Year In Review
Most hiking years are similar.
Winter may have more or less snow and so more or less snow trips.
Summer can have long lasting forest fire smoke that affects trips. Some
years I get in quite a few backpacking trips and some years few if any.
2020 was different in one very big way. The worst pandemic in a
century. By March trips to the mountains were temporarily off limits.
For all of the year I avoided trips where there would be big crowds. I
had zero backpacking trips. Throw in a total remodel of my rental unit
after 29 years. That took up a lot of time. Getting to 800 miles and
200,000' of elevation gain was a struggle all year long. The lockdown
came in late March. For the next month the longest drive I made to
start hiking was 3 miles. Long ago I set what I count as a hike as
outside the cities. Green Lake and Discovery Park have never counted.
This year I made a temporary change. City hiking was all I could do so
for now I'm counting it. It was challenging to get in at least 10,000'
of gain when the highest point I could reach was 450' above sea level.
By the end of April I was getting out of town. Mostly along I-90,
especially on Tiger Mountain. We managed a few trips to the east side
of the Cascades. As the population has increased considerably the past
decade hiking has become more popular. Trails are much more crowded.
The pandemic shut down most of the places people can go in the cities.
The outdoors became one of the only places folks could go. The crowding
was a bit crazy. Especially when anyone you passed could have the
virus. For group hikes we all drove separately and we maintained some
distance even though outdoors was much safer than indoors. It was
challenging to find places to hike that were not crowded. That
eliminated most hikes along the highways. I hiked lesser used trails in
the Issaquah Alps, the Chuckanuts up north, and a variety of logging
roads with few people and lots of room to pass at a distance.
With a lot of late in the year effort I managed to hike 838 miles with
205,200' of elevation gain. Those are the lowest numbers in a
while. Lowest elevation gain in 12 years. Still I did manage to reach
Somehow I did manage to find quite a bit of solitude. As mentioned I
avoided many great trails but I did avoid crowds. For example big
elevation gain hikes like Mt. Si, Mailbox Peak, and Granite Mountain
were crowded. Even more than before this year. I did two hikes up Mt.
Teneriffe via the old road turned trail. 13 miles with 4400' of gain it
is a long route. There is a much shorter and steeper route via the
falls. By taking the long route I avoided the crowds. I also did Mt. Si
via the Teneriffe Road and saw few people.
This website continues to grow. I added 44 new trip reports
with photos this year. It
now has 915 trip reports
photos. I added 1,430 photos, an average of 32.5 per report. I went
over 900 trip reports and 30,000 photos this year. Speaking of numbers,
I also went over 24,000 recorded hiking miles this year.
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. My streak is now at 184 months and counting.
That is well over 15 years.
This was the eleventh year I joined Gary, John, and David doing
hikes from October to April. The difference is that after work hikes
ended with the pandemic in March. Gary injured his leg in summer and
was not ready to pick up the evening hiking until late in the year.
Last year I only did one backpacking trip. This year I did none. That
was a big disappointment. I hope to get back to it later this year.
Being under 65 I will not be getting the virus vaccine until summer but
backpacking should be part of the plan later in the year.
I aim for at least 10 new trails or trail sections per year. I almost
always get it. Not this year. I did 3 new trails. I did do a number of
in city hikes for the first time.
Well, enough of the old stuff. It's time to get down to a month by
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
I hiked 8 days in January. All of them were between Cougar
Mountain and Highway 18. Two were headlamp hikes. Only two warranted
trip reports. The first trip of the year was to East Tiger Mountain.
The first trip report was for another trip to East Tiger Mountain.
Next, Janet joined me for a snowshoe trip
Head. My second and last trip report was for an 11 mile loop on Cougar Mountain.
Lots of rain meant big waterfalls. For the month I
hiked 70 miles with 17,600' of elevation gain.
February I had seven trips with trip reports. Three of them had trip
reports. First trip report was for Chuckanut Mountain.
Gary and John joined me for a loop including the Rock Trail. Next was a
trip east of the Cascades to the WF Teanaway Valley. Gary and I took
skis and snowshoes. My one first time hike of the year was to Cheese and Bible Rocks
on skis. After than we changed to snowshoes for a treck up to the
valley ridge. The last trip report was for a 10 mile South Tiger
Circuit hike. All the other hikes were on Tiger Mountain.
For the month I hiked 59 miles
with 16,900' of gain.
This month started
with a plane trip to California. On the return trip 70% of seats were
empty as word of the pandemic spread. I had four Tiger hikes and two
Rattlesnake Mountain ones. Five hikes had trip reports. One was to East Tiger
again. Next was to Grand Prospect
and the summit of West Rattlesnake. I had fresh snow on a trip to Poo Poo Point
from Sunset Way. Fearing a stay at home order John and I did a
long 17 mile hike up West Rattlesnake via Highway 18. I wanted a long
hike if the mountains would be off limits. A few days later the stay at
home order was issued. My last hike was my first of many in city hikes
from my house to Northgate and
Green Lake. I hiked 6 days this month 59
miles with 12,000' of gain. My lowest elevation gain month of the year.
My 10 trips in April were the most of the year. The first 9
close to my home. Four trips rated trip reports. The first was to the
highest point in my area. I made 3 traverses up and over Queen
Hill and back. From near Seattle Pacific University to near the
Center. The highest point is only about 450' and I managed 11 miles
with 2000' of elevation gain. Gwen joined me for another Queen Anne
hike. The first time I had seen anyone in several weeks. Next I drove a
full 3 miles to Llandover Woods
Park. I hiked to Carkeek Park and twice around a loop. It was 13
miles with 1800' of gain. I ended the month with a snow hike off I-90 Exit 38.
Gary and John joined me. The first trip outside North Seattle in a
month. For the month I hiked 87 miles with 14,200' of gain. My second
highest mileage and second lowest elevation gain month.
I had five trip reports out of nine trips in May. Only two were in city
hikes. The stay at home order was lifted. First was a trip up Tiger 1 that was my first
dirt hike in 7 weeks. Next, Gary and John joined me for a trip east.
Back to the WF Teanaway to Exclamation
Point Rock. As planned we saw almost nobody. I went to McDonald
Mountain and found the ridge route is now marked "no trespassing. I
did not continue to the real summit. On the drive home I went to
Rattlesnake and added a second 8 miles trip. Totals were 16 miles with
3300' of gain. Kim joined me for a trip to Lord Hill. Just my
second ever. It was not crowded. The last trip of the month was a Tiger 1 & 2
Loop. For the month I hiked 74 miles with
Three of my seven trips have trip reports. First was a trip up Tiger 2. Gary and John
joined me for another trip east. This time to the NF Teanaway. We hiked
to Medra Pass and on to Koppen
Mountain. Another hike with solitude. Great wildflowers too.
Lastly, I went east for a hike up Mt. Baldy. Another hike
where I saw few people.
I hiked 59 miles with 17,600' of elevation gain.
One of the best hiking months had only 6 trips. Four have trip
reports. The remodel began and took my time. Earl Peak came first.
The first 4000' gain trip of the year. We went via Standup Creek and
saw few people below the summit. Next was Mt. Teneriffe.
Another 4000' gain hike. Gary joined me for a long trip on
Creek - Waptus Loop. It was 13 miles with 3400' of gain. My last
trip report was for Tiger
2-1 Loop. For July I hiked 89 miles with 18,500' of gain.
The month had 8 trips and 4 had trip reports. August finally felt like
a more normal summer hiking month. Gary and I headed up Highway 410 for
Noble and Ignoble Knobs.
Per this year we started at a little used trailhead and saw few folks
until near the summit. I did a long trip to East
Tiger Mountain. All on logging roads. I had nearly
total solitude. It was 15 miles with 2400' of gain.
John and I did an after work loop to Mt.
Washington via Change Creek. I ended the month with an old trip not
done in many years. John joined me for the Miller Loop. A few
motorcycles and very few people seen. For August
I hiked 89 miles with 22,400' of gain. These were year bests in both
Four of my seven trips have trip reports. First was a great trip to Glacier Basin
near Monte Cristo with John. A sunny day and some snow left in the
basin. Very good wildflower show including the only white monkey
flowers we have seen. Wildfire smoke returned and the trails were not
hikeable, I went underground for an 11 mile hike back and forth in the Snoqualmie
Tunnel. A whole 100' of elevation gain.
The smoke ended quickly and I returned to the Mt. Teneriffe Road. This
time the destination was Mt. Si.
I had near total solitude atop Si. That was a surprise. The trip
brought me to 24,000 hiking miles over 38+ years. I made a second trip
Point Rock with Jay Thompson. We have met on trail but this was our
first full hike together. A fun day with few people seen. For the month
I hiked 69 miles with 15,000'
I hiked seven times and four have trip reports. The same as in
September. Seattle had wildfire smoke but I went to the mountains to
avoid it. Little
St. Helens provided some good views and a little fall colors. My
last trip east of the crest was to Navaho Peak. I did
an off trail loop to avoid folks on the way down. Another 4000'+ gain
hike. John and I did an after work hike to Red Pass. Some nice leaf
colors. Another long trip was to Wallace
& Jay Lakes via the road. By mostly avoiding trails I avoided
the bog crowds this park has. A nice 17 mile day hike. For the month I
hiked 68 miles with
17,000' of gain.
I hiked 8 days in November and 4 merited a trip report. The first hike
was to Rainbow
Lake. The only hike I did this year starting from a popular
trailhead. I started early and did not see too many folks. I spent a
long time at the lake. Another close in hike was to Grand Ridge. John
joined me for another hike up Mt. Teneriffe
via the road. We had snow on top and a little sunshine. The last report
was for Fragrance
Lake Loop. Janet joined me. Another hike from a lesser known
trailhead. The Rock Trail was busy but the rest of the trip was
the month I hiked 73 miles with 19,800' of elevation gain. For a wet
month with short days I had my fourth best mileage and second best
I hiked seven days and only two had trip reports. It was a
struggle to get over 200,000' of gain. I reached my goal on December 29
with only two days to spare. The first report was a repeat of a long
trip to West
Rattlesnake Mountain from Highway 18. The 17 miles took most of the
very short day. I closed the year with my annual NYE hike on Tiger Mountain. It was
the 37th time in 38 years. For the
I hiked 67 miles with 17,100' of elevation gain.
My Top 10 Trips
01. Earl Peak Via
02. Koppen Mountain
Creek - Waptus Pass Loop
05. Navaho Peak Loop
06. Noble &
07. Miller Loop
08. Mt. Teneriffe
09. Cheese &
Loop + Carkeek Park