A little bit about me


KayTurnbaugh-4wI am the author of the Willa literary award-winning The Last of the Wild West Cowgirls, a project I began after I sold the newspaper I owned for 27 years in Nederland, Colorado. I had written several articles about Goldie Griffith, one of Nederland’s more notorious former residents, through the years, but didn’t realize what a true character Goldie was until I started writing a book about the cowgirl’s life.

I used some of the same research from the cowgirl book in writing Around Nederland. With some previously unpublished historic photos, Around Nederland traces the history of the Nederland area through three boom and bust cycles.

Living in the Rocky Mountains surrounded by millions of mountain pine beetles was the inspiration for The Mountain Pine Beetle—Tiny but Mighty, a book for children ages 8 to 12. Pine beetles have attacked some of the trees in my yard, and I’ve been taking pictures of the beetles and the damage they cause for years. David Brooks contributed the wonderfully zany illustrations that complement the photos and text.

turnbaugh-hiking-2In 2014, my friend Alan Apt asked if I would be interested in helping him with an update to his hiking guide, Afoot & Afield: Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, and Rocky Mountain National Park. The result of our collaboration was published in June 2015 and includes 184 (whew!) trails, photos, and maps.

Rocky Mountain National Park Dining Room Girl: The Summer of 1926 at the Horseshoe Inn, another collaborative effort, also came out in 2015, just in time for the Park’s 100th birthday. The book includes letters and journal entries from co-author Lee Tillotson’s great aunt, who traveled from Iowa after graduation from college to work at the Horseshoe Inn, one of the long-gone lodges in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a rainy summer, and she had plenty of time to hike, ride horses, and explore the new Park. Lee and I found lots of old photos and maps, and included some history of the Horseshoe Inn as seen through the eyes of an adventurous young woman.

What do I do when I’m not writing or researching my next magazine article or book? Hiking, skiing, biking, gardening, painting, and pottery compete for my free time. Which doesn’t leave much time for house cleaning–thank goodness!