Mountaineer Magazine

All posts

Western Bluebirds - A Reintroduction

Prairie savannas dotted with Garry oak trees — the only native oak species in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia — used to be common throughout the Puget trough, including the San Juan Islands. As human development and Douglas fir have encroached, this unique ecosystem has shrunk to less than five percent of its historic range in this area, and birds like the Western bluebird, that need open spaces, have disappeared along with it.  Read more…

Secret Rainier: Hidden Lake, Palisades and a Skull

This installment of Our Secret Rainier is technically a scramble as it has a portion that is off-trail. But it is a very easy scramble and most experienced hikers would be very comfortable on this route (so long as they had good route finding skills). The route goes by a lovely hidden lake and goes to the top of the Palisades where there are great views of The Big One. Along the way, one finds the mysterious Skull of Marcus.  Read more…

National Trails Day - Celebrating the Trails We Love

I’ve been a member of The Mountaineers since 2002, when I joined to meet other outdoor enthusiasts and learn about hikes in the area. Since then I’ve explored many of our local trails year-round.  Read more…

Summer Conditioning: Push ups and Superman

You put in some time to train during the winter and spring to get ready for this amazing season that we have each year: summer. But what happens when it finally arrives? Do you continue to train? Ideally, yes.  Read more…

The Return of the Fisher

With their luxurious dark brown coats, fishers were irresistible to trappers in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. Their pelts brought a good price. By the late 20th century, none of these large members of the weasel family could be found in Washington State. Trapping and loss of their forest habitat led to their disappearance. In 1998, although fishers still could be found in neighboring states and other regions, Washington declared fishers endangered. Read more…

Big Dreams - A Journey Along the PCT

June 6, 2013: As the plane swooped over brown hillsides and stucco homes with tile roofs, I realized how very far from Washington State I was. I stared east, where clouds and ridges loomed faint and low on the horizon. I remembered the last time I was here, eight years younger and vastly inexperienced. I had faced the same distance, but this time I knew the extent of the land that sprawled between me and Washington, which had become my home. I already felt the pull of the mountains I knew like friends, and the people I loved.  Read more…

A Mountaineers Romance Story - Glen Strachan and Tatiana Sikora

Glen: We met the day after Thanksgiving on a Seattle Mountaineers hike to Green Lake on the northwest side of Mount Rainier. There were 10 hikers on the trip and I struck up a conversation with the Polish American blond woman with a charming accent and dynamic smile. Tatiana was the bright spot in the crowd of hard-core hikers. We discovered that we had common interests besides hiking – other outdoor activities, travel, cultural events, dancing, serving others, and our faith. We also had similar degrees in geosciences. At the end of the hike, we exchanged cards and shortly after, scheduled our first date at Starbucks in December, 2013. If we both had not gone on this hike organized by the Mountaineers, we likely would have never met. Read more…

Climbing Mount St. Helens for Moms - A Pacific Northwest Tradition

Nearly 33-years ago, on a balmy spring Saturday in Whitefish, Montana, my mom was 41-weeks pregnant and mowing the lawn. As I would be in life, I was stubborn in birth and had made myself quite cozy in her belly for an extra week. The doctor told my mother that being active would hurry me along and the lawn needed attention, so she was mowing when the contractions finally started on Saturday afternoon. I was born 16-hours later at 5:26 am on Sunday, May 13. It was Mother’s Day. Read more…

Pay It Forward by Giving Back

I often head to the backcountry to escape the madness of civilization. In nature, I see order, purpose, and reason. In cities, I often see chaos, confusion, and conflict. There’s nothing like a walk in the woods to rejuvenate a tired, tormented and tried soul. There’s nothing too like an invigorating hike to help validate my existence and place in the world. And while I need the natural world for my sanity and sanctity; the natural world very much needs me and other like-minded folks to help keep it from being compromised, abused, and lost forever. Read more…

Change

Flying back from San Francisco recently, our route took us directly over Mount Shasta. I looked down right onto the top of the brown peak, speckled with a few snowfields. I still remember when it was the snow covered obelisk, glistening, beckoning, forbidding against a blue horizon. The snowpack is dwindling, the glaciers disappearing. The old volcano is changing. Again.  Read more…