The History of Pika Works

About Pika Works

Late 1970's

Howard first read about pikas in Finis Mitchell's book Wind River Trails. Howard began to photograph them as long as they stood still and didn't make him wait too long.

Joan soon became fascinated by pikas when one surprised her in the Wind River Range of Wyoming. Howard said, "That's a pika!" Her love for the bashful pikas and bold colors inspired her to paint watercolors from photos taken where the pikas live.

Paul met his first pika the next year in the Canadian Rockies when he and Joan dreamed about creating a story about Pika Pete and Mike the Marmot.

Early 2000's

Howard has been planning backpacking trips to pika country for twenty years. He has photographed flowers, pikas, marmots, mountain goats and many others. He is the Chief Pika Works Ambassador.

Joan established Pika Works in 1998 to tell the world about these charming creatures and to help busy people keep in touch with their friends. She also felt compelled to do something with the hundreds of photos she'd taken of pikas and their neighbors.

Paul designs web pages professionally, climbs and hikes in the mountains, and has photographs on his own web site.

Update 2007

Howard now plans trips to Italy - especially the wonderful Dolomite Mountains several hours north of Venice. Howard spends most of his time helping men facing advanced prostate cancer through his web site and related discussion group at

Paul continues his web site business at He travels and takes photographs as often as possible.

Joan has expanded her critter repertoire way beyond the tiny pika all the while keeping the precious pika at the center of things. There are no pikas in Italy, although pika fossils have been found on the island of Corsica off the coast of France. Marmots, ibex, and chamois live in the Italian Alps. Friendly dogs wander the mountain trails. Cows and horses are happy to pose for photos as we walk through their mountain pastures. Magnificent wild critters reside in the zoos in Italy and the U.S.

Joan prefers to paint with acrylics and sells prints as well as cards at art shows and galleries. Molly Moose, Geraldine Giraffe, and the Zany Zebra are the critters that people love the best. Joan also does commissioned work for people who want their dogs or other animals painted in her style.

What's Happening in 2020

Joan's world expanded even farther afield after Howard sadly succumbed to his prostate cancer in 2010. She traveled to Kenya on a safari in 2011 and has returned there numerous times to photograph elephants, giraffes, lions, zebra and so many other animals. She anxiously awaits the passing of the pandemic so that she may return to Kenya. She has also photographed many animals in Costa Rica, Wyoming, Colorado and Vermont. Last year she visited Churchill in Canada to photograph the polar bears as they readied to head out on the Hudson Bay in search of seals. During this horrible pandemic she has photographed great horned owls, bald eagles, kingbirds and ruby throated hummingbirds close to home. When the air clears and the world returns to normal, hopefully she will venture to some new places in the world.

A wee whimsey by Joan MacKenzie

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