I managed to do some great hikes this year. I also pushed my range and hiked farther and climbed more than I had before. I’ve started running so that I can be a stronger cyclist and hiker. On top of that, I’ve ditched my old hiking shoes and started using Fivefingers on the trail. Now I am ready to sit down and start thinking about the year to come.
I didn’t go on any overnight trips this year. Which isn’t actually that surprising, considering that my backpacking buddy had a kid and my life has been going through some changes that mess with my available time. This is what I want to change next summer. I want to finally start tackling some of those backpacking loops that I’ve been reading about, by hook or by crook.
I suspect that I’ll need to do my backpacking solo, as my usual partner will most likely want to spend more time with his child while she’s so new. This means that I need to start planning on how to get to my trips without driving. This is hard. One of my first orders of business will be to investigate buses and shuttles out to the gorge or Mt. Hood. Sadly, the few things that I have found so far cater to the snow sport crowd and so they don’t run in the summer. I have research to do.
As for the trails, I have a couple in mind: the Benson Plateau and the Timberline on Mt. Hood. I’ve hiked both areas quite a bit, so I know that each will have it’s own charms. The loop around Benson Plateau should at it’s best late May or June. Timberline will be at it’s peak around mid August. This should be a nice spacing for a couple of 4 or 5 day trips. Neither of these routes are very solitary, so I’m not particularly worried about hiking them solo.
I’m ready in my head, but through the winter I have to start figuring out travel arrangements and keep conditioning myself. My goal is to hike the Pacific Crest Trail sometime in the next couple years. I get a bit more passionate about hiking every year and I’m looking forward to spending more time out there on the trail.