Bellevue-resident Tiare Vincent didn’t always climb mountains, hike canyons, and manage a social media community of more than 41,000 people. She used to be a party girl.
“I didn’t know anything between getting off-work-happy-hours which turned into evenings. So it came to a point where I needed to cut the drinking because I wasn’t living a life,” Vincent said.
To help cut the drinking and change the direction of her life, Vincent turned to hiking. Starting small and local, she discovered that the more she hiked, the simpler her life became. “You know when you’re young and your parents take you outdoors and you’re just so happy? That came out again,” she said.
After a year of hiking and exploring the Cascade Mountains right in her backyard, she felt a strong desire to share how getting outside changed her life for the better. In February 2015, she started Choose Mountains as a way to connect with other like-minded outdoors people, and to inspire others to take hold of their own lives and make a positive change.
“I believe sharing our stories brings us closer together on a more authentic level and creates a community, and that’s what it’s done,” she said.
Through Choose Mountains, Vincent offers branded shirts, hats, and decals. And through social media, Vincent encourages her followers and fans to share why they choose to be outside, whether it’s mountains, canyons, or rock walls.
“We all have different stories. Maybe mine was getting sober and finding my life outside, but there’s so many other stories that we live, and that’s what I wanted to hear,” Vincent said. “It almost inspires people who are living the way that person used to live, to maybe make that change. It’s crazy to see how much we all have changed in the process.”
We chatted with Vincent about her favorite hikes and more:
Do you prefer to hike with people or by yourself?
It depends. On weekends I like to go with people; it’s the only time I really get to see people, and during the week if I get off early I’ll go by myself. If I’m going through rough times I like to be alone, but sometimes I like to be there to talk about that with others, because it’s amazing how you can share what you’re going through and by the end, you feel so much better. I like both.
What is your favorite weekday hike?
Mason Lake, off the Ira Spring trail. It’s my favorite because it’s close to where I live and it’s beautiful.
What would be your advice for someone who thinks they can’t climb mountains?
Screw that. There’s so many hikes under a certain amount of miles. Stay on easy paths, choose the popular hikes at first, and it is amazing how quickly that changes to the next level. When I first started, it was Rattlesnake Ledge and the easy maintained trails where you just need tennis shoes.
What is your favorite outdoor experience?
Climbing Mount Baker. It was a bluebird. You start climbing at 12:30 a.m., and the mountain was glowing blue. We’re walking up, far away from the person in front of you and far away from the person in back of you. And I have a lot of things going through my mind since it’s a good amount of time alone just following the rope. I was thinking in my head, “God, I’m so lucky. I’m so lucky that I am here right now compared to where I used to be.” I just remember getting to the top of that and looking around and seeing Rainier and Adams and every other peak as the sun is rising and just bawling my eyes out. That is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.