Monday, December 27, 2010

Looking Back: 2010 Hiking Review

Climbing the trail at McCall Point on a cloudy, wet, viewless February morning earlier this year, I couldn’t imagine how my year in hiking would turn out. I hadn’t been hiking in almost two months; rough weather and the holidays had seen to that. During that time, I sat inside and made a list of places I wanted to go. It was an ambitious list, and although I didn’t get to check many off my list, in 2010 I ended up hiking more miles, in more places, and with more people than ever before.

Looking back, I can’t even begin to pick highlights: the snow, goats, and granite beauty of The Enchantments and the rainy huckleberry meadows of Indian Heaven; the incredible color of Crater Lake and the dome of ocean fog while camping at Bayocean Spit; the high glacial austerity of Cooper Spur and the wildflower meadows of McNeil Point; the steep forest trails of the gorge and the open hillsides of the lower Deschutes. Mountains, coasts, deserts, flowers, forests, wildlife, and amazing friends – I was lucky to enjoy it all.

I’m working (slowly!) on a number of write-ups for the “Hikes Past” and “One Shot Wilderness” series. In the meantime, it’s been fun to look back at my list of hikes and remember all the great experiences I had.

Days spent on the trail: 45
Total mileage: 289 (6.42 average)
Elevation gain: 62,000 ft (1377ft average)
Most mileage in a day: 12
Largest gain in a day: 3000ft

Places Visited:
Columbia River Gorge: 17
Mt. Hood & Vicinity: 10
Oregon Coast & Beach: 6
Other Alpine & Sub-Alpine: 5
Other: 2
Hikes repeated within the year: 8, including McCall Point 3 times, Catherine Creek area 4 times

Hike Details:
Overnights: 11
New hikes (to me): 21
Solo hikes: 27
Number of different people I hiked with: 11
Toughest hike: Snow Lake to Colchuck Lake (Enchantments traverse)
Easiest hike: Toketee Falls (half mile, 200ft gain)
Animals seen: deer (over 25), mountain goats, marmots, black bear, pika, mink
Days with at least some rain: 10
Days with snow: 6
Thunderstorms: 2
Blisters: 1

Hiking isn’t about numbers, about how many miles you hike, or how much elevation you gain. While I can quantify my year in numbers, in the end, it’s the wealth of experiences I’ve had on the trail that I’ll remember most. Hiking, for me, fills not just a physical need but spiritual and psychological needs as well, and I’m blessed to live in a region saturated with premier hiking opportunities, with hundreds of places to get outside and get away. It’s raining again and the forecast calls for freezing nights and snow at 600ft. I hoped to get one more hike in this weekend, but I guess I’ll start putting together a destinations wish-list for next year…

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