Once again it’s time for our year end review post. Each year has a bit of a different feel to it, but this year was especially so. This was by far the most challenging year we’ve faced in terms of being able to visit the trails we’d planned on. A heavy winter snow pack lingered delaying access to many areas. Then an unusually bad fire season closed much of the Mt. Jefferson and Three Sisters Wilderness areas as well as parts of the Columbia Gorge. Snow returned in mid-September causing more changes to our plans. In the end plans for 39 of our originally scheduled 63 days of hiking were pushed out to future years as well as 2 additional short hikes that were part of multi stop days. Plans for another 12 of those days were shifted around on the schedule which meant that only 10 of our originally planned days occurred as we had envisioned them in January. We had also planned on spending 18 nights backpacking but wound up with a measly 3 nights in the tent. Despite all the issues we actually managed to end the year having hiked on 64 days and covered 751.6 miles.
Here is a look at where we wound up. The blue hiker symbols denote trailheads and the two yellow houses are the approximate location of our two backpacking campsites.
Due to the issues with access to so many locations the mix of hikes this year was very different. An example of this is the average high point of our hikes:
Jan.-Apr. 1444′ 1776′
May 2718′ 2355′
June 4900′ 3690′
July 5553′ 6530′
August 6419′ 3048′
Sept. 6400′ 4175′
Oct. 4886′ 3484′
Nov.-Dec. 2042′ 750′
Another example is our mileage distribution:
Jan.-Apr. 9.19% 9.74%
May 13.57% 14.14%
June 13.75% 13.50%
July 13.75% 19.15%
August 19.33% 6.07%
Sept. 14.13% 23.28%
Oct. 12.17% 10.36%
Nov.-Dec. 4.11% 3.75%
As you can see August was way off the norm with many of those miles coming in September this year. Several wildfires were burning by then and we also changed some plans due to work and family commitments. Finally we chose to stick close to home the weekend of the solar eclipse .
On many occasions we visited multiple trailheads in a single day. We had been slowly increasing the frequency of doing so but this year 25 of our 64 days included more than one stop. In fact we stopped at a total of 106 trailheads this last year.
None of that made it a bad year, it just felt very different. The 64 hiking days was the most we’ve managed in a single year and the 751.6 miles was second only to 2016s 792.8 We managed to make decent headway on our quest to visit all of Oregon’s 45 visit-able wilderness areas by checking 8 more off the list. Rock Creek (post), Spring Basin (post), Wild Rogue (post), Grassy Knob (post), Bridge Creek (post), Clackamas (post), North Fork John Day (post), and Cummins Creek (post).
This year we made use of guidebooks by four different authors as well as a few websites. Most of our destinations can be found in William L. Sullivan’s 100 Hikes in Oregon guidebooks (information) but we also made use of Scott Cook’s “Bend, Overall“, Matt Reeder’s “101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region“, and Bubba Suess’s “Hiking in Northern California“.
A special thanks goes out to Bubba Suess and his Hike Mt. Shasta website for his suggestions and input on our visit to the Mt. Shasta area in July. On that trip we visited four of California’s wilderness areas: Russian (post), Castle Crags (post), Trinity Alps (post), and Mt. Shasta (post). Our visit the the Trinity Alps brought us to the most southerly point while hiking to date. We also reached our highest elevation on that trip when we hiked to the top of Mt. Eddy (post) and saw our first rattle snake along the PCT (post).
We also set a new mark for the western most point reached on a hike when we visited Cape Blanco in May (post).
One way that this year was no different than previous years was that we once again saw and experienced many things for the first time during our hikes. It’s not surprising that we saw new things given that 57 out of our 64 days were comprised of entirely new sections of trail and none of the other 7 were exact repeats. In fact only about 17.2 miles retraced steps from previous hikes which works out to less than 2.5% of our total mileage for the year.
Some new flowers for us included:
Butter and eggs – Yontocket
Tomcat clover – Rough and Ready Botanical Wayside
Dalmation toadflax – Cottonwood Canyon State Park
Heart-leafed milkweed – Applegate Lake
California groundcones – Jacksonville
Geranium – Lost Creek Lake
Geranium – Round Mountain
Rockfringe willowherb – Mt. Eddy
Leopard Lily – Trinity Alps Wilderness
There were a few new critters too:
Bullock’s Oriole – Cottonwood Canyon State Park
Big horn sheep – Cottonwood Canyon State Park
Sheep moth – Grasshopper Meadow
Pigeon guillemot – Yaquina Bay
Egret – Cape Disappointment State Park
Caterpillar – Cape Disappointment State Park
As is often the case we started and ended our hikes at the coast.
Baker Beach in January
Ona Beach in December
In between we visited some pretty amazing places. Here are just a few of the highlights:
Palisades – Clarno Unit, John Day Fossil Beds, April
Hedgehog Cactus – Spring Basin Wilderness, April
Fern Canyon – Prairie Creek State Park, May
Tall Trees Grove – Redwoods National Park, May
Crack in the Ground, Christmas Valley, May
Wildflowers on Lower Table Rock, Medford, June
North Point – Bridge Creek Wilderness, June
Upper Linton Falls – Three Sisters Wilderness, July
View from the Summit of Mt. Eddy, July
Caribou Lake – Trinity Alps Wilderness, July
Fireweed along the Vista Ridge Trail – Mt. Hood Wilderness, August
Whale – Yaquina Head, August
Horseshoe Meadow – Mt. Adams Wilderness, September
Bull elk – Clatsop Spit, September
Blue Basin – John Day Fossil Beds, September
Baldy Lake – North Fork John Day Wilderness, September
Dead Mountain Trail – Willamette National Forest – October
Mt. Hood from Tom Dick and Harry Mountain – Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, October
Cummins Creek Wilderness, November
It is only a small sample of the amazing diversity that we are blessed with here in the Pacific Northwest. We are looking forward to discovering more new places next year, hopefully with less disruptions to our plans (including not tossing my camera into any rivers). Happy Trails!