2018 Backpacking- Happy New Year

11:03 a.m. on December 31, 2018 (EST)
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Happy New year to all!

I don't post reports like I used to, but I thought it would be fun to share a single picture from each month; a calendar for fun. 

For various reasons I finished a little under my normal volumes but still managed 34 backpacking trips, covering roughly 916 miles, and spent about 62 nights out. It was one of the wettest years I can remember; my notes indicate that I had some precipitation on 31 of 34 trips. 

In preparation for my big trip in 2018 I did a lot of off-trail and the major highlight of the year was that trip: The Wind River High Route (Skurka version). Wow...still buzzing from that one. 

My full year's photos are here: https://patricktn.smugmug.com/2018

But here are my "calendar" choices for 2018, feel free to add your favorite 2018 pics and recaps!


I've chosen a sunrise from Gregory Bald in the GSMNP:


This one is not the best picture quality but it encapsulates a special memory for me. This is my wife Susan grinding up a steep slope, wearing her homemade plastic rain skirt, in a cold February rain, on what was an almost entirely off-trail trip in the Big South Fork TN/KY. No doubt this woman loves me!


Here I'm going with a resting Elk in Catalooche NC



Hard to pick one from April because of the beautiful spring flowers but I'm going with a view from the Mountains To Sea trail in NC.



Here I went with a view up a Camel Gap creek while off-trail in the GSMNP


This is another Gregory Bald shot from GSMNP showing late color on a Flame Azalea with Cades Cove out of focus in the background.


This is interesting atmospheric moment from Slick Rock wilderness in NC.


I have to go with a Wind River picture here. I have to. This is me at Alpine Lakes.


I call this "Spider in the Mist". :) This was somewhere on the AT. 



This is from a trip with Phil May in Pisgah NF. I love how put-together his kit is. 


This is what I call a cloud-bow. This one was in Cades Cove GSMNP.


This picture makes me laugh; it was really hard to get as I only had my phone to use as I held on to a icy cold wet rope to lower myself down Maude's Crack in the Big South Fork TN/KY. 

Happy trails!

2:39 p.m. on December 31, 2018 (EST)
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That campsite on Brush Mt by South Fork Creek is a fave.  I was there recently and found some busy beavers carved up and left camp utensils---Here's your pic of the camp---



Your Mt Collins trek was during the tough NC storm which caught me on Bob Bald where I hunkered in for 7 days waiting for the Icestorm to end so I could cut my way out.

Here's what the Bob looked like---

Notice all the collapsed ice-loaded trees.  Here's what that trail off the Bob looked like, basically---

I had to spend 3 days cutting the way out with my folding saw---on Trail 54A down to Cold Gap.

2:51 p.m. on December 31, 2018 (EST)
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Wow Tipi that was some outing you had! I thought I had messed up big-time on the Mt Collins trip; I've yet to miss work or have to send a message that I won't make it out on time from a trip and I thought that might be the first. The pictures I have are from before the big snow. I woke up early in the morning to solid knee-deep snow around the shelter site. I didn't get any good pictures of the deep stuff because I headed out before dawn and it was still coming down pretty good. I was making way less than 1 mile per hour and had 12 miles to get back to the car. Luckily, as I descended in elevation the snow level went down too. By the time I was all the way down to the road it was only an inch deep.  Avoiding the "snow-downs" was difficult but it wasn't ice like you had. 

3:14 p.m. on December 31, 2018 (EST)
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What's weird about that storm is that is was strickly a North Carolina event---because once I got off the Bob and reached Beech Gap and walked a couple miles down the Skyway to Jeffrey Hell into TN there was no snow and no snowdowns or tree damage.  It was strange.

I figured once the storm hit I'd see all sorts of backpacking snow bums who love snow on the high ground but didn't see a soul---and the hike in from Beech Gap to Cold Gap---usually a walk in the park---had its own terrible problems---

A buddy of mine named Clusterone took these pics AFTER I did all my cutting and got out---and he came up afterwards---the first shows the trail in from Beech Gap---

This pic shows the rhodo section on 54A---


6:32 p.m. on December 31, 2018 (EST)
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You do alright for a man holding down a full time job Pat :) Thanks for sharing what you do here. Wish more folks would take the time to post a pic or spin tales of adventure.

I did a quick survey of my trip reports and see I managed at least 35 trail nights this year though there were maybe a few more I missed and that doesn't count back yard camping. Seeing as my season ended early due to the freaky weather that's not bad, but I was sort of hoping for at least 28 more. Maybe next year.

5:23 a.m. on January 1, 2019 (EST)
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I am in awe of all of you that have a good number of nights out and those that had only one trip.This has been the hardest year for me...No bag nights due to family and friends needing my help....2018 Iam glad is gone...2019 looks like I am going to try and make it my epic year......Awesome pictures everyone...Thanks for sharing them

8:55 a.m. on January 1, 2019 (EST)
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Sounds like it was a good one Patman! I don't get out nearly so many nights out but try to make up for it with day trips and trail running. Strava informs me that I have logged 1792 km with about 49,150 m of vertical in 2018, but that's only whatever I recorded as a run -- I'd have to manually add up my hiking and skiing distance and elevation. A big year because of my research leave in the SW for the first 7.5 months, then things slowed down quite a bit once I got back to Norway for the autumn semester. I've TRed most of my overnight outings for the year, so here are monthly photos from some day trips.

January 14, Rincon Peak near Tucson. (Note the swag: my oldest TS runner's cap and Leki poles and Montane runner's pack from review corps assignments)
Rincon-Peak.jpgFebruary 18: My wife emerging from a fire-hollowed alligator Juniper in the Gila Mountains, NM.
Alligator-J-2.jpgMarch 21: On Cathedral Rock in Sedona, AZ, with wife, daughter, and son-in-law in there somewhere
Cathedral-Rock-view-1-.jpgApril 14: Yours Truly swimming in Hutch's pool in the Santa Catalina Mountains outside Tucson
YT-Hutch-s-Pool.jpgMay 11 Nancy in the windows in Spooky Gulch in Southern Utah in the interlude between our Paria and Cataract Canyon trips
Spooky-windows.jpgJune 30: A solo campsite above Copper Creek, near the Rocky Mountain Biological lab
Copper-Creek-camp.jpg4th July: Friends and colleagues Courtenay, Ben, and Lars on Galena Mountain, also near RMBL
Courtney-Ben-Lars-on-Galena.jpgAugust 12: For most of our last days in Tucson we were trapped indoors by the heat and packing up for the return to Norway, but here's view down on Jacumba Hot Springs, from an early morning run on a stopover on the drive to LAX:

September 9: Viewpoint Snøhetta in the Dovre Mountains, my friend and colleague Brian smiling in lower right

October 13: An restored sluice once used to float logs down from the hills to feed the Copper Smelter in Røros, near the Swedish border, from an overnight canoe trip

November 18: Friends Christophe and Mario kayaking near Gamle Bybro (old city bridge) on the Nidelva river through downtown Trondheim
CP-and-Mario-Gamle-Bybro.jpgAnd on December 14, my friend Ben traversing from Storhornet to Elghøa, in early afternoon
Ben-Elgh-a-traverse.jpgHonorable mention: my new friend Chris in Pima Canyon, on the rugged 20 mile Catalina traverse where we broke away from a group hike and first got to know each other, back in February

Happy New Year!

1:56 p.m. on January 1, 2019 (EST)
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Happy Hogmanay Everyone !

I always enjoy Patrick's yearly summary, but have to think you could have found a better October picture than me! 

Thanks for the update - those totals are really impressive as usual. Wind River trip seems epic and I really enjoyed catching up and sharing trip talk in October.

My year has been all about highs and lows...early year was training with several trips to southwest VA for windy, wet, and exposed conditions similar to what I expected in Scotland.  May was the big crossing, well documented in my TRs, and then a few more trips before my walks abruptly ended for the year.


My first snow trip of the year - I love fresh tracks in the snow.  Saw a couple of foxes too but was too wet/windy/snowy to get track photos. P2030028.jpgFebruary

Another winter training trip near Mt Rogers.  No snow but my socks say it was cold and wet.

Got one last blast of winter to enjoy...and enjoy I did...this photo after packing up camp near Stone Mtn VA. P3240017.jpgApril

Bought a new house and moved...no trail time at all!


Scotland! Much documented in my trip reports, so I'll share my first morning's camp and view...an epic trip for me. DSCF0158.jpgJune

A quick anniversary trip to Pisgah Nat Forest NC with my beautiful wife - 24 years and counting! DSCF1559.jpgJuly

Day hikes due to workload being heavy and family obligations...got to remember to take photos on day trips!


An off-trail exploration of Little Wilson Creek in VA.  Outcrops and views on a rainy weekend. 20180804_120617.jpgSeptember 

Still digging out from work so day hiked again. October Pisgah NF with Patrick.  Always willing to reassess my kit, he made the luxury mattress seem really good compared to the light weight one I was testing! 2018_1007_07542000.jpgThen the low part of my year - a slip on a bedrock outcrop day hiking ended with the fractured wrist.  November and December were cancelled.
20181030_172211.jpgI ended up with 7 trips and over 300 miles with 24 nights in my tent.  A bit under my annual goal of 12 trips but if you count Scotland, moving house, and the wrist I feel its overall a good year full of walking. 

Thanks for this thread - it's perked me up and got me back on TS forums after being in a bit of a funk.  This injury and lack of trail time the last couple of months have hit harder than any other break in my outdoor recreation.  I am still recovering and can't do much with the arm but am determined to get on the trail in a couple of weeks and test it out!  Surgery may be needed down the road but I'm putting it off for my mental health and ability to get out in the hills during my favorite time of year. See you on (or off) the trail sometime!

February 29, 2020
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