Local North Bend guidebook author Tami Asars knows the backcountry intimately. So intimately that according to the ALDHA- West (American Long Distance Hiking Association- West), she just became one of less than 100 women since the organization began tracking data to complete one of hiking’s highest achievements, The Triple Crown.
The Triple Crown is awarded to individuals who have hiked the entirety of the three major long-distance trails in the US: the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) 2,650 miles, the Continental Divide (CDT) 3,028 miles, and the Appalachian Trail (AT)2,194 miles.
Asars hiked the PCT in 2016, the CDT in 2020 and in mid-November of this year, she completed the AT, which took her precisely four months. It was her most challenging thru-hike, thanks to obstacles such as weather & and sickness and the steepness and technicality of the terrain. “The trail wasn’t playing nice,” said Asars.
She experienced Hurricane Ian, Tropical Storm Nicole, and two large ice storms during the hike. “If the weather wasn’t enough, I also had the misfortune of contracting Covid, Norovirus and two colds .” Yet, she persevered, pushing past the discomfort and achieved her goal. “The east coast was beautiful, especially in autumn, but I have to admit, as a third-generation Washingtonian, the deciduous forests of the Appalachians felt a bit foreign to me,” she recounted.
In addition to the Triple Crown, Asars has hiked the Arizona Trail (807 miles), The Colorado Trail (567 miles), the Wonderland Trail (93 miles), the West Coast Trail (47 miles) and many others. Through her guidebook research and leisure time, she’s explored Washington’s backcountry extensively and knows nearly all Cascade trails by heart.
Asars was born in Bellingham and slowly started migrating southeast. When she was growing up in the late 70s and early 80s, her family enjoyed hiking and areas like Fragrance Lake, Lake Padden and the foothills near Mount Baker.
During high school in Marysville, WA, she started her writing career at the local newspaper but had strong ties to the eastside. Her Uncle lived in North Bend, and her best friend in Bellevue, so she often found herself driving eastbound for discovery and exploration.
When it came time to go to college in Seattle, she opted to live in Bellevue, where she’d be closer to the Snoqualmie Valley and Cascades. While in college, Asars would pack up her textbooks and hike up to the top of the then-uncrowded mountain peaks, where she found places quieter than libraries to study. It was so quiet the young college student would sometimes fall asleep on a summit, only to wake up covered in ants and goosebumps.
As a side job, during these busy years, Tami started her photography studio, complete with a dark room, and enjoyed portraiture of kids, families and weddings. While she enjoyed photographing people, wilderness settings were her true love, and she started focusing on capturing landscapes and wildlife. Soon, she shifted gears and sold outdoor-based photos to magazines and books for income.
Upon graduating, Tami began working in marketing at a high-tech firm, using her writing skills on customer case studies and promotional collateral. After several years, the company relocated across the country, but Asars decided not to move since the Northwest had always been home.
This decision led Tami to follow her heart into her passion for the outdoors, and she began working at Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI). She wore several career hats during her employment and won the Anderson Award in 2006, the company’s highest honor for achievement and core values.
Asars taught classes on many outdoor subjects, but hiking in Mount Rainier was her favorite, especially since she was a professional hiking guide within the park during the summer months. After teaching a popular class dedicated to the iconic Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier, she realized there was a need for a good guidebook. Hiking the Wonderland Trail (Mountaineer Books), her first guidebook was published in 2012.
Shortly before its publication, Asars began writing outdoor-focused material full-time. Today, she is the author of a Wonderland Trail smartphone app, Far Out Guides and four other hiking guidebooks published by Mountaineers Books; Day Hiking Mount Adams and Goat Rocks, Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Washington, Day Hiking Mount Rainier, 2nd Edition, and her latest Fall Color Hikes: Washington.
From Mountaineers Books:
“Fall color isn’t just for New England leaf peepers; hit these trails in autumn to see that the Evergreen State also explodes with vibrant reds and golds. In Fall Color Hikes: Washington, expert hiker and guidebook author Tami Asars shares the best hikes and drives for experiencing the full glory of fall color in Washington.
- 45 hiking routes with step-by-step directions, distance, difficulty, elevation gain, high point, and more
- Eight scenic drives with viewing points
- Full-color photos and topographic maps throughout
- Fall foliage photography guide to capture your own amazing images
- Tips for staying warm, safe, and dry when days are shorter and colder
Fall Color Hikes: Washington is the first comprehensive guide to all the most stunning displays of big-leaf maples, larches, cottonwoods, huckleberries, and more across the state.”
Asars is also a contributor and columnist for many magazines, outdoor resources and campaigns such as Alaska Airlines, Washington Magazine, Washington Trails Magazine, Mountaineer, and City Dog.
Fifteen years ago, Tami and her husband Vilnis purchased land in North Bend and built their home, which is nestled against Rattlesnake Ridge. Like most Snoqualmie Valley residents, wildlife is their ever-constant neighbor, and they frequently see deer, bears, elk, bobcats and the occasional mountain lion.
Since moving to the Snoqualmie Valley community, Asars has also enjoyed serving on the North Bend Parks Foundation Board in 2008 and as a North Bend Economic Development Commissioner from 2017-2020.
I read Fall Color Hikes: Washington in two sittings and highly recommend it. While I’m more of a novice hiker than Tami, I found the information about parking passes, safety tips for hiking during hunting season, and wildlife encounter advice extremely interesting and helpful. Tami’s pictures were beautiful and, like all Mountaineers Books, very informative.
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