Twenty Year Anniversary

March 26, 2022 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Hiking Northwest website. When I started my site NWHikers was 3 months old. WTA's site had trip reports but they did not allow photos or links. Almost all the original personal hiking site links on my site are now defunct. A lot has changed. Facebook was founded 2 years after Hiking Northwest. There was no Instagram or Twitter. There were a lot less people on the trails. Like I said, a lot has changed. Through it all I have kept hiking and kept adding about one trip report with photos per week year round. Unlike many sites with just a few photos or a dump of many I include photos from start to finish on a hike with captions for every one. It is a lot of work, but to me at least, it walks through the entire trip rather than just showing two dozen summit shots. Believe it or not, a quick Google search shows that in 2002 11% of people in the US had broadband Internet at home and 38% had dial up. 51% did not have a computer with home Internet. How times have changed...

In just two months I will complete 40 years of recording all my hiking trips. Twenty years on paper and twenty more on my website. I started slowly over the first six years, going from 92 miles in 1982 to 350 in 1987. I continued adding more miles each  year until 1992 when I logged 1071 miles. That was and remains the most miles I have hiked in one year. I realized that it was not possible to keep going higher forever. There are only so many days in a year. I hiked 100 days in 1992 without taking more than a couple days off work. Hiking nearly every weekend day is not sustainable. I would burn out. Instead I decided to keep hiking most weekends but to take time off for other interests too.

From 2003 to the present I have hiked between 690 and 960 miles each year. For the past 19 years I have reached at least 200,000' of elevation gain each year. This should be my twentieth. To do that you must stay healthy. So far no injury has kept me off the trail more than a week or two. Since I no longer strive to set a new high in mileage each year I have set some reasonable goals. First is to hike at least 800 miles per year. That streak is at 12 straight years. Next is 200,000' of gain per year. To make sure I am staying in shape I try to get in at least 10,000' of elevation gain each month. That streak is now at 199 months. April can put me at an even 200 months. That is 16 years and 8 months in a row. Ironically, the last month I did not get to 10,000' was an August. They are usually among my biggest months.

One thing 20 years has done is make me a lot older. I can still do most any trip but not as fast.

One old feature includes photos from my 1981 visit to the now melted Paradise Ice Caves.

Another feature has old photos from Mt. Si and Tiger Mountain from the mid 1980. It is entitled: That Was Then...

I do a lot of hiking east of the Cascade's in the Teanaway Valley. I have listed all my trip reports in one feature. The 132 reports equals 6.6 per year. Teanaway Trip Reports

I documented the building of 200' long Murat's Bridge on Tiger Mountain in 2015. There are 140 photos taken over 11 visits during construction.

I would like to do more backpacking but I just don't seem to find the time. Running a one person business does not allow me to disappear for long. Still, even a few trips a year adds up. I have a listing of all 66 backpacking trips I have done over the last 20 years here: Backpacking Trips

Way back in 2006 I was featured in the Seattle Times. There were not a lot of hiking sites at that time. Here is a link: Seattle Times Feature

Health allowing, I will reach a big number in late summer or early fall. I am only 26 trip reports shy of 1000 reports including photos with comments on each. It will  have taken me 20.5 years putting up nearly one trip report per week to get there. I wish anyone else crazy enough to try this good luck. It has been a labor of love but a whole lot of labor.

Over 20 years I have amassed 142,734 digital photos in my archive. It is backed up on six different hard drives. I will not let anything take them away. In that time I have posted 32,419 of them in my trip reports and features on my site. The home page lists the current total of trip reports and photos. I started out with a 1.2 megapxel camera with no optical zoom lens. Along the way I have had quite a few point and shoot, APS-C and 4/3s larger sensor cameras. I have come almost full circle to using a cell phone camera with only a 2x zoom as my main hiking camera. The photos are enormously better than that first camera. I still have  a 20x zoom point and shoot for summit climbs with great long range views. I also take my larger sensor cameras occasionally.

I am happy to have kept my site audience fairly small. It is not too expensive to maintain with minimal bandwidth costs. I don't have any forum to moderate. I just have a whole lot of trip reports and a great way to be able to keep track of 40 years of hikes and 20 years of trip reports with photos. I have no complaints. I hope a few of my followers have taken away a few good ideas for their own trips, enjoyed my photos, or just lived vicariously though the reports.

Who knows where I will be in another 20 years? All I know is that health allowing, I will be out on the trail, taking photos, and writing trip reports. Here is a breakdown on how the site has grown.

Trip Reports 2001 - 02
Trip Reports 2002 - 39
Trip Reports 2003 - 49
Trip Reports 2004 - 42
Trip Reports 2005 - 34
Trip Reports 2006 - 49
Trip Reports 2007 - 43
Trip Reports 2008 - 56
Trip Reports 2009 - 54
Trip Reports 2010 - 54
Trip Reports 2011 - 46
Trip Reports 2012 - 49
Trip Reports 2013 - 50
Trip Reports 2014 - 53
Trip Reports 2015 - 46
Trip Reports 2016 - 42
Trip Reports 2017 - 49
Trip Reports 2018 - 58
Trip Reports 2019 - 57
Trip Reports 2020 - 43
Trip Reports 2021 - 46
Trip Reports 2022 - 13
Total Reports      - 974

Features               - 50
Photos           - 32,419

Jim Kuresman - 3-26-22