Ten Year Anniversary

Wow! Amazing! This site is ten years old as of March 26, 2012. The years have just flown by. When I started the site I had zero knowledge of HTML. I just waded in and tried different things. In those days of dial up Internet the photos were small and the stories short. Online storage was tight. A lot has changed. Now folks check up on the site with their phones. Back in 2002 I only rarely took my film camera out on hikes. I had thousands or photos and a lack of interest in taking a camera on hikes I had photographed before. The Internet and digital cameras changed that immensely. My digital archive now holds nearly 60,000 photos. Yes, things are much different. But in some ways they are the same. June will mark 30 years since I graduated from college and began hiking regularly. The drive to explore or just to be in the mountains has never waned. This website has allowed me to record some fantastically beautiful places.

Along the way I have met and hiked with an untold number of people. Some are still friends and hiking partners decades later. The Internet has changed hiking forever. Instead of just the Mountaineers as a source of info and hiking partners now websites like NWHikers.net provide plenty of opportunities for new friends and copious hiking information. Thirty years ago I figured I was the only one crazy enough to head to the mountains most weekends. Now I know there are other equally nutty folks.

Since I kept records of all my hikes on paper for two decades before the Internet arrived, I was able to move all those records online. I can search for a specific trip and see the total miles and elevation gain I have accumulated over 30 years.  Below is a year by year record of trip reports posted since the start of this site.

An inventory of reports shows how the site has grown.

Trip Reports 2001 - 02
Trip Reports 2002 - 39
Trip Reports 2003 - 49
Trip Reports 2004 - 42
Trip Reports 2005 - 34
Trip Reports 2006 - 49
Trip Reports 2007 - 43
Trip Reports 2008 - 56
Trip Reports 2009 - 54
Trip Reports 2010 - 54
Trip Reports 2011 - 46
Trip Reports 2012 - 09
Total Reports      - 477

Features               - 37
Photos           - 13,300

Writing the report is the easy part. Sorting through one hundred or more photos to select the ones I want then resizing and adjusting poor exposures takes a lot of time. Putting the report together adds more. Somehow I have managed to add nearly one report per week to the site. I hope to continue that for a long time. The reports are primarily for me. It's an added bonus to be able to look back on memorable trips and share them with most anyone in the world. Based on feedback, it seems some others have found a thing or two to enjoy as well.

My equipment was changed over time too. My multi day backpacking weight was dropped considerably. Backpacking has become even more enjoyable. The last few years I have joined friends for mid week after work headlamp hikes. I never knew the fun I had been missing. My original 1.3 megapixel camera has long since been retired. My phone has 5 megapixels now. Adding a smartphone has allowed me to upload photos while still on the hike. Again, something I would not have imagined 10 years ago. These days I carry a Panasonic FZ28 point and shoot for most trips. With a zoom 35 mm equivalent of 27-486 it allows for great flexibility. On slower paced trips I have been using a Canon Rebel T2i DSLR. Much heavier but I notice a difference in quality. It's easy to tell which camera I used as the Panasonic's 4x3 size looks close to square vs. the Canon's wider 3x2 ratio.

Along the way I had the fun of being featured in the Seattle Times for the website. I occasionally have been recognized on the trail but not often. One reason is that I take the photos and I'm seldom in them. Another is that I'm most often out on a lesser traveled trail. Many trails are crowded these days but many more see very few visitors. I have at least a dozen trips each year where I never see another person all day. Popular trails are popular for a reason but too often it is just because they are close to Puget Sound cities. A glance at my trip logs should provide at least a few hikes most folks have never heard about.

Over the 10 years this site has existed I have seen a lot of other sites come and go. There are a few really good ones out there. Others may get there over time. More start with a burst of energy then fade away. As a society we seem to have short attention spans. Through it all, hiking has been and will continue to be where I find the most joy. Check back often. I hope this site will be much larger and still going strong on the 20th anniversary.

Jim Kuresman - 3-26-12