The 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 my goals.

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 and 30,398 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 headlamp 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 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 2020.

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 up Diamond 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.

In 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 trips were 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 Anne Hill and back. From near Seattle Pacific University to near the Seattle 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 17,100' of elevation gain.

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 the Tired 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 categories.

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 to Exclamation 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 uncrowded. For 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 elevation gain.


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 month I hiked 67 miles with 17,100' of elevation gain.

 My Top 10 Trips Of 2020
01. Earl Peak Via Standup Creek
02. Koppen Mountain
03. Glacier Basin
04. Tired Creek - Waptus Pass Loop

05. Navaho Peak Loop
Noble & Ignoble Knobs
07. Miller Loop
08. Mt. Teneriffe
09. Cheese & Bible Rocks
10. LLandover Loop + Carkeek Park

All Trips - 2020