Thirteen Year Anniversary

Lucky 13? This site is thirteen years old as of March 26, 2015. Most websites have a short life judging from all the dead links I remove and the new ones I add to my links page each year. If a site is not a money maker it's hard to continue maintaining it. Hard to keep adding more content year after year. So far that has not been a problem for me. I get out on the trail most weeks and have many photos to include in yet another trip report. Over those thirteen years I have written 632 reports which include  over 19,000 photos. I take photos to document my hikes rather than hiking to take photos. Hats off to the great outdoor photographers and their work. My photos are a way for me to remember trips and to document conditions as well.

Thanks to the Wayback Machine it is possible to see what Hiking Northwest looked like just a few weeks after the debut. Okay, so color choices were not my strong suit. Content has always been my main objective. Those 632 trip reports average to 48.6 reports per year. Nearly one per week year round. That takes a lot of time. In my opinion, time well spent. Since i graduated from college nearly 34 years ago, hiking has been my main interest.

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 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 - 49
Trip Reports 2013 - 50
Trip Reports 2014 - 53
Trip Reports 2015 - 12
Total Reports      - 632

Features               - 46
Photos           - 19,242

After all these years it gets harder and harder to hike new trails in the Washington Cascades. My goal each year is to hike ten new trails. I've done a little better than that adding nearly 200 new trails since this site was established. That still leaves 70+ trips each year that are repeats. Going back to the same place has never been a problem for me. The conditions are often different. A sunny day by a lake can also be a sub freezing day on snowshoes. The same destination but a very different experience. Sometimes I have a great trip and plan to come back the next year. When I do return it might be 15 years later. Such is the bounty of living close to thousands of miles of trails. I still have not hiked the far northeast and southeast corners of the state.

Through hiking I have met a lot of great people. Some have become lifelong friends. I have always done a lot of solo hikes but in recent years, thanks to the Internet, I have found a number of friends I hike with often. I really enjoy the group hikes and I still enjoy being alone on the trail. Many hikes near Seattle are very crowded. I have found it easy to avoid the crowds. Getting off the most well known trails offers a great deal of solitude. As of this writing I have seen no other hikers on four of my last five hikes.

While most of my hikes are in Washington state I have really enjoyed out of state trips. I have done one trip to the Sierra Mountains and 17 hikes and backpacking trips to the mountains of central Idaho. I hope to find the time for more out of state trips in the future.

The site has changed in a number of ways over the years. Dial up Internet led me to have only a few small photos at first. Larger photos would load line by line on the low resolution screens. That has changed. I now can put up 30+ photos in higher resolution. My first trip report has photos sized 424 x 285. Today I use 800 x 600. I need to go back and replace those photos with larger ones. When I find the time. Although I have had offers to put ads on my site I have always said "no". It may not be fancy but I have chosen to pay the costs instead of filling it with ads.

Well, that about takes care of it. Thirteen years of hiking and posting trip reports distilled down to a few paragraphs. I have enjoyed each and every hike and felt the satisfaction of building a site with a whole lot of hiking content. Check back often. New reports are put up nearly weekly. It will be fun to see what it looks like on the 20th anniversary.

Jim Kuresman - 3-26-15