About Paul McHugh

Award-Winning Author

Paul McHugh is the author of DEADLINES (winner of Best Mystery from the National Indie Excellence Awards and from the Bay Area Independent Publishers), a political thriller THE BLIND POOL, the forthcoming SPLINTER – and journalism features as well as works of nonfiction.

McHugh was born at the height of Hurricane King (his dad piled rocks into a Jeep to add weight so it would keep on the road while driving his mom to the hospital) and grew up near the Everglades and Florida Keys. His early life deeply immersed in the natural realm was next parlayed into renown as an outdoor writer and author.

At Point Reyes National Seashore

From 1985 to 2007 McHugh edited the Outdoors Section of the San Francisco Chronicle. His prize-winning stories ran in all sections of the paper, including reports on abuse of public lands and organizations that were published as front-page investigative series. Paul’s features on a broad array of topics have also run in The New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury-News, as well as other magazines and journals.

He hasn’t only written about those who pursue adventure, but leapt aboard that chase himself. His physical exploits include: membership on the first U.S. National Kayak Surf Team as it won a world championship in Ireland; heli-skiing off the crest of the Rockies and ski mountaineering summits in the Cascades; rock climbing in Yosemite; leading a team of kayakers on a 400-mile sea-voyage from Oregon to San Francisco Bay; running marathons; plus making Class-V oar and paddle voyages down whitewater rivers – especially running 276 miles of the Colorado through the Grand Canyon to celebrate his 50th birthday.

Paul’s work includes: a pair of video documentaries produced for PBS, “The Eel, Life of a Threatened River” (1982) and “Return of the Desert Bighorn” (1984);  “The Search for Goodbye-to-Rains” (1980, Island Press); “Wild Places – 20 Journeys into the North American Outdoors” (1996, Foghorn Press); “The Islands of San Francisco Bay” (2006, photographer James Martin published, McHugh supplied primary text); and “Alcatraz – the Official Guide” (2007, The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy).

McHugh was a regular commenter on environment and sport issues on live-TV at KRON, channel 4 in San Francisco (1994-5); he gave keynote addresses at the Trails and Greenways Conference (2007), the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute annual dinner (2009); and gave a series of visiting writer lectures at U.C. Davis (2010). In addition, besides stints of community theater, McHugh has mounted solo performance of original oratory at: the Mark Twain Cultural Center at Lake Tahoe; the Art Center in Gualala; the Siskiyou Mountain Foundation in Mount Shasta; and the Solano Library Foundation in Fairfield.

On the summit of White Mountain Peak

Since he considers our wide and wild world his school, and he’s still present and studying hard, McHugh does not yet consider himself a graduate. However, he did win a bachelor’s degree in English from Florida State University, with an emphasis on poetry and a minor in Psychology (Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa).