Monday, December 19, 2016

2016 - In Review

It was a different sort of year.

Short but Sweet

For various reasons, I didn't have the opportunity to take as many trips in 2016 as I did in the past few years. I don't regret my choices in the slightest (overall 2016 was a terrific year, and not just from an outdoor perspective), but because I took fewer trips, I had to make them count. 

Routes versus Trails

Over the past few years, I've gravitated toward a different sort of hiking. Rather than following defined trails, this choose-your-own-adventure style of hiking uses trails, canyon bottoms, dirt roads, friendly ridges, and cross-country travel to get from Point A to Point B.

2016 was the banner year for this kind of travel. Of the 11 overnight backpacking trips I did this year, only two of them followed trails the whole time. Another two followed well-defined canyons and common travel routes. The remainder, the majority, involved cross-country travel, route-finding, and general exploring. This sense of exploration, the next step in my development as a hiker, has been extremely rewarding.

Not just Backpacking...

Lest you think I'm a one-trick-pony (ok fine, I'm totally a one-trick-pony), I had a very enjoyable year's worth of non-backpacking activity as well. Whether it was finally knocking the Triple Traverse day hike off my list, taking a backcountry avalanche class, car camping in the desert with some friends, I had a great time.

The Measurables

  • Hiking shoes destroyed: 3 pair
  • Shoelaces snapped in the backcountry: 6
  • Trekking poles retired: 1 pair (finally - bought them prior to the AT in 2013)
  • Dorky floppy hats worn: 1
  • Fishing rods acquired: 1
  • Fish caught: 2

  • Overnight trips: 11
  • Sleeping bag nights: 34 
  • Nights spent under the stars: 14
  • Day hikes: I have no idea
  • Wasatch peaks (10,000+) summited: 12
  • States visited: 3
  • National Parks visited: 2
  • Solo trips:7
  • Trips with friends: 4 
  • Permits required: 2
  • Permits acquired: 1

  • Highest point: Granite Peak, 12,799 feet
  • Lowest point: Escalante River, 3800 feet
  • Highest point (metaphorical): Cirque of the Towers, covered in early-season snowfall
  • Lowest point (metaphorical): slipping and sliding through treacherous, sticky mud in Zion National Park
  • Most days spent without seeing a human: 5 
  • Longest waterless stretch: 20 miles
  • Heaviest packweight: 34 pounds (Hayduke Trail)
  • Lightest packweight:7 pounds (Death Hollow)
  • Longest Day: 21 miles, Leidy Peak Loop
  • Shortest Day: 5.5 Miles, Beartooth Fun Route

 Number of times...
  • In zero-visibility situations above treeline: 2
  • Hailed on: 3
  • Snowed on: 1
  • Spat on: 1 (by a llama)
  • Above 12,000 feet: 4
  • Hitchhiking: 6 
  • Picking up hitchhikers: 4
  • Disturbed by goats: 2
  • Disturbed by humans: 1

Enough of the bloviation. Photo time!

In January, I enjoyed a subtle but beautiful hike in Zion, and some treacherous and not-so-subtle mud.

In May, I visited Death Hollow, an instant favorite in the Escalante area.

In June, I completed a loop over Delano Peak in the Tushars of central Utah.

In July, I hiked a sublime route in the eastern Uintas...

 ...and another beautiful route in the central Uintas.

In August I did a quick overnighter in the western Uintas...

...and the most amazing trip I've ever taken, the Beartooth Fun Route.

In September, I hiked a loop around/over Wind River Peak...

...and a quick-hitter around the perimeter of Brighton Ski Area in the Wasatch.

In October I hiked a section of the Hayduke trail through south-central Utah...


...and in November I hiked Little Death Hollow. 

I'd say it's been a good year. I am blessed beyond what I deserve. Happy New Years!