The afterlife of trees

Terry Thomas / news@postregister.com This fallen tree is already in an advanced state of decay. As it recycles back into the soil, it adds nitrogen and other nutrients and helps retain water. Terry Thomas / news@postregister.com

The smoke choking our valleys reminds me that it has been 29 years since much of Yellowstone National Park burned in the fires of 1988. Since then, we have had major forest fires in every western state, leaving thousands of blackened acres.

A heady game on Wolf’s Head peak

Jerry Painter climbs along the Piton Pitch of Wolf's Head in the Cirque of the Towers in Wyoming's Wind River Range on Friday. Although the climbing was generally not difficult, the exposure to heights was off the charts. (Photo by Tanner Pursley)

I was leading the third pitch on Friday of the famous Wolf’s Head peak found high in the Cirque of the Towers in Wyoming’s Wind River Range when I made a mistake.

Mount St. Helens Monument scientist leaves legacy

When Peter Frenzen first came to Mount St. Helens after its 1980 eruption, this expanse of the upper Toutle Valley was barren. Despite his hundreds of trips to the blast area, he still marvels at how much nature has rebounded. Bill Wagner / The (Longview) Daily News

LONGVIEW, Wash. — Peter Frenzen has worked at Mount St. Helens for 35 years, yet he still lights up talking about the mountain.

Paradise found in the Sawtooth mountains

From left, Curtis Hoffman and Levi Painter are high on the slopes of Alpine Peak above Sawtooth Lake in central Idaho on Aug. 12. The pair were climbing to the summit of the peak on a smoky morning. (Jerry Painter photo)

A couple of weeks ago the Painters were holding a family reunion in the Stanley Basin area of central Idaho. Of course, hikes were involved.

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