An October Hike with Tom Hinckley!

If those first whiffs of fall have been intoxicating to you, then make sure to sign up for a full-on autumn immersion this October when Professor Emeritus Tom Hinckley leads one of his famous alumni hikes into the Methow Valley!

Methow Valley

What awaits you in the Methow Valley this October!

On Saturday, October 5, and Sunday, October 6, Hinckley is planning to gather up to 20 folks for two days of trekking. Depending on the weather, interest and ability levels, he’ll select from a range of hikes focused on Rainy and Washington passes, Cutthroat Lake and Pass, Hart’s Pass, Goat Peak and a few other options, with the goal of finding reasonable weather and subalpine larch.

For those responding early, Hinckley is offering space for about eight hikers at a house very near the Mazama Country Inn . There are two bedrooms with queen-sized beds, plus a loft with a fold-down bed and several thick sleeping pads (enough space, he found this past May, to fit eight students). The house has a large balcony and porch, and full food services and showers will be available.

You don’t have to stay there to join the fun, and faculty, staff and students are also welcome to take part. So if you’re interested in joining the hike or would like more information, contact Hinckley at hinckley@uw.edu or call 206.525.1396.

Photo © Tom Hinckley.

SEFS Students March into the Methow Valley

Two weekends ago, a group of eight SEFS students headed out to the Methow Valley, north of Lake Chelan in eastern Washington, for two days of focused field study with Professor Emeritus Tom Hinckley.

Methow Valley

Students coring a Ponderosa Pine.

Helping to lead the course (ESRM 491B) were two SEFS alumni: Susan Prichard, a fire and landscape ecologist stationed in Winthrop, and Connie Mehmel, a forest entomologist with the U.S. Forest Service at the Forest Insect and Disease Service Center in Wenatchee. Prichard and Mehmel worked with the students to understand eastside forest dynamics and the roles that climate, introduced and native insects and diseases, fire and fire suppression have on forests—from the stand to the landscape level. Students contrasted an unmanaged stand with a stand undergoing a recent forest restoration prescription, and how these two different stands would have different vulnerabilities to fire, insects and pathogens.

The next day, students met with Brian Fisher of the Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation to learn about riparian systems and human impacts (positive and negative) on these systems.

It was the first time Hinckley had organized this particular field trip, which he offered as an offshoot of his long-running “Spring Comes to the Cascades” course. The crew drove out late Friday afternoon and returned Sunday evening, and the goal was to focus more intensively and comprehensively on one study area.

“Usually, when I do field trips and we’re out walking, we don’t ever stay in one place for more than 20 minutes,” says Hinckley. “But we stayed in this one location for close to four hours. We cored trees, looked at the soil, measured and identified all the trees and seedlings, and identified all the coverage of the understory plants. Students really gained some firsthand knowledge in how to do a study.”

The class represented a wide range of backgrounds and majors, as well as undergrads and graduate students. Depending on their feedback, Hinckley says there’s potential to expand the course in the future, or to venture to new regions of the state—such as the North Cascades Base Camp.

Photo © Tom Hinckley.