The Year In Review

2018 closed very strong. I averaged 92 miles per month in the fourth quarter. 105 miles in December was my highest month in  over three years. 29,200' of gain in December was the highest of the year. After a 960 mile year I planned to hike a little less in 2019. The fourth quarter momentum carried over into the new year. By the end of May I reached 1003 miles over the previous twelve months. That was only the third time in over 37 years that I have reached 1000 miles in 12 months. After that I did slow down a little. Late in the year family health and work requirements contributed to only 51 miles in October. That was the lowest mileage month since 51 miles in June 2015, a span of 40 months. I picked up the pace in December with my best mileage and elevation month of the year with 94 and  23,600'.  That makes two years in a row where December had the highest mileage and elevation gain. Bad weather and short days should  preclude it.

When the dust settled I hiked 910 miles with 230,200' of gain. Another excellent year. By the numbers that is my tenth consecutive year over 800 miles and my seventeenth consecutive year over 200,000' of elevation gain. I have been consistent. Now that I have passed the six decade mark my hiking seems to be just as strong as ever even if I am not quite there any more.

I aim for at least 10 new trails each year. I have been in the high teens and even low twenties the past couple decades. This year was harder. An 11-30 hike on the new Garfield Ledges Trail brought me to exactly ten new trips. My poorest year in decades but I did reach ten once again. Averaging abut 14 per year for the last decade that is about 140 new trails in that time. After 37 1/2 years it is not easy to get to new trails.

The big population increase, many of them younger, has meant many more folks on the trail. Once again a large number of my trips had a lot of solitude. I had a lot more hikes where I saw 2-10 people than dozens or hundreds. I even had quite a few where I did not see a single person all day. There are still a lot of trails that have not been popularized.  I have also hiked a number of old abandoned roads that are unknown to the mass of hikers. I don't mind seeing folks on the trail but I do plan to avoid the real crowds. Speaking of hiking trips, this was my second consecutive year with over 100 trips. My total of 102 was two less than in 2018 and only my third 100+ year ever.

This website  continues to grow. I added 55 new trip reports with photos this year. It now has 871 trip reports and 28,968 photos. I added 2,234 photos, an average of 40 per report. By year end the site is just 3 months short of its 18th birthday. Time sure flies.

I do not set a specific goal for miles, elevation, summits, or nights out backpacking each year. I just get out as often as possible. The one exception is trying to reach 10,000' of elevation gain each month. This is just an ongoing goal. If I do that it means I'm getting out often and staying in good shape. My streak is now at 172 months and counting. That is well over 14 years.

This was the tenth year I joined Gary, John, and David doing headlamp hikes from October to April. I managed to make about three mid week evening trips per month. Adding three trips per month for half the year really adds to my mileage and does a great job breaking up the week. It's also a whole lot of fun.

My one disappointment in 2019 was only getting in one backpacking trip. The last two years have been poor. The one trip we did was a blast. I did a different trip on Meadow Mountain with Kim in 2007. That one was great. So was this one. At least this one was four days long and not just an overnighter.

Well, enough of the old stuff. It's time to get down to a month by month review. This adds a little more info for trip planning compared to just reading my hiking log. Now it's time to get started with January of 2019.

I hiked 10 days in January.  Six close in trips and four that merited trip reports. The first trip of the year was to Blanchard Hill & Oyster Dome. That has become a winter favorite. A snow free trip with a lot of solitude. Next, Janet joined me for a snowshoe trip up Diamond Head. Views above the clouds. Five of us headed to Nordic Pass and met David Baxter who also jointed us.  Less than ideal snow but enough. My last trip report was for Chuckanut  Mountain. A loop trip down the Rock Trail. For the month I hiked 86 miles with 21,100' of elevation gain.

In February I had five trips with trip reports plus a trip report for the new tunnel under Seattle and the Alaskan Way Viaduct before it was demolished. First was the tunnel & viaduct. A chanced to walk the new tunnel and say goodbye to the old viaduct. Next was a rare report for Tiger Mountain. Snow almost the  entire trip. The next day Seattle was hit by a big snowstorm. My next report was in Seattle. I took advantage of the snow to do a 5 mile ski trip through  NW Seattle. With snow hanging around, I did reports for two close in hikes. First 12 miles on Grand Ridge then Tiger Mountain. Even the low elevation hikes were on snow. My last trip report was for Margaret's Way with a stop at Central Peak. For the month I hiked 67 miles with 16,800' of gain.

I started the month with a 10 mile snowshoe trip to Kelcema Lake. My first visit in several decades. Good snow and few people. The next week I went back with Gwen. Sunnier but very soft snow. We did not quite reach the lake. A trip to Grand Prospect was on snow all the way. I returned to Taylor Mountain and found several new trails. My last trip report was for Wallace & Jay Lakes. I went up and down the road and made for a long 17 mile day. I hiked 10 days this month adding up to a second best 92 miles with 18,700' of gain. That is a very big March for me.

Four of my eight trip in April have trip reports. The first was a 10 mile Cougar Mountain hike with lots of early wildflowers. Next was a short hike on Tiger. It ended with  my car's alternator dead. I had to be towed to Issaquah for repairs. My next report is for a trip I saw 30 years earlier in the book "Footsore". I road walked to an old lookout site on Frailey Mountain above the NF Stillaguamish Valley. I reached the tower and continued to the real summit.  My last trip report was for a trip to Sage Hills near Wenatchee with Janet and Steve. Really spectacular wildflower display. For the month I hiked 67 miles with 15,400' of gain.

I had five trip reports out of nine trips in May. The first was a return hike on the Westberg Trail to the observatory. Some good wildflowers and views. Few folks seen beyond the ridge top. I took the Boy Scout Trail on the way down for the first time. Next came another trip to Exclamation Point Rock. John's first visit and Gary's second. Hot day with wildflowers and no people. I wanted a lot of elevation gain and returned to South Bessemer Mountain for the first time in a dozen years. Snow the last mile. More solitude and 4100' of gain. I did a second loop trip to Fragrance Lake and the Rock Trail. A really fun day. Lastly was another trip to Lake 22. I get there almost every year. 7:30 am at the trailhead got me the last parking spot. Beautiful day.   For the month I  hiked 81 miles with 20,900' of elevation gain.

Eight our of nine trips had trip reports. My favorite's included Iron & Jester Peaks. A good windflower show. I stayed in town to walk the Seattle waterfront and document the viaduct demolition. Gary and I did a double scramble of Bean and Earl Peaks. Kim and I did Thunder Creek and Knob. My first hike of Thunder Knob. I did two hikes to Little St. Helens another first time trip. Spectacular beargrass trip.   I hiked 73 miles with 18,500' of elevation gain.

Warm mid summer of a smoke free year and I did a yearly low of only five trips. One was a four day backpacking trip. Four have trip reports. First was Mt. Aix with Gary & John. I did it with Gwen in 2013. Gary and I did it in 2002, the first year of this website. A great trip I have not done as often as I should. It is a long drive and a long hike with 4500' of gain. Gary, John, and I had a great time. We took the shortcut route up and the old route down. We saw only a couple groups all day long. Next was a real favorite. A loop trip up Iron Peak then up and over Bean Peak. Really good wildflower display. My one backpacking trip was to Meadow Mountain. Great weather. My first visit since 2007 though by a different route. Great views, a lake, and few people for a mid summer trip. Lastly, Kim and I went to Thorp Mountain and Lake. Good wildflowers and great summit views. My first visit to the lake. For July I hiked 74 miles with 23,300' of gain.

The month had 9 trips and 6 had trip reports. Gary and I did a trip I have planned for several decades. Somehow I never managed to do it. Trappers Peak is a great scramble. it includes a high in the sky ridge walk and then terrific views of North Cascades peaks. Kim and I hiked to Crystal Lakes and up to the ridge. A very misty day. I made my second visit to Thompson Lake. It is unusual to gain 4200' on a lake hike. Kim and I visited Monte Cristo. My first trip since the superfund clean up. We found a bit of the old railroad grade too. My last trip report was for Janus Lake and beyond. Very few folks seen on the PCT on a summer weekend. For August I hiked 80 miles with 21,700' of gain.

I only did six hikes and only three warranted trip reports. Life started to interfere with hiking. Gary joined me for a Wallace Falls and Lakes trip. I get this trip in most years. Next came a trip with Gary to Mt. David. It is a real favorite. One we planned the last few years but did not get done. A long drive followed by 14 miles with 5800' of gain is challenging. Even at our advancing ages we did fine. The ridge walk is one of the best. Last was a trip up West Rattlesnake Mountain from Highway 18. The long way to do it. Near total solitude on this 17 mile hike. Since I did not get in many hikes I wanted a long one. For the month I hiked 71 miles with 17,900'

Life really got in the way this month. A forty month low for miles hiked. I did six hikes and four have trip reports. Two of them made my top ten. Kim and I spent a day hiking at Lord Hill. Just my second visit. Gwen and I headed north to Easy Pass. Some golden larch at the pass with great mountain views. A fraction of the crowds at nearby Maple Pass. I managed to get sick for the first time in quite a few years. After 2 weeks off I did a close in hike to Grand Ridge. Gary and I did a second trip to Exclamation Point Rock. This time the larch were golden. Total solitude, the rock, and golden larch. A great hike. I hiked only 51 miles with 12,100' of gain.


I hiked 8 days in November but only two merited a trip report. A lot of them were very close in trails. My longest trip with the most elevation gain was Mt. Teneriffe. I even stopped on the way home for a mile around Tradition Lake in light rain. I still had a chance of reaching 900 miles. It was really cold and windy on the summit. My other report was for Garfield Ledges & Cedar Butte. Garfield Ledges is a short new trail with great views from the top. Kim had never been up Cedar Butte. I needed a few more miles.   For the month I hiked 74 miles with 20,200' of elevation gain.


   I saved best for last. For the second year in a row December had more miles and elevation gain than any other month. With short days and bad weather that should not happen. I also had a high of 11 trips. Four had trip reports. First was a long 15 mile railroad grade hike along the Yakima River east of Cle Elum. I saw only a couple dog sled teams. Second was East Rattlesnake Mountain. Not many people after the Lower Ledge and not many folks there either. Strange to not see many folks on this trail. Fresh snow up high. Next Gary, John, and I did the Rattlesnake Mountain Traverse. Solid snow all along the ridge top. On the next to the last day of the year Gary, John, and I did a snowshoe trip to Kendall Lakes. Slow going in soft snow off the main track. I went over 900 miles that day. On New Year's Eve I did  hike on Tiger Mountain for the 36th time in 37 years. High winds kept me to Tiger 3 and 2 then down. No camera and no trip report for a rare time on NYE.   For the month I hiked 94 miles with 23,600' of elevation gain.

 My Top 10 Trips Of 2019
01. Meadow Mountain
02. Trappers Peak
03. Mt. David
04. Mt. Aix

05. Easy Pass
Bean & Earl Peaks
07. Sage Hills
08. Diamond Head via Pipe Creek
09. Exclamation Point Rock (Larch)
10. Little St. Helens

All Trips - 2019