Exploring Nature

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Recommended Nature Reads

The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and it's clear that spring is upon us once again. The rhythms of nature bring comfort during difficult times, and remind us that in spite of everything the world keeps turning.  Read more…

Did You Know? Washington's Wildflowers

We know spring has arrived in the northwest when the crocuses worm their violet heads and long green bodies out of the dirt every March, a harbinger of brighter days. Our walks to work and school are dotted by blasting spring rains, and hikers slowly start to fill the trails again as snow melts and our forests become plump with moss and ferns. Read more…

Adventure Wellness Weekend at Meany Lodge: June 5-7

The Mountaineers would like to welcome you to our first annual Adventure Wellness Weekend! Sponsored by the Foothills Branch Trail Running Committee and located at Meany Lodge, the weekend hosts a multitude of activities designed to allow participants to experience nature in a new way. You can forage for wild plants to eat or grow at home, hike at night, try yoga in natural settings, and more! Read more…

Trip Report: A First Snowshoe

"Oh, good," said Steve, our instructor, "now you can practice getting up after a fall." Read more…

Citizen Science: White-Tailed Ptarmigan, Ghost Birds of the Winter Cascades

Washington is a haven for birders, and yet we still have huge gaps in our understanding of some of our most iconic wildlife. Take the White-tailed Ptarmigan for example. Many of you have likely spotted ptarmigan in the Cascades in their summer plumage, blending in with their rocky alpine habitat, but reports of these beautiful birds in their all-white winter plumage are few and far between. As a result, our knowledge of White-tailed Ptarmigan winter habitats in the Pacific Northwest are meager. Read more…

Becoming a Commuter Naturalist

A shadow darkens the window – a heartbeat of dim sunlight. I look up to see a large bird, a raptor, glide against the sky, wings stretched wide to catch a breeze. Squinting against the light, I catch the distinctive white head and tail before the eagle flicks a few feathers, banks right, and disappears. The train continues racing north to home while my gaze falls back to the shoreline looking for birds and animals, my little time with nature on my commute. Read more…

Outdoor Leadership: Everyone Has A Place in the Mountains

Forest McBrian is an IFMGA Mountain Guide with over 15 years of experience in the mountains. Among his many notable achievements, in 2017, Forest and his partner Trevor Kostanich embarked on a 34-day ski traverse from Snoqualmie Pass to Canada. Forest instructs for the American Mountain Guide Association, and guides throughout the Pacific Northwest. Read more…

We Are Puget Sound

 The following is excerpted from  We Are Puget Sound, a new book from Mountaineers Books conservation imprint, Braided River.  We Are Puget Sound highlights the ways in which we are affected by and dependent on this body of water—the beating heart of the region. Read more…

Trail Talk: Better than the 10 Essentials, Pack Plenty of Knowledge on Your Next Hike

One of the biggest highlights of my career as an outdoors writer so far was being flown to Los Angeles last spring for a TV shoot on the Weather Channel’s SOS How to Survive. The program is hosted by Creek Stewart, a nationally renowned survival instructor and author. Each episode of SOS How to Survive spotlights true life stories involving folks who have dealt with life-threatening situations (often in the wilderness) interjected with segments on survival tips and skills. Read more…

Exploring Swift Creek and the Lake Ann Trail at Mount Baker

"See that ledge that runs to the right from Lower Curtis Glacier?” Stewart pointed to the far slope behind him. “That is the intersection of two terranes. Shuksan greenschist is above the line, and Darrington phyllite is below it. A thrust fault runs between them." Stewart (his geology training evident), stood in front of us, pointing at diagrams in his notebook and then the cliff. We had stopped for lunch near Lake Ann. I stood off to the side, letting him talk. He teaches several courses for The Mountaineers, and I’d hoped he’d come on my trip. He could master this geology that I’d found so confusing. We’d seen so much thanks to him. Read more…