The Year In Review

2014 was another very good hiking year. I was on the trail for 88 trips covering 833 miles with 236,900' of elevation gain. It was my fifth consecutive year with over 800 miles and my tenth consecutive year with over 700 miles. It was also my twelfth consecutive year with over 200,000' of elevation gain. After 33 1/2 years of consistent hiking I have not yet burned out. I had fewer midweek after work headlamp hikes in the fall but plenty of them in the winter and spring.  My usual balance between group and solo hikes tilted back to groups as I had 33 solo hikes and 55 with others.

I aim for at least 10 new trails each year. I just made it with exactly 10. They included Waterworks Canyon near Yakima and Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island. No out of state trips this year. It was not a great year in the number of backpacking trips. I managed only three trips though each was multiple nights out. Green Mountain, Spider Meadow -  Buck Creek Loop, and larch trees in the Enchantments were all memorable trips.

My website has grown to over over 600 trip reports and nearly 19,000 photos. It took up a lot of my time adding 53 new reports. I managed to turn out just over one per week. The site is now 12 3/4 years old. For the second time I was one of the presenters at Washington Trails Association's "Hike The State". I spoke about trails in the Glacier Peak Wilderness.

I aim to get out as often as possible year round. I don't really have any set goals for mileage. I long ago realized the problem with having to reach a higher number each year. There are only so many days in the year and I do not desire to hike every on of them. That said, I do try to get in at least 10,000' of elevation gain each month. My current streak is now at 112 months. If I make it to August,  (and I will) that will be ten years without missing my goal. In addition to ten new trails, I had a number of hikes I had not done in many years. They seemed new once again. After 11 years the Suiattle River Road opened once again. I biked the road five times during the closure but am excited to be able to day hike and make short backpacking trips up there in the coming years. All in all, it was an excellent year on the trail. Now for a short breakdown of the year by month with links to many of the trips and my top ten trips of the year.

The year began with a snowshoe trip up Thomas Mountain. On my first winter visit it was in the mid teens, cloudy, and windy. This time it was sunny. A steep trip on snowshoes. A ski trip to Windy Pass was one of only two cross country ski trips. Karen came down from Canada to join Janet, Kim, Gwen, and I for a trip up Bandera Mountain. Not much snow for January though we did use crampons higher up. It was a pretty average January with 50 miles and 14,500' of gain.

I managed to get out 8 days in February. I missed one Sunday as the Seahawks were busy winning their first Super Bowl. Several headlamp hikes. Highlights were my first visit to Suntop Lookout. we carried snowshoes 11 miles up and down. The Highline School District sends all sixth graders to Camp Waskowitz for a week of environmental education. I visited pre I-90 and felt it was far out in the woods. Turns out it is now just off the highway. I remembered all the trails in the camp and had planned for many years to visit again. I called and arranged to visit and Kim joined me for a five mile hike. The camp is one of only two completely intact CCC camps from the 1930s. 39 years is a long time between visits. Gwen and I met Carianna for a hike on Blanchard Hill and Oyster Dome. Snow from the trailhead on though never very deep. A fine winter day. For the month I hiked 63 miles with 17,600' of gain.

Amabilis Mountain was my second and last ski trip. Heavy winter snow finally fell at the start of March. A little icier than I like but a fun trip. Kim and Karen Daubert joined me for a typically wet day at Boulder River. Some of the many creek crossings were deep on this rainy day. Less than two weeks later the nearby catastrophic Oso Mudslide occurred.  Gwen, Janet, and I had a beautiful day for a snowshoe trip to Artist Point. As crowded as expected but the blue sky and deep snow was fantastic. My final trip of the month was close by at Cougar Mountain. I saw the first thick patches of skunk cabbage and trillium. I hiked 61 miles with a years low of only 12,500' of gain.

Janet and I headed east for my first hike up Manastash Ridge. We had a clear day with some early wildflowers in bloom. I made a second visit to McDonald Mountain. This time I had some views. Again, I went all the way to the real summit. Gwen and I did a weekday hike to Mt. Townsend. We had snow much of the way. No views from the summit. Total solitude was amazing. My last trip report was an old favorite trip. Walking the old Iron Horse railroad grade east of Cle Elum. Spring wildflowers in bloom. April turned out to be my biggest mileage month of the first seven with 70 miles and also 15,900' of gain.

Kim put together a trip with the Cascadians near Yakima. We met some great folks and were given a tour of a loop trip at Waterworks Canyon. Views, wildflowers, and a rattlesnake. We had a great time. Janet and I hiked up Dirtyface Peak. Lots of snow up high still. My first visit in eight years. After two years without a snow trip up Iron Peak I made it back. Gwen and I had snow most of the way. Blue sky and great views. Another Teanaway trip took Janet and I to Iron Bear & Jester Peaks. No snow until near the top. I finally made it to Deception Creek. Gwen and I hiked until the snow deepened. The falls were roaring with spring snow melt. Gary and I ended the month with another new trip. We hiked up to Merritt Lake then on to Alpine Lookout. It was a long 12 mile - 4300' day with much of it on snow. May was my second lowest mileage month with only 60 miles but my first over 20,000' with 21,000' gained.

I have been up Thomas and Baldy Mountains many times. For the first time I took the junction to Easton Ridge. Gwen and I had a fine spring hike up to the old beacon site. A steep trail with lots of wildflowers. Kim, Gwen, and I headed to the Teanaway for a scramble of Fortune Peak. My cross country route was interesting. Still snowy up high. A great summit. Near total solitude once again. Gary joined my for an old spring favorite. The snow melts early on the Fourth of July Trail on Icicle Ridge. A good workout with 12 miles and 4800' of gain. Gwen joined me for another old favorite. Earl Peak via a loop up Standup Creek. I last did this trip with Karen Sykes in 2007. Karen passed away this year. A little snow up high, great views, and wildflowers.  I closed the month with two Teanaway hikes with guidebook author Craig Romano. We did Navaho Peak on Saturday and a one way trip up Esmerelda and down DeRoux. Minimal snow and good conditions. A good month with 65 miles and 23,800' gained.

I finally had a backpacking trip. Gwen, Kim, and I biked the Suiattle Road then backpacked up the old and new Green Mountain trails. My third trip up since the road washed out. Still considerable snow once off the south face. Minimal views but a great trip. Summer arrived. I headed to Rainbow Lake on a 90 degree day. Another hot day and other lake visit. This time Lake 22. Much cooler at the lake. Back to the peaks for a trip to Norse Peak. A cloudy day. I met the Tortuga Hikers on top. After a number of winter ascents this was my second consecutive summer visit. The last trip was another old favorite to Alta Mountain. The trail to Rachel Lake is as bad as I remembered it but the ridge and peaks are spectacular. A side trip to Rampart Lakes too. Not a great July with only 63 miles and 18,900' of gain.

Things picked up dramatically in August. The month started with a hike up Mt. Dickerman. It was a very warm and humid day. Next was a four day backpacking trip with Gary and John. We hiked up to Spider Meadow, over to Image Lake, and down Buck Creek. A trip Gary and I did in the opposite direction in 2005. A truly great trip. We did have some hazy conditions from wildfires and it was very hot at times. This is a classic backpacking trip. I have been aware of the Change Creek Trail off of the Iron Horse railroad grade for some time. I finally made a loop trip up the trial to Mt. Washington and down the Washington trail. A fun trip with near total solitude. Kim and I ended the month with a rainy hike to Trout & Copper Lakes. This was by far my biggest hiking month of the year. I 10 trips over 13 days covering 121 miles with 32,100' of gain.

Another hot day visit to Rainbow Lake. I went in via Mason Lake and brushed the abandoned trail to Blazer Lake. The biggest elevation day of the year was a trip with Gary to Mt. David. 14 miles with 5800' of gain. A really nice day with great views. I returned to Cascade Pass - Sahale Arm for the first time since 1995. How did I let 19 years pass between visits? Fantastic leaf colors. Great views. Crowded but deservedly so. The last trip of the month was the best. We won the backpacking lottery early in the year and Gary, John, and I and had a trip to the Enchantments during larch season. The weather was awful just before our trip and bad gain just after. We had great weather so we did cut off one day to miss the incoming storm. My second visit and just as gorgeous as I remembered it. For the month I hiked 66 miles with 22,600' of gain.

I started the month with a close in trip up Granite Mountain. Sunshine and some fall leaf color. Gwen joined me for a near annual trip. Ingalls Lake during larch season. The larch were at or just beyond peak. We went on a weekday and missed the huge weekend crowds. Many larch photos were taken. Gwen and I headed north for my second trip north of Mt. Baker. Lots of people at Yellow Aster Butte. The wind up high was very strong. We went out and scrambled the real summit. At long last, after 11 years, the Suiattle River Road was reopened. We drove to the end and I hiked the Suiattle River Trail for the first time ever. I hiked 62 miles with 17,300' of gain.

Back to the Suiattle. This time I drove to the Green Mountain trailhead instead of starting down at the Suiattle River. Unlike the earlier visit this year it was completed easily in one day. Cloudy up top with some new snow but my second visit to the lookout this year. I was invited for the second time on Solo Steve's annual loop trip on the Iron Goat Trail. Gwen and I had a great time. Still some fall leaf color. Gwen joined me for a scramble up Teanaway & Iron Peaks. Few people seen but great mountain views. One more Suiattle River hike. This time up Sulphur Mountain. Kim and I did it twice via bicycles and camping during the road washout. It was nice to do it as a day hike. 10 miles with 4700' of gain. Better views then before. Gwen and I made a second visit to Oyster Dome this year. About the only place that was not under torrential rainfall. Another fun hike. The month ended with my first visit to Ebey's Landing. I have known about it for years. I finally hiked it. Great views of the mountains and the water. Fun bluff and beach sections. I picked up the pace heading into the end of the year. 73 miles with 21,300' of gain.

In December the days are short and often wet. The holidays are busy. Still, it is often one of my biggest hiking months of the year. I had five close in hikes that did not merit a trip report. Those I did report included a trip up Mt. Washington. Very cloudy with fresh snow higher up. The flocked white trees were beautiful. Next, I did the 12 mile Wallace Falls - Lake Loop. I discovered a new bridge that will open some interesting trips in the future. I closed out the year as always with a hike on Tiger Mountain. Gary and John joined me for a 12 mile 3900' gain one way trip over three summits Snow up high but not enough to cause any problems. The 32nd time in 33 years I have hiked on Tiger Mountain on New Year's Eve. It really was a great year on the trail. For the month I hiked 79 miles with 19,300' of gain.

 My Top 10 Trips Of 2014
01. Enchantment Lakes
02. Spider - Buck Loop
03. Green Mountain
04. Sahale Arm

05. Alpine Lookout
06. Waterworks Canyon
07. Artist Point
08. Ingalls Lake
09. Iron Peak
10. Mt. David

All Trips - 2014