In this exhilarating work, Barbara Hurd explores some of the most extraordinary places on earth, from sacred caves in India to secret caves in Arizona. With passionately informed prose, Hurd makes these strange dark spaces come to light, illuminating the natural history and spiritual territory of caves as powerfully as Kathleen Norris portrayed the Dakotas. Entering the Stone provides an awe-inducing tour through a fragile and beautiful subterranean world.


“In this profound and beautifully written exploration of caves and caving, Barbara Hurd describes not only her initiation into the stony earth but also the full range of human depths.  Geology and spiritual discovery in this book are one, the evolution of Hurd’s knowledge of stalactites and sightless cave fish inseparable from her encounter with fear and mystery, invisibility and intimacy, Eros and grief, life and death.  Entering the Stone is a masterpiece of the interior world.”
--Jane Hirshfield

“Hurd chronicles her experiences in these dark spaces and her intertwining journeys into fear, loss, intimacy and spirituality. Along the way, she opens our eyes to the beauty and fragility of this subterranean world.”
--The Nature Conservancy

“Here was an outdoorswoman who also thinks; a naturalist who, back indoors, reads and then writes.”  
--The Sun

“Reading Entering the Stone is not unlike exploring a cave system.  The layout may be unclear. Some quarters may be confined. But then, unexpectedly, a seemingly unconnected chamber will converge with other passages and you find yourself in an expansive space and feel you’ve encountered something enlightening.”
--The New York Times Book Review

“This is not a sensationalist adventure story but rather a sometimes mystical journey of discovery into the hidden recesses of the mind.”
--Library Journal

An “exquisite meditation on caves and their peculiar power. . . .While plenty of writers have navigated this territory before, Entering the Stone seems destined to stand out among books on spelunking. There is a natural link between caves and the stalactite-covered hollows of the human heart, which Hurd plays up with elegant restraint.”

--Seattle Post-Intelligencer