Year In Review
was another very good hiking year. I was on the trail for 97 trips
covering 868 miles with 237,000' of elevation gain. It was my sixth
consecutive year with over 800 miles and my eleventh consecutive year
over 700 miles. It was also my thirteenth consecutive year with over
200,000' of elevation gain. After 34 1/2 years of consistent hiking I
have not yet burned out. I had another year of mid week headlamp hikes
in the winter, spring and fall. As usual, I had a number of
hikes and quite a few with a variety of other hikers.
I aim for at least 10 new trails each year. I just made it with 11.
That is a little misleading though as our five day backpacking trip in
the Olympic Mountains was all on a variety of new trails. Several were
new trails off of ones previously hiked. Most were completely new
areas. All added up, I have hiked well over 150 new trails since this
website began. That started after more than 20 years of continuous
hiking. It gets harder to find new trails within day hiking distance
but I seem to have not run out yet.
My website has grown to over 660 trip reports and nearly 20,500
photos. I added another 46 new reports with photos. That was a little
less than the previous few years. The site is now 13 3/4 years old.
It's hard to believe I have been putting up trip reports weekly for
nearly 14 years.
I do not set a specific goal for miles, elevation, summits, or nights
out backpacking each year. I just get out as often as possible. The one
exception is trying to reach 10,000' of elevation gain each month. This
is just an ongoing goal. If I do that it means I'm getting out often
and staying in good shape. In August I reached 120 consecutive months.
Ten years without a miss. The streak is now at 124 months and counting.
Well enough of the old stuff. It's time to get down to a month by month
review. This adds a little more info for trip planning compared to just
reading my hiking log. Now it's time to get started with January of
This was the winter that wasn't. We had so little snow that I managed
only two combo snowshoe/cross country ski trips. High summits were
reached on dirt trails. However, the year did begin with a real snow
hike. Gwen joined me on the first day of the new year for a hike up Mt.
Pilchuck. The parking lot was
completely snow covered. The entire trail was on snow. A nice solid
trench made it easy to hike without snowshoes. A nice sunny winter day.
One of few. After three close in hikes I joined Gwen again for one half
of my winter snowshoe/ski trips. Honest to goodness fresh snow made for
a good trip up Smithbrook
Road. Things changed rapidly
after that trip. I did a long trip up Mt.
Teneriffe. I took the road
turned to trail route both ways. Lots of solitude. It was a short
sleeves day in January. 60 degrees and almost no snow. A precursor of
what was coming. On the last day of the month Gwen and I hiked up Mt.
Defiance. There should have been snow in the parking lot. There was
little at over 5000'. Not even the 12th Man Flag on the summit could
will the Seahawks to the Super Bowl championship a week later. I got
off to a great start in January with 76 miles and 22,300' of elevation
month began with a second trip up Clear Creek to Squire
Creek Pass. Only a few patches
of snow where there should have been five feet or more. Total solitude.
Next Gwen suggested a trip that should never be possible in February.
Mt. Townsend is 6280'. The trailhead is reached after miles of high
elevation road driving. Not a problem this year. We took a route I had
not done and had only a little snow on the summit. Amazing... As long
as we were having spring in February why not a trip on the east side of
the Cascades? Gary and I hiked the Icicle
Ridge Trail out of Leavenworth.
Thick ice in the parking lot then bare trail for miles. We did climb
high enough to find some snow. Next was a trip to Beckler
Peak. 5000' on top? Of course we
did not need snowshoes. We met a real crowd on this trip. We ended the
month with a trip that should have been snowed in until June. It turned
out to be a fun hike on West
Cady Ridge. We had bare trail
coming up then well compacted snow on the ridge top. A great sunny
winter day. For February I totaled just 52 miles but 18,800' gained.
month began with my second and last snowshoe/ski trip. Gary and I
headed to Mazama
Ridge on Mt. Rainier. Some
trails were rock hard ice and we did find some good snow on the ridge
top. Yet another sunny winter day. Next I took care of some unfinished
business. In 2009
I did a long logging road hike looking for an old lookout sight on
Haystack Ridge high above Sultan. I took a wrong turn and ended up
falling short on a 17 mile day. This
time I made all the right turns
and reached the lookout site on an 18 mile day. Next came a rare snowy
hike. Gwen and I headed to the Teanaway Valley for a trip up Mary Peak.
Deep snow turned us around below the summit. We stayed low on a hike to
up the Greenwater River. My first visit in 20 years. I finished the
month with a close in hike on Cougar
Mountain. I saw a lot of spring
flowers which were out very early in the year. March had the lowest
elevation gain of the year. I totaled 61 miles with 13,800' gained.
Kim joined me for a trip to Ashland
Lakes. A little fresh snow and
wildflowers. I headed east for a long walk on the Iron
Horse grade. A good but not
great wildflower display. I headed east again to Umtanum
Ridge for my first visit in nine
years. A very good wildflower display including hedgehog cacti in
bloom. April totaled 74 miles with 15,500'.
Another Teanaway trip came next. Elbow
provides a great mountain viewpoint. It should have been a snowy trip.
It was mostly on dirt. One constant each year is at least one visit to Rainbow
Lake. Usually on a hot day. This
time I brushed the abandoned trail down to Blazer Lake. I have hiked
numerous times on Blanchard Hill south of Bellingham. This time I
headed a little farther north to Chuckanut
Mountain. I made a 12 mile loop
trip. I will be back. A weekend trip to Darrington provided two days
worth of trails. First was Peek-a-boo
Lake. I tried it in 1989 and
lost the trail in snow. This time I made it to the lake. No snow at
all. The next day I made a first visit to the Harold
Engles Trail and NF Sauk. I had
one more trip in May. A return to the Tired
Creek - Waptus Pass Loop. My
last visit was in 2004. May turned out to be the second biggest month
of the year. I hiked 90 miles with 21,200'.
The first trip was something new. Gwen and Kim joined me for a trip up
an old abandoned trail to West
Beckler Peak. Remnants of the
old lookout and a view of crowds on East Beckler Peak. As expected, we
saw nobody on the trail. Next came another favorite trip. The Iron
- Bean Peaks Loop. I had nearly
total solitude all around the loop. Blue sky, views, and good
wildflowers. One of the more spectacular trips was
up to Hidden
Lake Lookout. Only my second
visit. Great views on a very hot day. Plenty of wildflowers in bloom
too. June had the fewest miles hiked. The totals were only 51 miles
second half of the year began with an overnight backpacking trip with
Gwen to Scorpion
Mountain & Joan Lake. My
second visit to Scorpion and first to the lake. Another blazing hot
trip. Gary and John joined me for a 5 day loop backpacking trip to the Olympic
Mountains. Too hot then rainy
and a terrific trip overall. I had previously hiked only one short
trail section. It was so hot on my next hike that I reached Lake 22,
hiked around it, and made it back down by 10:55 am. I joined Kim for an
overnight trip to Lake
Dorothy. We also visited Bear
& Deer Lakes. July had the most miles hiked and elevation
gained. I totaled 104 miles with 25,700'.
It was over 90 degrees when I visited Heather
Lake. I spent most of the day in
the shade. There is a theme here somewhere. I joined Gwen for my second
visit to Mt. Pugh.
All the fires meant we had very poor and smoky views from the summit.
It is a fun scramble. It had been 12 years since my first visit. I
spent a good part of August and early September chronicling the
construction of a new 200' long bridge
on Tiger Mountain. I made a
dozen visits and put together a report with over 100 annotated photos.
It was quite a job. A trip to Crystal
Lakes was cut short and ended
with another trip to the bridge site. The thick smoke chased us down
from the lakes. August totaled 80 miles with 24,400'.
have hiked to the Kendall
Katwalk & Ridge Lake
many times. This time I decided to go farther down the PCT. It made for
a 15 mile day. I met a number of PCT through hikers. This was a year of
return hikes after long breaks. My second visit to Shriner
Peak was on another very hot
day. Great fall leaf colors was the highlight. It had been 13 years
since my first visit. More fall leaf colors and a few larch starting to
turn color at Iron
Bear & Jester Peaks. Kim
and Gwen were along on this one. The year ended with my larch trip of
the year. The weekend crowds at Ingalls
Lake at larch time are
overwhelming. I took a day off with Gary to spend a day without the
crowds. Mission accomplished. We had a great time. For the month I
totaled 80 miles with 23,800'
I started the month with a first time hike up the new Mailbox Peak
Trail. It is much longer but easier on the knees coming down. Only my
third visit ever. The first was in 1989 before it was "discovered".
Late October was time for one last Teanaway hike. I joined Janet
& Steve for a hike up Iron Peak
via Eldorado Creek. A cold day with some snow fall on the summit ridge.
I ended the month with a Mountain Loop Highway trip with three short
River was first. It rained most
of the day. The rivers were near flood level. I hiked 75 miles with
Gwen and I did a close in hike at Taylor
Mountain. My third visit. Half
of the trails I hiked for the first time. I put up a rare trip report
Mountain. There was enough snow
to make it photogenic. Gwen and I hiked up Mt. Baldy.
It was cold, clear, with lots of icicles. The snow was well
consolidated making for easy travel. It looked like winter up high.The
month ended with a 3 day vacation to Long
Beach, WA. Most of the state was
in a smoggy inversion. Kim, Jonathan, and I had clear sky and cold. A
little hiking and lots of photos. For November the totals were 62 miles
Kim and I hiked the Wallace
Falls - Lake Loop. We checked
out the new bridge to future Reiter Trails. I'll be back to scout those
soon. Just a little snow and another clear cut along the upper road
section. For just the second time I did a hike on Christmas Day. This
one was on Tiger Mountain. Enough snow to make Tiger Mountain look
beautiful. Just like every year but one in since 1983, I ended the year
with a hike on Tiger Mountain. This was a one way trip. Blue sky and
lots of snow up high. One of the best Tiger hikes I have done. The year
ended with 63 miles and 15,300'.
My Top 10 Trips
02. Ingalls Lake
03. Hidden Lake
07. Mazama Ridge