In the Realm of Fire and Ice: A Human and Natural History of Washington’s Cascade Mountains


A deep dive into the stories of people, plants, and animals of these beautiful mountains, which I hope helps people build deeper connections to place. (Publication Date: 2026)





Based on personal observations, field time, discussions with experts, and examination of historical and recent documents, In the Realm of Fire and Ice will be my interpretation of a unique set of environmental and historical conditions and opportunities; it is just one of many stories that could be written. Taking a deep time approach, I begin with geology, laying the groundwork for the rest of the book. I will then turn to the multi-millennia-long story of human history, exploring how people traveled, settled, exploited the natural resources, and found sustenance. For the natural history section, I will include species that allow me to address Native use of the landscape, climate change, and our changing relationship to wildlife. To conclude the book, I will tie together my central themes of connection, human usage, and hope, by turning to Mount St. Helens and the efforts to study it, recreate on it, and protect it.

I see each chapter essay as one piece of the broader puzzle, in which I plan to illuminate relationships between people and environment, past and present, and natural landscapes and altered ones. Woven through will be themes of how the Cascade Mountains impact the human and more-than-human residents; how our actions affect the Cascades and its inhabitants; and how a better understanding of the past can lead to better decisions about the future. I also plan wherever possible to tie in stories of the Indigenous inhabitants, as a way to explore long term relationships to place, plants, and animals and how those connections can provide hope and guidance in addressing the challenges the mountains face.

  • Chapter 1 – Geology: Young and Dangerous
  • Chapter 2 – In the Realm of Ice: Glaciers
  • Chapter 3 – Peopling the Passes: Human History
  • Chapter 4 – All that Glitters : Mining and Quarrying
  • Chapter 5 – Fire on the Mountain
  • Chapter 6 – One Great Holy Day: Huckleberries
  • Chapter 7 – Mineral Licks and Escape Routes: Mountain Goats
  • Chapter 8 – High Lakes Fishing
  • Chapter 9 – Birds of a Feather: Clark’s Nutcrackers
  • Chapter 10 – Carnivores: Wolverines
  • Chapter 11 – A Natural Laboratory: Mount St. Helens