top of page

Force of Nature:

A gripping adventure memoir enriched by vivid nature writing, Force of Nature will carry you along the John Muir Trail with “The Three Women.” Experience the terror of lightning at 11,000 feet, the joy of dancing among midnight moonshadows, and the triumph of standing atop mountains.

Force of Nature is available to purchase wherever books are sold.

It's now available in paperback, hardcover, ebook, and audiobook!

Listen to a sample chapter of the audiobook beautifully read by narrator Anna Crowe by clicking on the Amazon link below.

Three Women Tackle the John Muir Trail

What's it about?

Force of Nature is equal parts gripping adventure tale, personal memoir, and vivid nature writing.


Three friends, all over fifty, Joan, Cappy, and Jane set out to hike the 200-mile John Muir Trail—the “most beautiful long-distance trail in the world.” Right away, their adventure is complicated by the wild power of Mother Nature and several self-inflicted accidents. Then their journey is enriched when they “adopt” an inexperienced younger hiker whose partner takes off, abandoning her along the trail.


Together, the women experience the terror of lightning at eleven-thousand feet, the thrill of walking through a towering waterfall, and the joy of dancing among midnight moonshadows. For twenty-seven action-packed days, the women live immersed in vast natural beauty, struggle with the trail’s physical demands, and find camaraderie among an ensemble cast of eccentric trail characters. Finally, atop the 14,500-foot summit of Mount Whitney, the women celebrate the triumphant conclusion to their empowering and transformative journey.

Screen Shot 2023-08-04 at 9.47.09 PM.png

Cappy, Joan, and Jane

Praise for Force of Nature

"The author has a delightfully unconventional descriptive style that charms the reader from the outset... An inspiring, empowering memoir by a talented new author."

         —Kirkus Reviews

"Force of Nature is a tale of both physical endurance and a story of inner transformation and the enduring power of nature... a must-read for both adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers." Five-Star Review

          —Readers' Favorites Reviews


Force of Nature is like Wild meets A Walk in the Woods, where breathtaking adventure and humorous setbacks are the narratives nestled in a setting only Joan Griffin can put into words.

—Cam Torrens, Appalachian Trial thru-hiker and award-winning author of Stable and False Summit


“See the beauty, feel the pain, experience the magic.”

—Arnold Marsden, author of Muir Trail Magic and veteran of the John Muir Trail.


“Force of Nature puts Griffin in the league with the best writers of Sierran literature.”     

—Holly Bundock, writer, naturalist, and outdoorswoman


“Some people read about it. Others dream of it. Very few do it, and even fewer successfully write about it...”

—Joe Medeiros, retired national park ranger, John Muir Trail thru-hiker

and retired Editor-in-Chief, Sierra College Press


Force of Nature made me ache to get back on the trail.”

—Patricia Dove Miller, author of Bamboo Secrets

“Muir would herald Griffin’s enthusiasm for the wonders of the high country, as I do.”

—Mack Shaver, retired national park superintendent, park ranger, and John Muir Trail veteran


“Come along on the adventure of your life! Griffin’s eye for detail and understanding of what makes us strive will let you experience one of the nation’s most challenging trails as if you were there. 

—Dierdre Wolownick, author of The Sharp End of Life and the oldest woman to climb El Capitan


“Lace up your hiking boots! Let Griffin guide you over granite mountains, through thunderous storms and wildflower-studded meadows.”

—Barbara Olson Lawrence, artist and author of the forthcoming Drawing Water


“I could... feel the energy of the storms and the ache in my own muscles... Force of Nature took me right back to the backcountry trail and adventure that I love.”

—Jodi Santin O’Keefe, educator, outdoorswoman, and John Muir Trail thru-hiker


“Force of Nature captures... the challenges the women face and fears they conquer. They support each other, meet interesting characters and take us through their journey one step at a time.”

—Inga Aksamit, award-winning author of Highs and Lows on the John Muir Trail


“Three very different women pull together, cast aside their differences, and reach a difficult and elusive goal.”

—Bart O’Brien, peak climber with over 300 Sierra summits and pioneer of over 20 Sierra first ascents


“Through this journey of The Three Women, we see how Man... is uplifted and restored by the ‘hand of unbridled Nature’.”

—B.J. Griffin, first woman Superintendent of Yosemite National Park, retired, and Public Lands advocate

“A terrific Muir Trail memoir with wonderful descriptions of the trail’s majesty and the mental and physical challenges encountered along the way.”

—Ethan Gallogly, author of The Trail, an award-winning novel set on the John Muir Trail

bottom of page