The Heart of Tracking Book

by Richard Vacha

Heart of Tracking

Originally published in recurring dispatches for a small town newspaper, this collection of essays by noted California naturalist Richard Vacha reads like a delighted field journal, full of insights into the mystic, sensory, and nearly-forgotten world of animal tracking.

Through a series of outings, Vacha traverses the prismatic experience of tracking and brings it to our level. Practical investigations of signs and tracks draw close to the lives of all the animals in his landscape, including bobcats, badgers, skunks, coyotes, and one particular vulture.

With a spontaneous energy, Vacha’s essays reveal the practice of asking sacred questions and the process of stripping down to your senses in order to enter this primal awareness.

The Heart of Tracking comes to life with illustrations by artist Kayta Plescia.

Paperback, 224 pages.


The best piece of nature writing that I’ve seen in years.

“The Heart of Tracking “draws on ancient skills to reconnect us to our neighbors, namely the variety of animals that run, shamble, trudge, slither, stalk, and sometimes even dance unseen in the world around us. This book, reverent but without the usual pieties, is the best piece of nature writing that I’ve seen in years.
—MALCOLM MARGOLIN, author of “The Ohlone Way” and founder of Heyday Books

Taken together, Richard Vacha’s essays form a beautiful argument for a kind of listening that completely refigures the self and its relationship to the environment. But even before you step outside, just the experience of reading Vacha’s writing will slow you down and invite you into a refreshing new mindset.
—JENNY ODELL, author of “How to Do Nothing

Like Annie Dillard collecting visions of Roanoke Valley, Richard Vacha brings Point Reyes to the page in all its trembling, subtle, and secret glory.
—STEPHEN SPARKS, co-owner of Point Reyes Books