The Year In Review

2017 was another very good hiking year. After a relatively lesser year in 2016 I bounced back with 860 mies vs 818 and 223,300' of elevation gain vs. 212,800'. Ironically, I had exactly the same 91 trips. This was my eighth consecutive year with at least 800 miles hiked and my thirteenth over 700 miles. It was my fifteenth consecutive year with at least 200,000' of elevation gain. Last year I only managed to get in one backpacking trip. This year I at least managed four trips. Two were first time trips. This was our eighth year of midweek headlamp hikes. I made it to about three trips a month from October through April.

I aim for at least 10 new trails each year. I had a very good year for new trails with 15. With an average of over a dozen per year, I have added about 180 new trails in the 15 1/2 years since this site was established. A small number of trips each year really add up.

Speaking of the  website, it  continues to grow and now has 757 trip reports and 24,405 photos. I added 49 new reports with photos. That was a little less than the previous few years. The site passed its fifteenth birthday this past March. It is hard to believe how much time has gone by since I started the site.

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 148 months and counting.

This was a strange year in one regard. Most years I have one low month. I just can't get out as often as I'd like. I almost always have at least one big month. A low month is usually 45-55 miles. A big month is 90-100+ miles. This year my worst month was 64 miles. My biggest month was 79 miles. Only one long 15 mile day hike separated best from worst. I would be surprised if that ever happens again.

All totaled, my 860 miles hiked was the seventh highest in the 35 years I have kept records. My 223,300' of elevation gain was my eighth best years.

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 2016.

The year began with a cold sunny day on Tiger Mountain hiking to Poo Poo Point. I had three more close in hikes then did a 12 mile loop at Wallace Falls & Lake. Next, Gary and I go tin a cross country ski trip at Snoqualmie Pass. I ended the month with a trip to Hex Mountain with Janet and Steve. For the month I hiked 73 miles with 16,500' of gain. Better than average for January.

After two more close in hikes Kim joined me for a trip to Blanchard Hill just south of Bellingham. We had a rare sunny day with some ice up high. Gary and I had a long flat 16 miles ski trip on the Iron Horse rail grade. A week later we had our third ski trip of the year together. A 12 mile trip up Amabilis Mountain was a great trip. For the month I hiked 65 miles with 13,800' of gain. My lowest elevation gain month but still not too bad.

Gary, John, and I joint others for a snowshoe work party putting up blue diamonds on the Nordic Pass Trail. More close in hikes then John and I did a traverse over Rattlesnake Mountain. Snow up high and my first visit since the ridge top was scalped. It did open up good views. The two trip reports written were the least for any month. I hiked 70 miles with 17,700' of gain.

I hiked up Mt. Washington with snow up high. I checked out some new trails on an East Tiger Mountain loop trip. After finally hiking on the north end of Chuckanut Mountain several years ago I have made it an annual event. It was a warm sunny Easter Sunday hike. Kim and I went north to Rockport State Park and then the Beaver Lake Trail. Lots of spring wildflowers in bloom. I ended the month with a trip east with Gary and John to the Westberg Trail. This time I made it all the way to the observatory. Yet another month right around 70 miles. For the month I hiked 72 miles with 18,900' of elevation gain.

Im and I started the month with a trip east to the Iron Horse Trail east of South Cle Elum. Lots of wildflowers in bloom. I joined Janet and Steve again for a trip east to Black Canyon. We took a ridge route down. Great wildflowers again. Another new trail section as Kim and I hiked the Suiattle River Trail to Canyon Creek. Gwen joined me for another camp atop a snowy Iron Peak. Good weather and a fun hike. Gary joined me for a long 14 mile hike on the Ingalls Creek Trail. More wildflowers in bloom. Kim and I hiked the Deception Creek Trail. Lots of solitude once again.May tied January with the highest mileage so far this year at 73 miles. I gained 15,700' of elevation.

June had 8 hikes and one bike ride. The month started with a trip to DeRoux Peak with Janet. We turned around on the ridge as the snow was rotten on a steep section. Almost total solitude. Next came another Snoqualmie Tunnel bike ride. Gary and I have done it a number of times. This time John could not make it. A fun 35 mile loop after work. Kim and I did a first ever hike on the Diablo Lake Trail. A really fun trip. I drove far east for a long day loop trip to Devil's Gulch - Mission Ridge. 17 miles tied my longest day trip of the year. I joined Kirsten and Steve for a car trip up Reecer Creek with a little hiking too. Terrific wildflowers up there again. I ended the month with John's Boeing group for a hike up to Mason Lake. Tons of beargrass in bloom. I hiked 68 miles with 17,600' of elevation gain.

The month started with another first time hike. Kim and I hiked up to Hope and Mig Lakes. Some patchy snow and amazing solitude on the PCT. Kim and I hiked the Downey Creek Trail again then went up an old boot path to a lake high on the ridge. A long trip to Little Joe Lake and Thorp Mt. Lookout became longer when Kim took a wrong turn. Another 17 mile day. Gary and John joined me for another steep hike up Sulphur Mountain. A hot day with great views. Janet and I did an overnight trip to Rainbow Lake. My first time camping there after many many visits. The last trip of the month was fantastic. I had long wanted to backpack on Lost Creek Ridge. Gary, John, and I had a great time. For the month I hiked 78 miles with a yearly high of 26,800' of elevation gain.

Forest fire smoke was a problem from mid summer until it started raining. I planned hikes to minimize it. I joined Janet & Steve for a loop trip through Spray Park. Good wildflower show though past peak. Gwen & I did Alta Mountain via Lillian and Rampart Lakes. A fun route. Gary, John, and I did a great overnight trip to Devil's Park - Crater Mt. Terrific scenery and it was over 90 degrees on the way down. For the month I hiked 77 miles and had my second and last 20,000' month finishing with 22,400'.

Kim and I did our second loop trip on the Scott Paul Trail. This time we did not make it to Park Butte Lookout. It was a hot day. Sunny with great scenery. I did an early morning trip of Squak Mt. getting down by 10:00 am just as the smoke filled the air. I explored a new bike trail to West Rattlesnake Mt. Fun but crowded hike. Gary and I hiked up to Red Pass after work. Almost total solitude. Gary & I went up Mt. Dickerman and went to Big Four Ice Caves later. Some good fall colors. Kim joined me for a trip to the Kendall Katwalk via Commonwealth Creek. It was 35 degrees and wet at the Katwalk. 64 miles hiked was my lowest of the year though only 15 miles less than my highest. 18,200' gained was my sixth best month.

Rains finally began to put out forest fires and clear the air. A trip up Mt. Washington started another season of midweek headlamp hikes. Gary, John, and I headed to Ingalls Lake for a larch hike. The Teanaway had been closed by fire for months. The larch were close to peak and excellent. Gary, John, and I headed to Mt. Rainier for a hike from White River to Mt. Fremont. The road to Sunrise had recently closed. Very few folks at a place that is mobbed until the road closes. I hiked 70 miles for the month with 19,600' of elevation gain.

I started the month with a 10 mile loop on East Tiger Mt. My first snowy hike of the season. For the third time I did a 17 mile hike, my longest day hike of the year. It was a mostly road route to West Rattlesnake Mt. from Highway 18. I had total solitude until near the summit. A long but very fast hike. My second and last trip report of the month was for a loop trip to Wallace Falls & Lake. Kim joined me. Lots of water over the falls. For the month I hiked 79 miles. That was my highest month of the year. Very unusual that it was a November. I gained 17,100' of elevation.

Doug McKeever invited Kim & I to come up north for a hike on Anderson Mountain. I was aware of the trail but it was my first visit. Deeper snow on top than expected. A long but fun day. I did four more hikes on Rattlesnake and Tiger Mountains then headed to Lake 22 for a very cold and icy trip. It was only 13 degrees at the lake. John joined me for my annual New Year's Eve hike. We did a one way hike over Tiger Mountain. We hiked above the clouds into bright sunshine. A great day to finish up another year on the trail. For the month I hiked 71 miles with 19,000' of elevation gain.

 My Top 10 Trips Of 2017
01. Lost Creek Ridge
02. Devil's Park - Crater Mountain
03. Iron Peak
04. Ingalls Lake

05. Lillian & Rampart Lakes + Alta Mt.
06. Devil's Gulch
07. Amabilis Mountain
08. Mt. Fremont
09. Little Joe Lake & Thorp Mt. Lookout
10. Sulphur Mountain

All Trips - 2017