Hi! My name is Mike. I’ve explored the west in earnest for over 25 years now. My experience runs the recreational gamut: from hiking to rock climbing, backpacking, mountaineering, caving, canyoneering, occasional mountain biking, nature photography, and even just setting up a camp chair on a pullout to watch the stars and hear the elk bugle. Having been there, I understand the viewpoint of those who like to play in wild places. But as an amateur natural historian, I also like to observe how nature works and delight in the small moments – a coyote calling, the sound of wind swirling around crags, ripples in a mountain pond, or rain drops dripping off pine needles after a shower. Anymore, as more crowds come west to have fun, as more trails are beaten into pristine areas, as wildlife is pushed to more remote locales, it seems that recreation can’t work hand-in-hand with the natural world – but it can, with just a few changes to how we approach outdoor recreation.
I love sharing nature with others, but beyond just bringing them to beautiful places. I love to challenge people to look deep into nature, to seek grandiosity in both the awe-inspiring and the sublime, to read the story of the landscape and find their place in it.
Nature isn’t an abstract concept that lives outside of cities in protected wilderness areas. The entire world is one integrated whole where actions in one part of the planet – even a place we wouldn’t call “nature”, like a city – cause reactions in another. People separate themselves from nature, and in a sense have lost respect for life outside of the confines of their homes and offices. They no longer see themselves as born from and part of nature. I hope to change that.
This blog explores these themes, specific to the western United States. Anyone who spends serious time exploring the mountains, canyons and basins of the west learn that it is alive, and we are part of that life. By looking at living creatures and plants we see our reflection, and discover that we are truly related to all living beings on Earth.
This blog tells stories from the landscape, of natural history being made. They are told through photographs, journeys and descriptions of the small and large details of life, from the tiniest of tundra flowers to vast herds of elk. We’ll also share how humans are impacting the land, including people who don’t know they are impacting – many who come to visit and recreate in the forests and deserts and peaks of the west.
So come join me as we explore the Living West!