Meet Michael Holmquist: Conquering Wilderness and Nutrition with SeaBear

Meet Michael Holmquist: Conquering Wilderness and Nutrition with SeaBear

You've got to meet Michael Holmquist! We always love talking with interesting people all across the country who use SeaBear, to hear their stories and understand better how our products fit into their compelling lives.  But our conversation with Michael, of Lake Stevens, Washington has been one of our very favorites.


Michael, 29, is into extreme backcountry hiking expeditions and photography.  He grew up inspired to be an outdoor education teacher, because of his love and passion for the great outdoors.  He was later was able to combine that passion with a burgeoning love for photography, and today earns his living as a photographer based in the Pacific Northwest mountains.  In addition to the great outdoors and photography, Michael cherishes family, travel, and his doggies.


We asked Michael, of all his many outdoor adventures, to describe a hike about which he is particularly passionate.  He shared with us his adventures as a Caretaker for the Three Fingers Lookout, in the Boulder River Wilderness, off the Mountain Loop Highway, north of Lake Stevens.


The Hike to Three Fingers Lookout

This lookout – built in 1930 and now listed on the National Register of Historical Places – sits at almost 6,800 feet above sea level and provides breathtaking views of Mt. Baker to the North, Mt. Rainier to the South, the North Cascades to the East, the Olympics to the west, and on a clear sunny day, Seattle!  Michael’s seven years of caretaker work on the lookout is as part of the Friends of Three Fingers Lookout nonprofit, and in partnership with the Darrington Ranger District. Michael made 4 work party trips to the lookout in the summer of 2023, helping repaint it, replace the roof, build a new door, and much more.  And, through this work he has also been able to meet hikers from all over the world, sharing with them an education on the lookout and the region.




“It starts with a 2 hour bike ride, all uphill.  Then, we hike another 8 miles with an elevation change of 6,000 feet.  The final half mile requires mountain climbing equipment and expertise. Typically takes 8-10 hours to get to the top of the lookout.  It’s on lots of hiker’s bucket list, but it is definitely not for the faint of heart.”  Michael tells us on these extreme hikes to the lookout, he’s typically carrying 25-30lbs of gear, food and beverages for what will be a 3 day adventure (longer if they are doing a lot of work).


Up to 5 or 6 lucky hikers can sleep in the lookout – first come, first served so they need to get going early in the morning!  But the reward, according to Michael, is worth all the effort.  “The adventure.  The freedom.  The amazing, WOW views.  It is easy to understand why people all over the world travel to do this hike.”





Fueling Up For Success

We talked with Michael about the nutrition needed to do the kind of backcountry hiking which he loves.  “Our bodies need fuel, and not just fuel but the right fuel.  That’s true whether you are an extreme hiker like me or a weekend warrior enjoying an out and back.   My foods outweigh everything else in my pack.”  Michael follows a set formula, for long 7 day+ adventures or a weekend hike.  “I target an intake of 60% carbs, 20% fats, 20% proteins.  It’s a little different for everyone, but I find this best based on my pace, which tends to be fast.”




Michael further shared his thoughts on when during his hikes to focus on the various types of nutrients.  “Carbs are your best friend, they break down way, way faster than fats or proteins. My intake tends to be 100-240 calories of carbs (30-60g of carb loaded foods) per hour. If you don’t digest it fast enough, its worse for you, not better.  Carbs break down faster.  So, I’ll typically save proteins and fats for prolonged breaks and lunch / dinner.  Those extended rest periods give time to refuel properly, time to digest, and importantly not get lethargic --- you don’t want to feel sick right before setting off on the next part of your hike.” 


When enjoying those critical carbs, he has a lot of favorite go-to items:  dried fruits, oats, bars, candy, sports drinks, cookies.   In addition to the nutritional value, Michael calls out how carb-rich foods are usually lighter and almost all non-perishable, perfect for packing on a long, challenging hike. 


SeaBear On The Trail


 We love, of course, that Michael is a fan of SeaBear Ready To Eat wild seafood, in our TakeAnywhere pouch, as part of his protein plan.  His favorites are the Sockeye Salmon, Salmon Bellies, and Idaho Trout.  “Lightweight. flat/super compact and easily packable. Quick and easy, full of flavor. They pack very good nutrients for what you are doing. Easy and ready to go all by themselves, but you can also add a twist to make them your own. Make them into a meal with bread, chips, tortillas, cheese (all things that are also flat and easy to pack).  Before you know it you have a quesadilla or sandwich for an exquisite meal in the backcountry.”  




Over the years we’ve heard from our customers that SeaBear Ready To Eat has been up to the top of Mount Everest, up and down the Pacific Crest Trail, and part of many other great outdoor adventures.  But we particularly loved hearing Michael describe his adventures right here in our home state of Washington, on a very challenging hike that attracts visitors from across the globe.


What's next for Michael? He's got lots of interesting hikes planned for this spring and summer, and we're thrilled he plans to take SeaBear Ready To Eat pouches along. Michael also shared with us he is very much looking forward to also taking some SeaBear Smoked Salmon Jerky on upcoming hikes as another great source of protein, along with much-needed salt.