m plotting my next move, heading to Arizona once more. But this magazine will surely have me on the road in the meantime and once I get there – to places I’ve been and places I haven’t.

I’m enamored with the West. As much as I love traveling in general, this region is the most special to me. If you’re reading this, you probably feel the same way.

Whether you’re traveling by foot, by car, by van, by RV, by horse, by sailboat, by train, by plane, by skateboard, or by Elon Musk’s underground hyperloop if you’re seeing this in the future, you have a home at American West. Welcome!

Please check out this website, consider becoming an early subscriber or advertiser, and email me anytime at publisher@americanwestmagazine.com.

-Matthew Harding, Publisher

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