Andrea Ross

"What will this world be like now that the earth seems to have cracked open?"


Living through the huge Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 prompted me to ask that question, and it launched me on a journey of searching for my biological family, hoping to uncover my identity. 


And I did it while I was working as a wilderness guide throughout the American West.


My book, Unnatural Selection: A Memoir of Adoption and Wilderness tells the story of what happened next.


These uncertain times make it seem like our world has cracked open--

We are all launching on a new journey, one that requires us to take stock of who we are and what we can do to make the world, and ourselves, more whole.


As a writer and speaker, I explore how outdoor experiences and adventures can enrich our sense of identity and wholeness.


Shadow on Concrete Wall

Andrea Ross, Writer


Unnatural Selection:

A Memoir of Adoption

and Wilderness

“...everyone has family secrets, truths we squint at through obfuscated

hints...the finding of hidden stories is the work of becoming humanly whole."

  --from the Foreword by Miriam Peskowitz


"Beautifully written. A must read!

--Nancy Verrier, author of The Primal Wound and Coming Home to Self


"Read this for the stories of wild places and wild people and, in the end,

the moving story of family."

--David Gessner, author of Leave It As It Is: A Journey Through Theodore

Roosevelt’s American Wilderness



Andrea Ross

writes essays, creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. She formerly worked as a National Park Service ranger and wilderness guide throughout the American West. As an adopted person, she is passionate about bringing to light the experiences of adopted people. She teaches writing at the University of California, Davis.

Shadow on Concrete Wall




In Print:




"At Upper Ribbon Falls,"

and "Bessie's Honeymoon, 1928,"

Going Down Grand: Poems from the Canyon, Lithic Press

(Read a review  here)

"Earthworm," Wormculture

“Ode to Beauty,” Guide to the Putah-Cache Bioregion


In Print:

Breaching,” Mountain Gazette, July 2003

“Backwater in July,” Mountain Gazette, June 2003

“Dams,” The Café Review, Vol. 12, Autumn 2001

“Natural Disasters,” Manzanita Literary Journal, October 2001

“Raven-Watcher,” The Boatman’s Quarterly Review, Fall 2001

"Grand Canyon Life Zones,” Blueline, vol. xix. Fall 1998





Andrea's podcast debut on The Dirtbag Diaries