Walker Abel lives at a remote off-grid home in the Yolla Bolly Mountains of northern California. As an undergraduate at University of California, Santa Cruz, in the mid-70's, he participated in an environmental studies field program called Sierra Institute. Twelve years later (1988), after completing a graduate program with ecopsychology pioneer Robert Greenway, he came back to teach for Sierra Institute, which he did for 28 years, while also taking on the role of director in 2003. In 2015, the Sierra Institute closed its doors after 41 years of programming.
Retirement has allowed Walker to give more attention to writing. Most of his poetry was first recorded in field journals while out on Sierra Institute academic programs, which were 9 weeks long and entirely taught during a series of backpacking trips. It was not unusual for Walker to teach three programs a year, amounting to a total of up to 6 months in the backcountry. One of his greatest joys was watching each new group of students open over time to the transformative influence of wilderness immersion.
Walker has practiced Zen with Roshis John Tarrant and David Weinstein of Pacific Zen Institute, and he is currently a student of Roshi Teja Bell of Qigong Dharma.