The Year In Review

2017 was  good hiking year. I hiked 860 miles and 223,300' of elevation gain. 2018 started off well and picked up steam as it went along. I had a rare 20,000' gained February. Since I almost always do more miles and elevation gain in the second half of the year I was very pleased to by ahead of pace this year through June. By the end of October I realized I could have a very very good year. November was my fourth best mileage month and December was my best. December also broke a 40 month streak of not having a 100 mile month. 105 in December broke that streak.

That big December brought me to 960 miles with 249,000; of elevation gain. That is my second best mileage year and my third best elevation gain year. So, just by the numbers this was a terrific year. Of course there is quality as well as quantity to take into account. A return trip to Huckleberry Mountain 28 years later as a highlight. We backpacked and had a whole day to scramble to the old lookout site. I had a couple excellent cross country ski trips. I even had a great wildflower hike east of the Oakland in California. Another goal pertains to new trips.

I aim for at least 10 new trails each year. I had a very good year for new trails with 21. I try to get in at least 10 new trails per year. Canyon Lake Community Forest provided a new area and total solitude. Not a single person seen. Some new trips were on trails I had hiked before but with new or off trail sections.

Speaking of solitude, there are a lot of knew people in the Puget Sound basin. Many of them go hiking. Once again I found many hikes without crowds. Dozens of trips had me seeing nobody or just one or two groups all day long. Weekend trips at the main trailheads on I-90 are crowded. There are a whole lot of trails that are not. You just have to do a little exploring.

This website  continues to grow. I added 58 new trip reports with photos this year. It now has 816 trip reports and 26,734 photos. I added 2,329 photos, an average of 40 per report. By year end the site is just 3 months short of its 17th birthday. Time sure flies.

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 160 months and counting. That is well over 13 years.

This was the ninth year I joined Gary, John, and David doing headlamp hikes from October to April. I managed to make about three mid week evening trips per month. Adding three trips per month for half the year really adds to my mileage and does a great job breaking up the week. It's also a whole lot of fun.

Last year was unusual in that I had very little variation from month to month. My best to worst mileage months were only form 64 miles to 79 miles. This year was more normal My lowest month was 64 miles again but the highest two were 105 and 97. The strange part is that my best mileage and elevation gain month was December. Short dark days and lots of rain and still I had by best month. In the last 9 days of the year I hiked 53 miles with 15,300' of gain.

While 2017 was an above average year I hiked 100 more miles in 2018. My 104 trips was a record though it tied 2011 for days hiking as it had more backpacking days.

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 2018.

The year started with a snowshoe trip to Kendall Lakes with Gary and John. Solitude was an unexpected plus. Next, we headed north to Blanchard Hill. Two summits two lakes and an unexpected new route. My last trip report was up East Tiger Mountain with snow on top. For the month I hiked 67 miles with 16,300' of gain.

Gary and I headed to Diamond Head via Pipe Creek on snowshoes. A beautiful sunny day. Gary and I skied up Amabillis Mountain. It was a bit icy for me. We added a hike up Cedar Butte on the way home. Avalanche danger kept me on Tiger 2. Snow most of the way. For the month I hiked 75 miles with 20,400' of gain.

I joined Janet and Steve on a snowshoe trip to the Stafford Lookout site in the Teanaway Valley. I had been aware of Lord Hill as a close in hiking area for many years. I finally went there and did  an 8 mile hike. Lots of varied terrain. I will be back.  Gary and John joined me for a ski/snowshoe trip to Mazama Ridge at Mt. Rainier. A bright sunny day. Gwen and I headed to Chuckanut Mt. near Bellingham. A big running race ended those plans. We improvised with a hike at Whatcom Falls and another at Lookout Mt. Forest. Two new trips in one day. I joined Janet for a trip to near Yakima. We took a different trail to intersect the Yakima Skyline Trail. A beautiful sunny March day. One last trip report to East Tiger Mountain again with fresh snow. I hiked 73 miles with 16,300' of gain.

My first trip report had wildflowers on Cougar Mountain. Next I hiked 15 miles on Grand Ridge with the Water Tower Loop included. Kim and I headed to Chuckanut Mt. for my first trip to Fragrance Lake and then on to the Rock Trail. My last trip report was another East Tiger trip, this time with a longer loop. For the month I hiked 71 miles with 15,000' of elevation gain.

I visited my brother in the Bay Area. We hiked the Twin Peaks Trail on Mt. Diablo. Lots of familiar and unfamiliar wildflowers. Very colorful. I made another visit to Exclamation Point Rock. This time Gwen came along. More wildflowers. Gwenk Kim, and I did two new hikes for me. Kukatali and Craft Island were short and scenic hikes. At the end of the month I finally hiked up a bigger mountain at Navaho Peak with 4200' of gain. For the month I  hiked 64 miles with 15,400' of elevation gain.

Gary, John, and I drove east for a long day hiking the Devil's Gulch - Mission Ridge Loop. 17 miles with 3800' of gain. We found there was a running race going on. Lots of company. Kim and I hiked the new Granite Lakes Trail. I like the new section at the bottom. The road to the Canyon Lake Community Forest is washed out. An alternative road is gated. I figured out how to get there. Total solitude, a lake, waterfalls, and zero people. I will be back. Gary, John, and I headed to Mt. Rainier for a hike to Shriner Peak Lookout. We also took a detour to other views. The month ended with a loop trip in the Teanaway on the DeRoux-Esmerelda Loop. Great wildflowers, a lake, and a new trail section. I hiked 97 miles with 25,100' of elevation gain.

Kim took me for my first hike on the Blue Creek Trail to Red Top Lookout. A sunny day with wildflowers and the lookout. Gwen joined me for my almost every year Bean Peak Loop hike. Good wildflowers and summit views. Sourdough Lookout in North Cascades NP is a steep hike gaining 5200'. A hot but fun day. A group of us went to the Sunrise area on Mt. Rainier. Another first time hike for me to Palisades Lake, Brown Peak, & Slide Peak. Great high ridge walk. Several years ago Gary, John, and I planned a big loop hike to Crystal Peak, Deadwood Lakes, and Crystal Lake. Smoke caused us to turn around. In 2016 Gary and I did the trip. This year John was available and we did it again. This time we went in the opposite direction. A great hike. For the month I hiked 80 miles 23,000' of elevation gain.

Gary and I did another loop. This time to Melakwa Lakes and Pratt Lake. Gary, John, and I did another hike to Banshee Peak at Mt. Rainier. Flowers were past peak but less crowded than usual. Gwen and I did another Mt. Rainier favorite, the Spray Park Loop. Fun trip though flowers were almost down. Forest fire smoke was really bad so I chose to hike through the Snoqualmie Tunnel under Snoqualmie Pass. I picked the weekend a big geocaching group was hiking through the tunnel. Quite a crowd. I did avoid most of the smoke. More awful smoke and I headed to Dash Point State Park and avoided it. I found 8 miles of trails.  For the month I hiked 79 miles with 19,300' of elevation gain.


I hiked the Huckleberry Mountain Trail in 1990. 28 years later I returned with Gary and John for a three day backpacking trip. Zero people seen. We reached the lookout site and then on to Boulder Peak. A terrific Labor Day Weekend. I returned to the Suiattle River Valley with Kim for a hike up Green Mountain. A day in the clouds. Interesting fall colors with muted light. Very cold on the summit. Another great trip. The first headlamp hike of the season was to Dirty Harry's Peak. Our first time on the new Dirty Harry's Balcony Trail the on the old but groomed trail to the summit. The month ended with a great trip to Alta Mountain & Rampart Lakes with Gary. Lakes, views, and fall colors with 4200' of gain.  For the month I hiked 78 miles with 28,000' of elevation gain.

October began with our annual larch hike to Ingalls Lake. The larch trees were a little before their peak but were still good. Next, I headed to Mt. Dickerman. I met Elle on the way up and we hiked together. I did another often hiked trip to Wallace Falls & Lake. Terrific mushroom hike. A temperature inversion sent my up high to the Kendall Katwalk & Ridge Lake.  Warm and sunny day with some good fall color hanging on. Lake 22 is an easy hike. I had a clear day but cold. The last trip of the month was my second trip this year to Exclamation Point Rock. This time Kim came along. I knew there were some larch trees and they were right near their peak.  I hiked 86 miles for the month with 22,100' of elevation gain.


I wrote four trip reports in November. First was another annual trip to Rainbow Lake. It was partly frozen with snow around it. Another beautiful hike. Kim and I headed to Darrington for two hikes. First on the Whitechuck Bench Trail then the Old Sauk Trail. Another amazing mushroom trip. They were much better than usual this fall. 17 miles was my longest day hike of the year. The second of three was this one to West Rattlesnake Mountain. Taking the road route made it long and with near total solitude. My last trip report was for Umtanum Ridge. My 21 year old Subaru Outback was replaced with a much newer Mitsubishi Outlander. My first long drive was in a rainstorm that lasted for 100 miles. The hike was great. We avoided the heavy rain to the west. A new trial section was done as we went cross country. For the month I hiked 85 miles with 18,900' of elevation gain.


As stated earlier December was by biggest month of the year. Most days hiked with 11. Most miles with 105. Most elevation gain with 29,200'. Seven trip reports were also a yearly high. First was Mt. Washington. Fresh snow flocked all the trees but was not deep enough to slow my down much. In 2011 we did an awful headlamp hike to the Tiger Mountain Christmas Tree. It sleeted all the way back as we hiked through deep slush. This year we repeated the trip with perfect weather.
I did a first time loop on Tiger Mt. I had hiked all the trails but never in one trip. The first of four Tiger hikes in the last 10 days of the year. On Christmas morning I hiked up Mt. Si. Very icy near the top with fresh snow. A beautiful morning. Gary and John joined me for a one way hike on Tiger Mt. going over T1, T2,  & T3. On the next to last day of the year. I did an easy hike on Tiger. Only 6 miles. I have hiked on Tiger Mountain for 35 of the past 36 New Year's Eves. This year Gary and John joined me for a long 17 mile trip on the Tiger Mountain Trail from S to N. A rare sunny NYE. The late push really ran up the miles for December.  For the month I hiked 105 miles with 29,200' of elevation gain.

 My Top 10 Trips Of 2018
01. Huckleberry Mountain
02. Palisades Lake
03. Ingalls Lake
04. Sourdough Lookout

05. Devil's Gulch Loop
Deadwood Lakes Loop
07. Alta Mountain - Rampart Lakes
08. Mazama Ridge
09. Twin Peaks, CA
10. Bean Peak Loop

All Trips - 2018