The Year In Review

Last year, 2022, was a spectacular year for hiking miles and elevation gain. My only year over 1000 miles was 1992. By the halfway point in 2022, I was at 484 miles and 118,000' of gain. My goals of 800 miles with 200,000' was nearly assured. I had a real shot at another 1000 year. July, August, and September were not bad but not on 1000 pace. I would need to average almost 94 mile per month in the Fourth Quarter. October was good but at 89 miles it was not on pace. November is a tough hiking month. It is usually has the most rain and very short days. Somehow I managed to hike 120 miles. That was a record for November. It was the biggest month of the year in mileage and elevation gain with 25,500'. With a big December I had a chance. I started with a 14 mile trip and kept on hiking, I only needed 5 more miles on my annual NYE Tiger Mountain hike. It was my 39th Tiger NYE hike in 40 years. Gary, John, and I hiked 11 miles to finish at 1006. It as my second 1000' year and it was exactly 30 years after the first 1000 year. I had my fourth best elevation gain year with 244,000'. It was one of my best hiking years ever.

I started 2023 expecting to go back to a more normal year with about 840 mile and 220,000' of gain. One reason I have been able to keep hiking regularly for 40 years is easing up and not burning out. In the first quarter I hiked 226 miles. That was more than I planned and right on pace for 900 miles. For some reason all but one time I have done 900 miles I followed up with another one the next year. It was looking like this might happen again. The first three months were all between 73 and 79 miles. In the second quarter, each month was between 70 and 73 miles. At the half way point I was at 442 miles. I was just a little behind pace for 900 miles. Then came July. Good weather and no forest fire smoke helped make it a great month. It started with an overnight trip in the Teanaway. It was my first backpacking trip in two years. It ended with a 4 day 40 mile backpacking trip on the Cascade Crest. With 116 miles and 37,700' of gain it was a spectacular month. The gain was the most I have ever had in one month. Could I do another 1000 mile year? It was still not likely.

August was my second worst month of the year at 71 miles. It was also my 7th consecutive month of 70 miles or more. I had never had a year where every month was at least 70 miles. One more goal was born. With 1000 miles no longer likely, I set my aim for another back to back 900 mile years. Then came the fourth quarter. The weather is usually poor and the days are short. It is seldom my best quarter of the year for hiking mileage. In October I hiked 94 miles with 21,000' of gain. That is a big October. I upped both in November with 96 miles and 25,200' of gain. I entered December needing a hefty but not impossible 92 miles to reach 1000 for the second year in a row and only the third time in 41 years. I was not able to hike on the first 8 days of the month. Now I had only 23 days to hike 92 miles while working full time. It looked like a chance to get there was now gone. I hiked 11 times in the next 21 days.  By the 20th day I ended with 1005 miles. I hiked 2 of the 3 remaining days to finish with 113 miles for December and 1021 for the year. In the fourth quarter, I hiked 32 days for 303 miles or an average of 101 per month. I had never averaged 100 or more miles for a three month period. To do it not in summer but short wet months was really not expected.

So 2023 ended with my second best year ever with 1021 miles and my second best year ever with 255,700' of elevation gain. By the numbers, it was my best year ever. The best mileage year had far less elevation gain and the best elevation gain year had far less miles. To have my best year in hiking year 41 while still working is a real surprise. One factor is the midweek after work winter hikes we have been doing for the last dozen plus years. At about 3 hikes per month for about 6 months of the year, it adds about 18 extra hikes I never had in previous years. Even so, I am very pleased to have such a great year at a "more advanced" age. I only managed the two mentioned backpacking trips and that was a disappointment. The four day Pilot Ridge-White Pass trip was a really great trip though.

Each year I set out to hike 10 new trails or trail segments. I usually come in just over that level. This year I hiked an even 10. After 41 years, it does get harder to hike new trails.

In July I gained 37,700' of elevation gain. That is the most in one month ever. I seldom beat all time monthly mileage or elevation gain records but this year I did.

As always, I do try to hike at least 800 miles and go over 200,000' of gain. 600 miles is a good year. 800 is a very good year. In 2023 I reached 800 miles for the fourteenth consecutive year and eighteenth time ever. I reached 200,000' of gain for the twenty first consecutive year and twenty third time ever.

One goal I do have is to gain at least 10,000' each month. If I am doing that, I will stay in good hiking shape. That streak reached 18 year and 4 months or 220 months. Ironically, the last month I did not gain 10,000' was August 2005. August is usually one of my best months.

For the first time, I hiked at least 70 miles in every month. In all previous years, I had life intrude and keep me off the trail a weekend or two in at least one month. Not this year. 108 days hiking beat the previous record of 107 set in 2022.

This website, Hiking Northwest, continues to grow. On March 26, 2023 it reached its 21th Anniversary. A lot of hiking websites have come and gone in that time. This one just keeps growing. I ended the year with 1075 trip reports. That is an average of just under one trip report per week for twenty one years. One trip report with an average 35 photos takes a lot of time.

In 2022 I had a record 60 trip reports. This year I had 54. That is still above average.  My backpacking trips have a written report with photos for each day. Last year I had no backpacking trips. This year two trips added four more days. I consider that I did 58 trip reports though I do not count it that way.

This was the fourteenth year I have been doing after work hikes with Gary, John, and David. Now I am the only one working. They are a major reason I have been able to keep up the 800 miles years while being employed full time.

After no backpacking trips in 2022 I had two this year. One was spectacular. Our four days on Pilot Ridge and White Pass/Foam Basin was one of the best trips I have done. It was nice to get out for a four day trip again.

Well, enough of that. It is time to review my year month by month and look at my Top 10 Hikes of the year.

I hiked 8 days in January. I started strong with five trip reports. I started the year on January 1st with an 11 hike on Grand Ridge. Next, was a snowshoe trip to Kendall Lakes. I did two more double digit miles hikes to East Tiger and Squak Mountain. I finished the month with a trip north to Fragrance Lake & the Rock Trail. It was a good first month of the year. For the month I hiked 74 miles with 20,400' of elevation gain.

In February I had 8 trips. Four of them had trip reports. I did a lot of close in hikes. Gary & I did a 13 mile xc ski trip from Hyak to the dam and back. We did a 12 mile big loop on Cougar Mountain. We also did an 11 mile xc ski trip up Amabilis Mountain. February is a tough month and 8 trips is great.   For the month I hiked 79 miles with 16,900' of gain.

In March I had 8 trips. This month four hikes had trip reports. Gary & I did a third xc ski trip. From Hyak to the High Horse Trail for the first time and the grade. John & I did a 12 Cougar loop. Gary, me, and a work party put up diamonds on the Nordic Pass Trail. I did a 10 mile loop on Squak. I did at least 73 mile each month in the first quarter. For the month I hiked 73 miles with 17,100' of gain.

April and August tied for the fewest days out with 7 hikes. Five trips rated trip reports. All 7 trips were west of Highway 18 and off I-90. The trip reports were for Cougar, Tiger 3&2, South Tiger, Grand Ridge, and East Tiger the long way. On the East Tiger trip I saw a bobcat for the first time. Two of the last three were 14 and 15 miles. The strong finish allowed my to reach 70 miles again. I had my lowest monthly mileage and second lowest elevation gain. For the month I hiked 70 miles with 15,300' of gain.

I hiked 8 days in May. Four trips had trip report. Six trips were close in. The other two were in the Teanaway area. The first report was a 12 mile Middle East Tiger Loop. Next was a solo trip to Exclamation Point Rock. Kim and I did a short trip from Sunset Way up and around the Tradition Plateau. Lastly was a trip with Gary & John to Iron Bear and Jester Peaks. Wildflowers were starting.  For the month I hiked 73 miles with 17,500' of elevation gain.

Six of my 8 trips have trip reports. I finally began to get away from Seattle. First was a trip with Janet on the Pratt Connector to the Big Tree. Kim & I headed north to Diablo Lake. Kim joined me for a wildflower hike to Exclamation Point Rock. John and I had probably the most grueling day, a 5300' gain up Three Brothers Mountain. I did another Tiger hike and then my annual trip to Rainbow Lake. In the first half of the year every month was between 70 & 79 miles. All but one was between 70 & 74 miles. In June, I hiked 73 miles with 20,100' of elevation gain.

 For the month I had 12 days hiking. Eight days have trip reports. In July I had my first two backpacking trips in two years. One was very good and the other was fantastic. I started on an overnighter with Gary to the Teanaway. My first ascent of Devil's Head then Bean and Iron Peaks. Gary & I did a 4500' gain trip up Lookout Mountain. It was only my second visit and Gary's first in 29 years. I had a 13 mile trip to the Kendall Katwalk & Ridge Lake. Gary & John joined me for a trip to Mt. Rainier for Palisades Lake & Slide  Mountain. My second and their first visit to Slide Mt. The month ended with a terrific 4 day backpacking trip. We had done the Pilot Ridge-White Pass Loop before but added more of the White Chuck Moraine this time. Stunning scenery. 
For July I hiked 116 miles with 37,700' of gain. The gain was my highest for one month ever.

The month had 7 days hiking and 4 days had trip reports. What is usually one of my best months was perhaps my worst. I had the second fewest miles and the least elevation gain. I did three close in hikes. The others had trip reports. A 16 mile hike to Wallace & Jay Lakes was my second longest day hike. Gary joined me for a trip to Ignoble Knob up Ranger Creek. On a smoky day I hiked the Snoqualmie Tunnel. A small hole in the smoke allowed me to add Lodge Lake. 
For August I hiked 71 miles with 14,600' of gain.

Four of my 9 trips have trip reports.
Gary and I did Frog Mt. and Heybrook Ridge. His first time on both and my first at Heybrook Ridge. Mt. Teneriffe at 13 miles with 4400' of gain was a tough day. Kim joined me for a Wallace Falls & Lake Loop trip. After 3 more close in hikes, Gary joined me for a trip north to Excelsior Peak. Some fall colors and early snow. Very surprisingly, neither of us had done it previously.   September was great and each of the next 3 months had increasingly more miles.  For the month I hiked 89 miles with 22,600'

I hiked 10 times and six have trip reports. The month started with a spectacular larch hike to Ingalls Lake.
The trees were right near their peak. Next was a 13 mile trip to Pratt & Tuscohatchie Lakes. I did a great mushroom hike at Cougar Mt. with Kim & Jon. I saw more mushrooms on a 10 mile Squak Mt. Loop. I did another Middle East Loop. This one was 12 miles. I finished the month with a second larch trip. This time Gary & John joined me for my third trip to Exclamation Point Rock this year. For the month I hiked  94 miles with 21,000' of gain.


I hiked 10 days in November and only three merited a trip report. No hike was farther away than North Bend. Three were headlamp hikes. Still, I managed my third most miles of the year. Trip reports included 15 miles on East Tiger the long way. I did a 12 mile big loop on Cougar Mountain.
The trails were buried with fallen leaves. The last report was a 12 mile trip up Mt. Si & Teneriffe Falls. Hiking 190 total mile in October and November gave me a shot at another 1000 mile year. I still needed a big 92 miles in December.  For the month I hiked 96 miles with 25,200' of elevation gain.


I hiked 12 days and five had trip reports. I was unable to hike the first 8 days of the month. Now I had only 23 days to get 92 miles to reach 1000. I hiked 12 of those last 23 days. It was a mad dash to the finish. My first report was for Grand Ridge. After heavy rains, the waterfalls were roaring. I headed north to the Chuckanuts for a Lost Lake-Rock Trail Loop trip for 12 miles. The trip that gave me a real shot at 1000 miles was a 17 miles hike up West Rattlesnake Mt. from Highway 18. The last 4 miles up had fresh snow. I reached 1000 miles with Gary on a Preston-Tiger123 one way trip. I made it with 3 days to spare. On New Years Eve I did my annual Tiger hike for the 40 time in the past 41 years. Gary and John joined me for a 10 mile loop over Tiger 321. December was my second best month for miles and elevation gain.  For the month I hiked 113 miles with 27,300' of elevation gain.

 My Top 10 Trips Of 2023
01. Pilot Ridge-NF Sauk Loop
Devil's Head, Bean, Iron Peaks
Three Brothers Mt.
Lookout Mt.
05. Ingalls Lake
06. Excelsior Peak
07. Amabilis Mt.

Palisades Lake-Brown Pk-Slide Mt
Ranger Creek-Ignoble Knob
West Rattlesnake Mt Via Hwy 18

All Trips - 2023