As a testament to my industrious nature, we’re 11 days into the new year and I still haven’t written my highly anticipated (by me) Favorite Hikes of 2010 post. Gadzooks! Last year I picked one hike for each month, but that proved too difficult this time around…so I picked one Washington hike for each month and then supplemented with other favorites.
The winter months of 2010 were particularly lazy for me, at least when it came to hiking. The weather was great on the weekdays so I did quite a lot of running (the first time in my life that I could enjoy that particular endeavor, thanks to my Vibram Five Fingers), but I seem to remember the weekends being crappy. Or maybe I just lacked motivation. Anyhoo, the big group cabin trip to Table Mountain takes first place in January, followed closely by a midweek jaunt up Mailbox Peak with my friend Ellie.
In February we took a backcountry travel class through the Washington Alpine Club so we could get some avalanche training. That took up most of our time, but we did get to sneak in a hike up Bandera Mountain, taking advantage of the lack of snow that season.
We spent the first weekend of March out with the WAC class, camping on Smithbrook Road and summiting Union Peak. This was to be our last hike of the month – our handsome little pup, Bobby, passed away and left us too sad to do anything at all. I miss that little guy so much.
In April I went on a last-minute trip to Norway to visit my parents. When I came back, JK and I decided to test the validity of my Norwegian genes by cross-country skiing up Amabilis Mountain. The results were questionable, but the weather was amazing. And then we went to Kaua’i. Mmm.
May was a great month. Still surfing the Hawaiian wave of sunshine and happiness, we went on a lot of dayhikes and I felt more clear-headed and energetic than I have in years. Huzzah! My favorite has to be Sauer’s Mountain with Dani and Josie. Gorgeous viewage and even greater girls!
My mojo was still going strong into June, so this is a hard month to pick a favorite. Hem, haw. I think I’ll go with the trip JK, Wellie and I took to the Teanaway to car camp and hike up Iron Peak. Runner up: Mary’s and Judy’s Peaks. And my surprise Poo Poo Point birthday party. Mmm, cupcakes. And the misty hike with Carlos up Mount Dickerman. Sometimes the company is more important than the views.
July was a busy month; I came home from a trip to California, JK’s mom came to visit, we went to a friend’s wedding on Vancouver Island, and then I was off to the Canadian Rockies. We did have time to play with Karen’s backpacking rafts at Blanca Lake, and to visit High Rock Lookout with JK’s mom.
Alta Mountain was fantastic, but my favorite (and so bittersweet) WA hike of August was taking Bobby’s ashes to his favorite little mountain, Noble Knob. It was a beautiful goodbye, and definitely a day I will never forget.
September was strange. Usually it’s the perfect time for hiking and backpacking in Washington, but I was fighting depression and the weather was total crap. Still, I can’t really complain about the beautiful sunset on Silver Peak and the gorgeous four-day trip to the Enchantments.
My parents came to see us in October, and for once we had amazing weather for their visit. We hiked with them in Paradise to Panorama Point and it was absolutely perfect. Then they went back to Norway, and I got the flu and a bad case of cabin fever.
By November I was feeling flabby and out of shape (and this was before the holidays – yikes!), but I managed to bully Jo into going on a beautiful (and life-affirming) midweek hike to Mount Pilchuck. That place is popular for a reason!
I had big plans for skiing and snowshoeing in December, but we spent most of the month eating Christmas cookies and playing Kinect. Oh well, we still had that beautiful day on Skyline Ridge. And Sky Mountain must have burned at least two of those cookies.
Even though I wimped out before we got to the most scenic part, the Kalalau Trail on Kaua’i was a wonderful experience. I forgot how nice it was to go backpacking but still be really warm.
Not exactly warm but definitely scenic, Panorama Ridge was my favorite hike of the whole year. Canada does not suck.
California ain’t too bad either. Even though the late snow kept us from hiking our planned lakebagger’s loop, the High Sierra scenery was to die for. Big Pine Lakes and Thousand Island Lake were both gorgeous hikes that I wouldn’t hesitate to repeat.
Even biblical swarms of mosquitoes and a mild case of food poisoning can’t keep me from mentioning the Canadian Rockies. Karen took me to one of her old favorites, Lake of the Hanging Glacier, and now that the swelling has gone down I am able to fully appreciate how beautiful it was. My other favorite was the short walk to Parker Ridge – you really don’t have to leave the highway to get good views in Banff!
JK’s Wife-Free Favorites:
I guess it’s only fair that JK got to go on some hikes without the ol’ ball and chain while I was off gallivanting around the world. He’s wanted to climb Mount Rainier since we moved here, and he finally got the chance while I was in California. John, one of his partners in climb (heehee), wrote a trip report here if you’re interested.
Three Fingers was another mountain that had been on JK’s list since before the dawn of time. I’m not quite ready to haul my acrophobic self up the ladders to that old fire lookout yet, so I was ok staying home with the flu for that one. Ok, so not really, but I’m glad he had a good time. See, I’m a good wife.
Man alive, this is getting long. This is the last category, I promise! I can’t leave TNAB hikes out of this list, they’re just too much fun. Everything (well, maybe not the death-by-cardio part) about them feels like a bonus since you’re merely investing a couple of evening hours instead of a whole day. Plus there’s booze. And sunsets. And excellent people. Bandera Mountain (wow, Bandera made it onto the list twice?) had all of this in addition to feeling like summer in May.
You know a hike must have been good if I puked while ascending but still list it as one of my favorites. Oh yes, Rampart Ridge was gorgeous enough to make up for the fact that I got to taste my green smoothie twice.
Mount Margaret took me by surprise; we had been there with TNAB in June but didn’t really have any views. In September we could see far into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, and we enjoyed one of the best sunsets of the year.
Last (phew!) but not least, the Winter Solstice TNAB at Hyak Lake – this one was all smiles from beginning to end. This might have been caused by our gløgg intake, but it still counts.
Writing this whole thing proved to be more exhausting than actually hiking, so I’ll just finish it up by saying thank you to all my hiking partners. Without you, 2010 would have sucked donkey balls. Onwards and upwards to 2011!