The Year In Review

2008 was a good hiking year. I did have my first ever injury which kept me off the trail. I hobbled during the early part of summer before getting back to some more challenging trips. I had only 8 nights out backpacking but the 24 new trips I did were the most in decades. After some 1400 trips it's hard to find a lot of trails I have not yet been on. We had a very snowy winter and the high country was late melting out. Flowers were good but not great. I did keep up my streak of a winter/spring night on a Teanaway summit. This year I had company. Kim joined me for another trip to Sun Valley and the mountains of central Idaho. This year it was the White Clouds instead of the Sawtooths. I only had one larch trip but it was a good one. The year ended with a rush as I had a big November to reach goals of 700 miles and 200,000' gained. I made it with zero miles and only 1,000' to spare.

The year began with a snowy hike up Dirty Harry's Peak. Next came a new trip off Highway 97. We snowshoed in tons of new snow up the ridge above Hovey Creek. Gusto's first trip in the snow. He loved it. I skied to Windy Pass and it turned out to be the only ski trip of the year. Kim and I hiked up to Wallace Lake. Half the trip was on snow. Lastly was a hike to Cougar Mountain. More ice than I have ever seen in the Seattle area.

Low level snow and high avalanche danger led Suzanne and I to Oyster Dome. Snow began before the parking lot. Lots of snow higher up. Another snowshoe trip to Mt. Catherine was successful. Now I'm two for three. I made a second visit to Dungeness Spit with a group of nwhikers. There was lots of hotness. I have snowshoed up Mt. McCausland twice but this time we went to nearby Lichtenberg Mountain. The climb to Lichtenwasser Lake was more difficult than necessary. After a wrong turn we did find our way to the summit.

Another new trip was a loop around Tronsen Ridge. Fun route finding and nice views. Next was the first of a series of fire lookout snow trips. I have been to Red Top lookout in the summer via the short quarter mile trail. This time we came in via the NF Teanaway Road. It was a long day but well worth it. Sunshine, views, and 4200' of gain. Next was Evergreen Mountain. No sun, no views, half the distance of Red Top with even more elevation gain. Teanaway Butte was the last named bump in the Teanaway Valley I had not yet been up. We solved that problem and added Tarzan Butte as well. It's not worth a return but it was fun to get up it. The last trip was North Mountain just outside of Darrington. A snowy road walk then cross country up the ridge. We were stopped near the top as the small trees were nearly impassable.

I have been up Granite Mountain many times. For the first time I visited West Granite via the Pratt Lake Trail. Suzanne and I went up West Rattlesnake Mountain. Over seven feet of snow west of North Bend. Amazing! We tried out a new more direct route up Mt. Margaret avoiding the road walk. The route worked but too much soft snow stopped us near the false summit. Kim and I visited the Arboretum in Seattle and witnessed a bus stuck under a low overpass. I joined Kim, Janet, and Kirsten on a trip to Black Canyon east of the Cascades. Nice flowers. Last was a backpacking trip to the summit of Iron Peak. I managed to fall into Bean Creek and bash my knee. It was a month before I could walk normally. Getting down the mountain was a real chore.

After several weeks of hobbling around the house I joined Janet for a trip to Duffy Creek southeast of Wenatchee. It was over 100 degrees as I managed 5 miles and 400' of gain. Kim, Alexi, and I took the back way to the Whitechuck Bench Trail, avoiding the missing bridge. We had a tough time finding the trail before hiking several miles on it. A month after my injury I tried another snow trek up Mt. Ellinor. Fantastic glissade down. I was still much slower than the others.

We returned to the Teanaway area for a snow trip up Esmerelda Peak. Snow most all the way. Kim and I headed for an easier snow free trip to Boulder River. The waterfalls had plenty of water. I tried one more long trip with lots of elevation to Miller Peak via Highway 97. It was obvious I was not yet up to fast hiking with the regular gang and I did not do any more trips with them for most of the rest of the year. Janet and I did a gimp trip to Tronsen Ridge Flowers were good though not as good as the year before. Kim and I hiked up Mt. Baldy on Kachess Ridge. As usual on this trail, we did not see anyone else. The last trip of the month was to Crystal Lakes. Still some snow at the lakes. Another first time trip for me.

The month began with one of my favorite loops. Kim and I hiked up to Bean Creek Basin then up and over Bean Peak. We looped back via the Beverly Creek Trail. Pretty good flowers all the way around. I found another way to Noble Knob via the Dalles Ridge Trail. Much shorter than the Deep Creek Trail I've taken several times. The antidote to a very hot day was a visit to Rainbow Lake. Snow around the lake and no people. I went back to Bandera Mountain on a cloudy day and got above the clouds. Second visit to the real summit. Terrific beargrass fields. Kim and I hiked to the Thorp Mountain lookout via Knox Creek. Very nice flower show.

August was mostly about Idaho. Kim and I drove over and spent nine days. After a few days in Sun Valley we headed north. I planned another Sawtooth adventure but a fire caused part of the route to be closed. We improvised a trip to the White Clouds instead. It was terrific. First was two nights at Big Boulder Lakes. We camped at over 9000' and ventured up to over 10,000'. Only one other group seen at the lakes before we hiked out. On the way back we did a day hike to Born Lakes. Fantastic country. I hope to visit again. Before the long drive home we did one day hike out of Sun Valley. Pioneer Cabin is an old ski cabin sitting at 9460'. Great views of 12000' peaks across the valley. The month ended with a two night trip to Schaefer Lake. Not crowded on a Labor Day weekend. The month actually began with an overnight scramble of Bismark Peak. I had looked over to it from Mt. Aix a number of times. Fun scramble and zero other people.

I got out alone for a long day trip to Alta Mountain and Rampart Lakes. It was so cloudy near the summit I could not see much at all. I finally kocked off a trip I had planned on for a number of years. Thunder Mountain Lakes are as good as I hoped. Lots of scramble peaks around the lakes. Gary and I finally got out together. We headed east on a gloomy day to Navaho Peak. Gary and I had one more long day to Mt. David. Almost nobody else on the trail that day.

My larch trip this year was an overnighter. We headed up to Wing Lake in the North Cascades. Turned out to be a lot more snow than we expected. Crossing the boulder field on thin snow was an adventure. It was cold and sunny on day one, dark and cloudy on day two. Pretty good larch display. I finished the month on Mt. Pilchuck. Much of the trail was on solid ice. Good views on top.

This was one of my best Novembers with seven excellent trips. Kim and I returned to the Mt. Lillian Loop but with some larch trees this time. We went for Stillaguamish Peak again before the trailhead is moved farther away. Beautiful day with sun and fresh snow. Next Kim and I did a new trip on West Cady Ridge. More great views of Glacier Peak. It rained most of the day on the Goat Lake Trail but it was beautiful none the less. It was full on winter on the way to Wright Mountain. Snow from the parking lot. One last Teanaway trip up Earl Peak. Windy on top but less snow than expected. Another brand new trip was up to Squire Creek Pass. Amazing views of Three Fingers.

One last snow free trip to the mountains. We hiked up Putrid Pete's Peak then followed the ridge to Mt. Defiance. We finished the loop via the old Mason Lake Trail. Snow fell on the lowlands and getting out was tough for the rest of the month. I managed a number of hikes in the Issaquah Alps and one ski trip at Snoqualmie Pass. Four trips the last five days of the year allowed me to reach 700 miles and over 200,000' gained.

 My Top 10 Trips Of 2008
01. Big Boulder Lakes, ID
02. Red Top Lookout
03. Iron Peak
Born Lakes, ID
05. Bismarck Peak
06. Lichtenberg Mountain
07. Thunder Mountain Lakes
08. Wing Lake
09. Wright Mountain
10. Evergreen Mountain

All Trips - 2008