The Year In Review

By many standards 2021 was a pretty good hiking year for me. I went over 800 miles hiked hiked for the twelfth consecutive year. I surpassed 200,000' of elevation gain for the nineteenth consecutive year. If I remain healthy 2022 would make it twenty years in a row. It was also the second year of the pandemic. There was a run up in cases at the start of the year. A slowdown in summer and another big burst late in the year. I felt much better after getting vaccinated at the end of March and late in April. I still avoided the really crowded trails but felt fine on lesser used ones. I explored more long road walks for lack of people and wide routes for passing. I also made it back to my old favorite Iron Peak via lesser used Beverly Creek. This year lacked scramble summits. I did have 6 days with 4000' or more elevation gain. I hope 2022 gets back to normal with more summits.

I was a bit surprised that my 9.26 miles per day average was above normal. I had 17, 16 and 15 mile days. I had few sub 6 mile days. An attempt to find white monkey flowers two years in a row in Glacier Basin failed. We did find very pale pink but not the white ones. Gary and I had talked about hiking Laughingwater Creek at MRNP at least a decade ago. We finally did it. A great hike. I hiked the new Frog Mountain Trail before it has officially opened. I hiked Noble Knob from Corral Pass for the first time ever. It had great wildflowers blooming. I even managed a 6 mile ski tour of NW Seattle starting from home.

The year had some wildfire smoke but not as bad as other recent years. We did have a record heat wave in June. Seattle three days between 102 - 108 degrees. I lived with the heat by hiking through the Snoqualmie Tunnel where the temperature was over 50 degrees cooler than outside at Snoqualmie Pass. I did two 10 mile hikes in the relative cool of the tunnel. I was not alone. I anxiously look forward to "normal" non pandemic hiking soon. I hope for summers that do not have weeks of choking wildfire smoke. 2022 could be the start of better times.

For the year, I managed to hike 852 miles with 215,500' of elevation gain. These are slight improvements over 2020 and major pandemic times. Not bad considering Covid still has me avoiding the most popular trails. I'm okay passing dozens of folks on the trail, just not hundreds.

This website  continues to grow. I added 46 new trip reports with photos this year. It now has 961 trip reports and 32,022 photos. I added 1,624 photos, an average of 35.3 per report. I went over 32,000 photos this year. Late in 2022 I should reach 1000 trip reports. Speaking of numbers, I also went over 25,000 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 196 months and counting. That is well over 16 years.

This was the twelfth year I joined Gary, John, and David doing headlamp hikes from October to April. I have really enjoyed breaking up the work week with these hikes. At the end of the year we had view from the West Tiger summits after summit logging.

Last year I did not get in even one backpacking trip. This year I did none through summer. In the fall Gary and I did two overnight trips. Both were outstanding. Fall colors and solitude at Benchmark Mountain and great larch colors at Carne Basin.

I aim for at least 10 new trails or trail sections per year. Last year I managed only 3 new hikes. This year it was up to 10. I was quite pleased to get in 10 new trails during a pandemic year.

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 2021.

I hiked 10 days in January. This was the most for the year. Only two warranted trip reports. The other eight were all Issaquah Alps trips. The first turned into a double trip. We snowshoed towards Nordic Pass but a broken strap for John had us turn around. We then hiked up the Granite Lakes Trail no near the lakes. We ended up with 10 miles and 3000' of gain. The last was to Mt. Si via The Mt. Teneriffe Road. This was the most elevation Gary had done since his leg injury the previous summer. 3600' of gain was a good test. Next, Janet joined me for a snowshoe trip up Diamond Head. For the month I hiked 83 miles with 22,700' of elevation gain. Remarkable, these were both highs for the year during winter.

In February I had 6 trips. Three of them had trip reports. First trip report was for Fragrance Lake & Ridge Loop. Janet joined me for a trip that added a new leg for me that made this a loop trip. Next came the ski trip around NW Seattle. It is rare that I can ski from my driveway. This day I managed a morning trip on some untracked roadway. My last trip report was 12 mile 3600' hike on Tiger Mountain. Bare at the bottom with snow up high. Other trips were close in. For the month I hiked 50 miles with 12,200' of gain.

In March I had 7 trips.This month only 3 hikes had trip reports. That added up to only 8 trip reports in the first quarter of the year. The pace did pick up later.  First was an eleven mile loop on Cougar Mountain. Next was to Wallace & Jay Lakes Via The Road. This was my longest trip of the year at 17 miles. My last trip report was an Oyster Dome Loop with Gary. This was the first time I had hiked from Chuckanut Drive. For the month I hiked 75 miles with 16,100' of gain.

I had another strong month with 8 hikes. Only 3 trips rated trip reports. The first was another visit to Exclamation Point Rock. Gary joined me. Next was another long road walk. I often hike up East Tiger in 8 miles round trip. This hike was 15 miles. Much solitude until near the summit. My last trip report was for Pine & Cedar Lakes-Raptor Ridge. I had been to the lakes but we added on a loop section. For the month I hiked 82 miles with 18,500' of gain. It was my second highest mileage month.

I hiked 7 days in May. 5 trips had trip report. First was a trip with Gary on the Westberg Trail. We went off trail several times. Excellent wildflower show. Next, Gary joined me for a loop trip to Wallace Falls & Lake+Jay Lake. Another long hike at 15 miles. Janet joined me for her first visit to Exclamation Point Rock. We found wildflowers including bitterroot.Gary and I did a snowy scramble up South Bessemer Mountain. Great clear mountain views. The last trip of the month was a visit to Ignoble Knob. We did it years earlier. Snow at the top. For the month I  hiked 79 miles with 20,700' of elevation gain.

6 of my 9 trips have trip reports. First was a trip on Grand Ridge. My first Big Water Tower Loop. John and I did an after work hike to Olallie Lake and up to the ridge. Kim and I spent a hot day on the new Oxbow Trail and the CCC. It was much cooler than in town. John and I had another after work hike out of town at Annette Lake. We were down before dark. In late June the heat wave hit. Days over 100 degrees. Easily a record. I headed to the Snoqualmie Tunnel under Snoqualmie Pas for two hikes. First was the hottest recorded day in Seattle. Second was the new hottest day ever in Seattle.  I hiked 75 miles with 12,800' of elevation gain. 9 was the second most trips in a month.

 For the month I had 8 trips. 6 have trip reports. The report pace really picked up. We had heard that the summit of West Tiger 1, 2, and 3 were going to be clearcut. I headed up to check it out. Fences blocked the trails near the summits. I found I could legally get up Tiger 1 and I did. 38 years earlier I started hiking Tiger Mountain. There were views then. Now only Tiger 1 had any views. That was about to change. I had never been to Corral Pass. I have been up Noble Knob many times. The road to the pass was recently closed after being shut down after fire damage. Janet and I did Noble and Ignoble Knob from the pass. Gary picked out a trail that neither of us had hiked. That was a rarity. I had been up Sun Top but not Moon Top down the ridge. A long day with few folks seen. 
Next, Kim joined me for a Tiger hike that had the best display of saprophytes I have ever seen. Few miles but a whole lot of photographs taken. I hiked up Mt. Dickerman for a day of great views. Afterward I hiked the trail to Perry Creek. A first time trail for me. Lastly, Gary joined me for a trip he had not done, Mt. Washington Via Change Creek. A fun loop trip.  For July I hiked 73 miles with 22,000' of gain.

The month had 6 trips and 4 had trip reports. August is usually a great month but work got in the way. First I did the 15 mile East Tiger Road hike again.
A way to get in miles without taking up too much time. Not a usual August hike when the high country is open. Next came Iron Peak. A favorite I do almost every year. Last year during Covid I did not do it. Janet joined me as we came up Beverly Creek and saw few folks until the summit ridge. Gary and John joined me for an after work hike up Bandera Mountain. Hazy views but we saw only 5 people. My last trip was a long day with Gary on a close in trail. We hiked to Rainbow Lake and then Sir Richards Pond. We spent 3 hours relaxing at lakes.  For August I hiked 65 miles with 18,000' of gain.

3 of my 6 trips have trip reports. First was a return to Glacier Basin. The year before John and I saw white monkey flower. Was it a one time event? Gary joined us on the trip. We found very pale pink but no white ones. Lots of flowers in September. Next was another first for Gary and me. Laughingwater Creek was a neat forest, lakes, and finally views of Mt. Rainier. A long 16 mile with 4000' of gain. Really nice trail. The last trip was my first backpacking trip in two years. Gary and I headed to Benchmark Mountain with great fall colors and mountain views. A stellar trip.
For the month I hiked 70 miles with 16,500'

I hiked seven times and four have trip reports. First was another new trail. The Frog Mountain Trail was done but not yet opened. The parking lot still needed work. Kim and I headed up on a cloudy day. Nice trail. Like Beckler Peak, it will be mobbed in a few years. It is nice to have it to ourselves for a while. I need to come back on a clear day for the views. Next came my second and last backpacking trip of the year. Like Benchmark it was only one night out. Boy did it deliver! Carne Basin was one of the best larch trips I have done. Right near peak the larch were spectacular. A really great trip. My next trip report provided a new summit for me. One I have been near on dozens of occasions. I hiked up the Mt. Teneriffe Road to Mt. Si and then to Blowdown Mountain. The path to Blowdown is a bit sketchy. More so with a little fresh snow. The last trip was another to Exclamation Point Rock. This time the objective was Western Larch. They were near peak. It was nice to have a second larch tree hike this year. For the month I hiked  68 miles with 20,800' of gain.


I hiked 8 days in November and only 2 merited a trip report. First was another Wallace Falls-Lake Loop. A chance to get in 13 miles with fresh snow low down and raging creeks. Second and last was a hike on Cougar Mountain. A big loop netted me 10 miles. A mostly dry hike between rainstorms. The other six trips were all in the Issaquah Alps. For the month I hiked 66 miles with 16,700' of elevation gain.


I hiked 8 days and 5 had trip reports. The first report was an 11 mile loop over East Tiger Mountain. Fresh snow at the summit. Next came a Cougar Mountain Loop on a rare dry day. Gary and John joined me on my birthday for a hike to now logged Tiger 1. Snow up high. On Christmas Day I hiked up Tiger 3 in the morning. Snowing much of the time. A quick morning trip. I closed the year with my annual NYE hike on Tiger Mountain. It was the 38th time in 39 years.  For the month I hiked 67 miles with 18,500' of elevation gain.

 My Top 10 Trips Of 2021
01. Carne Basin
02. Benchmark Mountain
03. S. Bessemer Mountain
04. Glacier Basin

05. Laughingwater Creek
Rainbow Lake
07. Noble Knob
08. Ignoble Knob
09. Mt. Dickerman
10. Frog Mountain

All Trips - 2021