The Year In Review

2013 was a very good hiking year. After two consecutive years with over 90 trips, 900 miles, and 250,000' of elevation gain I purposely slowed down just a little. I did get in 18 mid week after work hikes with Gary, John, and David. Most required headlamps. They not only break up the work week, they also add about 7 miles and 2400' on average. I was able to take off more weekend days and still get in a lot of trips. Burnout is always a fear. I have managed to keep up my regular hiking for 32 1/2 years now without burning out. Easing off a little helps a lot in the long run.

I did not get in as many backpacking trips as hoped. Still, the ones I did were excellent. Three nights in the Pasayten was the longest. The two night Goat Rocks trip covered 35 miles with almost 10,000' of gain. On the Bald Eagle Trail Kim and I ended up camping in the middle of the trail by necessity. Kim and I also rode bikes down the Suiattle River Road again for a camp and hike up Sulphur Mountain. The big disappointment was canceling my backpacking trip to the White Cloud Mountains in central Idaho for the second year in a row. Another bad fire caused a last minute cancellation once again.

Another big snow year meant no early snow free hikes. The wildflower show was pretty good this year. I surpassed my annual goal of 10 new trails with 13 this year. I had 35 solo trips and 50 with other folks. That is less solo than in quite a few years. I hope to hike as often as possible each year but do not set any minimums. Anything over 600 miles is great. 200,000' of gain is terrific. As it works out I have gone over 700 miles 9 years in a row and over 200.000' of gain 11 years in a row. One goal I do aim for is at least 10,000' of gain each month. December brought me to an even 100 months in a row dating back to September 2005. I did not have a big mileage month. For the first time in 5 years I did not hike 100 miles in any month. After 32 years of logging my hikes I have lots of statistics. My final totals were 85 trips, 809 miles, and 220,000' of elevation gain. In sum, it was a great year on the trails. Now onto a month by month recap and my top ten trips.

I started the year with an icy hike up Mt. Si. The old trail was closed due to a plane crash. I hiked up Mt. Washington during an inversion. 20 degrees warmer on top. Puget Sound was buried under low clouds. Three hikes on Tiger Mountain rounded out the month. I spend a week in Mexico and missed two full weekends. Only 41 miles with 13,600' of gain.

The month began with a group snowshoe hike up Dixie Peak. Dixie is between Mt. Si and Mt. Teneriffe. I had not yet been up it. Lots of snow and minimal visibility from the top. Another big group for a snowshoe ascent of Welldiggers Ass near Stevens Pass. My second ascent. I checked out the road to trail conversion of the Granite Creek Road. Deep snow before Granite Lakes turned me back even with snowshoes.  One more group snowshoe to Red Mountain near Salmon La Sac. Three tries and no clear views once again.  An easy day hike took Kim, Jon, and I to the Lime Kiln
Trail. Several close in and several headlamp hikes rounded out a very good February. 74 miles with 21,400' of gain.

March is usually a below average month. This year was an exception. I had the most trips, most miles, and second highest elevation gain. A snowshoe trip to Teanaway Butte reminded me just what a long road walk that is.  We had a beautiful sunny day for a snowshoe trip to Mazama Ridge. A short but very sweet trip. By mid month on Squak Mountain we finished a headlamp hike without needing headlamps. A trip up East Tiger Mountain was notable for all the rime ice up high and blooming skunk cabbage down low. My one cross county ski trip was on another sunny day at Amabilis Mountain. John joined me for my second ascent of West Granite Mountain. A fun route that avoids the crowds on main Granite. I finished the month with my first trip on the new Pratt River Connector trail. Exploring for a possible trip on the long abandoned Pratt Valley trail. 85 miles with 22,200' of gain.

I returned to the Pratt Connector trail with Kim. This time there was fresh snow. Last year I went to Squak Mountain and hiked with a race going on. This year I managed to return on the day of the race. Hard to believe I hit it two years in a row. Gwen convinced me to head east for early spring flowers. My first visit to Sauer Mountain was filled with blooming wildflowers. I finished the month with a tour of the east side of Tiger Mountain. No crowds over there. 59 miles with 14,000' of gain.

I hiked up to Lake 22 on a warm spring day. Bare until near the lake then 5 feet of snow. Lots of avalanches coming down behind the lake. Janet and I headed east to Black Canyon. 84 degrees was the warmest day of the year so far. Good wildflowers. Then came Keystone Point. I survived. That was a major accomplishment. The hike is next to the Columbia River north of Wenatchee. Steep as can be. No shade all day. 90 degrees. Never again. The month ended with my second visit to Ingalls Creek. Excellent wildflowers once again. 52 miles with 14,400' of gain.

The month began with an unusual trip. I won a contest and was paid to hike up Mt. Si and give out Grape Nuts cereal. They supported Jim Whittaker's first American to ascend Mt. Everest expedition. This marked the 50th anniversary. Gwen agreed to come along as my Sherpa. We counted 500 hikers. Gary, John, and I went to Mt. Rainier to snowshoe up Tamanos Mountain. A beautiful sunny day. I hiked to Tuscohatchie Lake and scouted near Pratt Lake for the upper end of the long abandoned Pratt River Trail. I found it and it was in good shape. After 11 years I made another hike up Mt. Aix. Gwen joined me. A long drive and a long day. Near total solitude and a fun scramble summit. I made my annual hike into Rainbow Lake and dropped down to Blazer Lake too. The old route to Blazer is in good shape for another year. 79 miles and a yearly best of 26,500' of gain.

Fourth of July weekend I joined Janet and Gwen on another trip to Horseshoe Basin in the Pasayten. A four day backpack with one totally new trail and summit. Gwen, Kim, and I headed for a Highway 2 hike I had never done. Up to Fortune Ponds. Near total solitude once again. Great forest, ponds, and we passed through "Fort Ass". Check the trip report for an explanation. I hiked a new trail for the third trip in a row as Kim and I did an overnight backpack on the Bald Eagle Trail. Trail was blocked  by steep snow and we camped on the trail. The only flat spot for miles. Near total solitude once again. The month ended with a fourth new trail in five trips. I have been to Spray Park before but never a loop trip via Knapsack Pass. The wildflowers were spectacular. Some very nice trips but I was not out as much as in most July's. 75 miles with 16,300' of gain.

Summer in the Cascades. Kim and I did another loop via Melakwa and Pratt Lakes. We had a short drive to close the loop. Kim and I repeated a trip from 2007. We biked the Suiattle River Road and camped at the end. Day two we hiked up Sulphur Mountain and biked out. Some clouds but much better summit views this time. Again, we saw nobody on the trail. 4700' was my biggest one day gain of the year. Another outstanding backpacking trip with Gary and John. We covered 35 miles with 9500' of gain in three days in the Goat Rocks. It was very warm. Spectacular views from Old Snowy and another new trail section. 64 miles with 18,100' of gain.

Gwen joined me for a near annual event. We scrambled up Bean Peak in the Teanaway. It was one of only three trips off the NF Teanaway Road this year. Great summit views, near total solitude, and a loop trip down Beverly Creek. Now we finally did the trip I spent several earlier hikes scouting out. A one way trip from I-90 to the MF Snoqualmie via the old Pratt River Trail. Kim and Gwen joined me and we did a key exchange with Monty. A lot of history on a long abandoned trail so close to Seattle. The Forest Service has built the Pratt Connector along the MF and has signed the upper end at Pratt Lake. It may not be abandoned much longer. I checked the possibility of fording the MF back in the late 1980s to reach the Pratt Valley. It was fun to finally hike a trail I wanted to visit for 25 years. A very temporary opening of the Circle Creek Road gave Kim, Gwen, and I a chance to day hike to Circle Peak. My second visit and the first time to the old lookout site on the real summit. The month closed with my first headlamp hike of the fall to Bandera Mountain. 70 miles with 16,900' of gain.

The beginning of October brought more than a foot of snow on the Kendall Katwalk. Lots of other folks hiked up that day. Mid month Gary and I headed to Ingalls Lake for the annual larch viewing hike. The trees were golden but not as bright as other years. We had snow in the basin. During an inversion I headed north to Blanchard Hill and Oyster Dome for a loop trip. I climbed above the clouds into a sunny day. Back at the car it was dark and gray. Another inversion day took us to the Walt Bailey Trail and Bald Mountain. Sunny and warm above the dark haze below. I went back to the Granite Lakes road/trail conversion. No snow this time. I took the shortcut from the MF and continued on for my first visit to Thompson Lake. I had looked down on it before it was fun to finally reach it. 64 miles with 19,300' of gain.

Mid November is usually late to reach Goat Lake but Kim and I had only a little snow on the trail near the lake. Great mushrooms which I found on nearly every fall hike. Janet and I had another loop hike to Oyster Dome. Really fantastic mushrooms all along the trail. The last memorable trip of the month was my first visit to Skyline Lake near Stevens Pass. Snowshoes needed. Great views from the ridge top. A very sunny November day.  Four more close to town hikes rounded out the month. 68 miles with 17,900' of gain.

I returned to Lake 22 with Gwen. Thermometer read 5 degrees at the lake. The second coldest trip I have ever done. Beautiful but extremely cold with ice all over the trail. I had a good loop trip to Wallace Lake and Falls. I saw very few people for most of the day. I had a high elevation gain day on Tiger Mountain with a 10 mile and 3600' gained loop. Another very cold day. The year ended with two more Tiger Mountain trips. Up East Tiger and Sally's Summit and then my annual New Years Eve Tiger Hike. Gary, John, and I did a one way trip on the south side of the mountain. A new summit and trail section for me. That marked my 30 NYE hike on Tiger in 31 years. That wrapped up another fine year of hiking. 78 miles with 19,400' of gain.

 My Top 10 Trips Of 2013
01. Goat Rocks Loop
02. Horseshoe Basin
03. Pratt River Trail
04. Spray Park Loop

05. Sulphur Mountain
06. Mt. Aix
07. Ingalls Lake
08. Tamanos Mountain
09. Sauer Mountain
10. Bald Eagle Trail

All Trips - 2013