Best of 2018


Aug 9, 2007
Well, it's December. Just like our previous threads like this in 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012's best of and best trips threads, this thread is for looking back on the year and sharing your favorite moments and experiences. Post photos, videos, stories, accomplishments and whatever else made 2018 awesome for you.

For me, this year was probably the best year of outdoor exploration in all of the 39.5 of my life. Or maybe just the best year of my life period. I've been slacking on trip reports, but I'll catch up soon. First off, I crushed my previous bag night record of 55 nights. I'm up to 66 right now and I will hit 70 before the year ends. In river trips alone I did more than I would normally hope to do in a few years, including huge bucket list items like Gates of Lodore, The San Juan, Cataract Canyon and The Middle Fork of The Salmon. On top of that I pulled off a 10-night trip through the Pacific Northwest that I'd been dreaming about for years. And I finally finished the Uinta Highline and mixed in some other desert backpacking and Zion canyoneering. It was EPIC! One of the best things that happened that helped make it all easier was that I lost 100 pounds and my knee replacement started feeling a lot better. Good enough to hike 15+ miles a day, day after day. And I forged some new friendships that have truly been life changing. The bar has been set for me. It's hard to imagine having a better year. If I get hit by a bus tomorrow, I will have no regrets.

Here are the first of many of my highlights. I'll definitely be breaking this into several posts and adding more later. First off, some people around here that I spent time with this year and really appreciate. Because this would all kind of suck without them. Now let's hear about (and see) your 2018!

I finally got to spend a few days in the wilderness with @Jammer. Here he is in an unusual position for him: laying on a boat in Cataract Canyon in June.

That was not long after running into him in the middle of nowhere just a month or so after we'd had lunch before he left for his big hike. So glad we could give him a lift.

Meeting @Ben and doing some Zion canyoneering with him was awesome. He does make me feel a little inadequate though.

And it seems like a trip without @CJonesey just wouldn't be complete after all of the adventures we've been on together this year. Here he is in Cataract in June.

And where would I be without @Dave? Here he is in WFA training acting ouchy.

And a few from that time I tried to kill him on the Highline. Or did he try to kill me? Trip report to come...

And @Jen, who's smile is contagious and who makes me feel like I don't even come close to getting out enough. I can only imagine that Collin was debating whether that cairn should live or die.

And @Artemus! My only complaint is that I didn't get to see him more this year.


And how about this flattering photo of @lostlandscapes while we were seeing how long we could take the heat in the camper before escaping back into the cold?

It was so awesome to get to know @George_Washington_Hayduke and @Adventure monkey on the river. Looking forward to more trips with these guys.

And while I still haven't met him, I sure do appreciate @Vegan.Hiker and this awesome piece of art that he made and sent to me.

Okay, that's too many pictures. Many more later...
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What a fantastic year, Nick! Congrats!

You guys all inspire me to do better.

This year was great for me until about July. I was in Montana and on my way to Tuktoyaktuk when I got bit on both legs by a grizzly (actually my dog, but a bear sounds more adventurous), which pretty much shut me down for three months (infection). Then just as I was about ready to go back out, I contracted an upper respiratory virus that hit me hard for a month. I'm actually still recovering from that one, but things are looking up.

Next year will be better, as I'm starting it out in a cabin near the Yellowstone border. I hope to do some wildlife photography, which is my only real interest in life, other than maps and coffee and hiking and dogs and BCP (not necessarily in that order). I'm also hoping this is the year I get to meet some of the most fantastic people ever - the BCP members!

@Outdoor_Fool - to teach me about Alaska and thank him for his encouragement.
@Perry - to show me how to overcome my fears of mooses.
@Jackson - to teach me how to be humble even in the face of fantastic accomplishments (solo hikes and law school).
@Ben - to reveal where he gets those giant sausages, as well as teach me how to better find map spots, especially ones NOT in Alaska.
@Nick - to teach me how to live the good life and maybe be more sociable.
@Artemus - to show me how to be more chivalrous (can women be chivalrous?), as well as overcome my fear of heights, and to also thank him for his many good words and encouragement.
@scatman - to teach me the fine art of getting stuck in bogs and how to wear cycling hats with aplomb and eat ghost peppers without crying (and more, the list is endless).
@LarryBoy - to teach me how to comfortably sleep in a trailhead privy, as well as how to hike really really long distances.
@chandlerwest - to reinforce that my fashion sense of bluejeans and flannel shirts is way cool.
@Kmatjhwy - to teach me how to abandon civilization with great style.
@Miya- to teach me to view things through new eyes.
@IntrepidXJ @Titans @Scott Chandler @Yvonne - to help me improve my photography.
@Udink - to teach me how to use .40 caliber bear spray, as well as find cool rock art.
@WasatchWill - to talk him into adopting me.
@Jeffrey Chandler - to climb Fremont Peak with.
@blueeyes - to show me her MTB techniques, especially when on dawn patrol.
@Ugly - to scare the beejeebers out of me by sleeping on widow maker rocks.
@gnwatts - to talk about Dominguez Canyon over coffee, since we practically live next door to each other.

There are many more here who I admire (@wsp_scott @deelek @SKLund @Absarokanaut @Bob @Dr Nebz @MikeM @mike_offerman @b.stark @danger02ward @Dave @Vegan.Hiker @Parma @regehr @Reef&Ruins @Aldaron @Brendan S @o2bav8 @SteveR @Shirt357 @balzaccom @Jammer - these are just off the top of my head, maybe I should just list all BCP members.)

Thanks everyone, for making my year better with your humor, knowledge, great photos, great hikes, and patience with my sometimes "out there" posts (there may be better words to describe them, but I'll be kind to myself- ha). :frantic:


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@Rockskipper Liz I would be happy to show you how to do Dawn Patrol!

@Nick congratulations on losing weight! And it has been a long spell since I have made a trip with you and friends. I hope in 2019 we can connect. One of my favorite trips is still Mystery!

I have to wait to do my favorites of 2018 I have one more trip I am hoping I can do before the end of the year. It is a big one and must include 6 nights in the bag so I can hit my goal. Fingers crossed all the elements working against me for this trip go away! Weather being one of them I need a 4 day dry spell between Dec 17-20th.

I really need to sit down and do some trip write ups.

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Wish I could say that 2018 was super awesome, but it wasn't. It wasn't terrible, but not super awesome either. Did have some highlights that were big bright spots in the year, though.

First off was hiking Harney/Black Elk Peak in January. Some serious solitude on a hike that's normally pretty packed in the "tourist season" and seeing these views with snow was pretty unique. It was beautiful. There were also plenty of mountain lion tracks in the ~12hr fresh snow.


Probably the trip I most needed this year was a solo wander through southern Utah and Colorado, including some time in the Escalante area (need to go back sometime, for sure)




Some off trail Needles slickrock wonderland? Oh yes.

Wandering through Colorado in the snowy season, with a stop at Gunnison to fish the Taylor River and actually catch something

Yet another drive over the Beartooth Highway

More time in the Lamar Valley and Slough Creek areas


An afternoon spent enjoying the cool breeze at my favorite black sand beach on Yellowstone Lake (Given how much I hate beaches, it's pretty shocking I have a favorite one anywhere)

Catching native cutthroats on dry flies in Soda Butte Creek

Probably the most enjoyable trip of the year was being able to share the Island Lake/Titcomb Basin area with some good friends


Had hoped to do more Black Hills trips or Western Nebraska, but nothing ever really came of those dreams. There's still a little time to maybe sneak out somewhere, but it's pretty much head down and keep trudging through until next year at this point.
Yes @blueeyes .... still a month left for the favorites. Having said that, its hard to imagine better days in 2018, than our Upper Muley Twist hike some weeks ago (still owe a TR) and then yesterday's hike to Salt Creek Canyon. Yesterday will likely be my favorite day of 2018. We waved to a guy in a campground, then we passed his Jeep and a tent and seconds later I slammed the breaks. What did I just see? Some weeks ago it was a bobcat, this time it was a license plate- I recognized it from so many awesome (!) BCP photos and reports. I backed up and sure enough, it was @IntrepidXJ and his wife Diane. Very nice and totally unexpected! I have read so many of his reports, admired so many photos and suddenly we were shaking hands and talking about ancient hands......

We were actually doing yesterday's hike because he highly recommended it in a report. It was truly a spectacular hike, fabulous views and so special to be right in front of ancient hands. Here are a few photos from early on yesterday:




Year end 2018.... This would be a good time to thank @Nick and everyone who runs & maintains BCP - it's an exceptional website and community. Thank you so much.
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What should I say about this year? It was NOT my year at all, this is for sure.
It began promising and exciting, but then came the big downfall when a volcano erupted in my backyard, we got bombarded with 60,000 earthquakes in 4 months. Everyone within the vicinity got sick because of the volcano, including me. I lost all my three jobs because of the volcano and finally had to flee.
Back in Utah I had a long recovery and did some great hikes and some good camping trips.
Here I am now, ready to go for a geology degree next January, work two jobs and always try to find some time to go on short hikes in my neighborhood.

Here comes Part 1: The good stuff!!!


Four Months of extremely busy times as a lava tour guide: I went out almost every day with my groups




The last ever tour to the lava flow: Pele had her own way to say goodbye

Volcanoes NP:
An overflowing lava lake, Milky Way, Lunar Eclipse, several 20+miles day hikes!!! Life was good!!!



there was just an earthquake seconds earlier


Summit Eruption and Lunar Eclipse


I could jump it over and over again


Hawai'i Volcanoes NP early in the morning: there were always surprises


Mile 16 of my 22 miles hike. I knew I would end with a new day hike record

Then there always was the fake missile alert that freaked everyone out. I hiked back out to the car and did nothing about it.

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Part 2: The bad and ugly


May 3, 2018: last sunset at Pohoiki before everything went nuts. RIP beautiful bay

Earthquakes!!! We got bombarded with them!!! Day and night, week after week!!!
Every 2-3 minutes, often 3.5 and higher. On average 1-2 of 5.0 and higher each day.



Kilauea exploded every day and sent ash high up into the air


Fissure eruption in Leilani Estates: this was the view some of my neighbors had



we lost 746 homes, a school, several beaches, 80% of all papaya farms and 70% of all tropical flower farms


the glowing lava at night from my place, I was 5 miles away but everything in my yard died anyway because of SO2 and Acid rain.

Pahoa Town 2 miles away. Forever sunset the entire night and ash and cinder falling from the sky a lot of times
Part 3: the Good

Back to the mainland and fresh air!!


Flashback!! I felt I was back in Hawai'i when we had a massive fire on Pine Valley Mountain



Virgin River Hike

Monsoon Season was awesome





backpacking to Titcomb Basin was amazing


Hackberry Canyon day hike


I always wanted to sleep under the stars at Yant Flats, it was amazing

MY highlight of the year was a trip to Yellowstone where I hiked 100 miles in 9 days


Sepulcher Mountain


Bunsen Peak

Avalanche Peak

October Snow: 20 inches on October 6, it was awesome



And many many Zion trips followed this year.




Clear Creek



Let's see what 2019 will bring :)

I know I'm behind with so many trip reports. I hope to keep them coming soon.
Yep, good year. The big ticket item for me personally was the Continental Divide Trail, but I also had a lot of fun doing some shorter, but really interesting trips:

- The Lowest to Highest of Salt Lake County
- Lowest to Highest of the Lower 48
- Uinta Highline with a bunch of off-trail alts
- Traverse of the Fold and the Escalante
- Finished the Hayduke Trail

I'm with @Nick - you often don't realize how good you got it when you got it good, but I can say with some confidence that 2018 has been the best year ever. If 2019 is half as terrific as 2018 is, I'll be happy.

Couple crappy photos of beautiful places:

Along the Colorado, off-trail in the Grand Canyon:


James Peak Wilderness:


Centennial Range:


End of the CDT:


Atop Whitney, end of the Lowest to Highest:


Dark Canyon:



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@Yvonne I am beginning to believe crazy catastrophic events follow you. I remember when you fled the east from essentially destroying your home. That is an intense yet extremely beautiful year.

Excited to hear you are doing another degree.

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I like my new phone/camera but I haven't been able to take any pictures that I love. Except maybe this one....

Nile Chill.jpg

I guess what it lacks in taking good pictures it makes up for in funny fake sunglasses. Took this at the Met in NYC... that trip was one of my 2018 highlights.
@Yvonne I am beginning to believe crazy catastrophic events follow you. I remember when you fled the east from essentially destroying your home. That is an intense yet extremely beautiful year.

Excited to hear you are doing another degree.

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I start to believe it as well. When I was in Yellowstone, Ear Spring erupted the first time after 57 years and there was all of a sudden new activity on Geyser Hill.
So if all of a sudden Southern Utah gets earthquakes or magma intrusion you know whom to blame [emoji12]

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Well, I hate to ruin this thread, but ...........

Posing for the new BCP 2019 Calendar back in February had to be the highlight of 2018 for me. :) Be sure and get your copy before they are gone!

A close second was spending some time with @Artemus on Electric Peak in Yellowstone in August

Third would be to finally make it to Plateau Lake in Yellowstone with my kids back in July after an unsuccessful attempt three years prior.

On a local (Salt Lake City) note my favorite would have to be making it to the summit of Broads Fork Twin Peaks. Thanks to @regehr for strapping me in and pulling me to the top. :)

I'm also pretty proud of making it through another year without smiling :scatman:, though you merry BCP'ers make that difficult to accomplish. :)

Let's hope 2019 is as successful. :twothumbs:
Awesome stuff, everyone. My 2018 wasn't quite as exciting as some of you all, but I got out as much as I could. It's tough with young kids, but I am thankful to be able to get any a few bigger trips in each year. Here are a few highlights of my favorites from 2018:

This year I bought a pair of touring skis, so in March a friend and I skinned up the continental divide to Our Lady of the Rockies. If you've ever been to Butte, you've surely noticed the 90 ft statue of Mary overlooking our town:


In July, my brother and I spent a weekend in the Crazy Mountains and capped off the trip with a climb of Crazy Peak:


In August, a friend and I did a marathon dayhike to El Cap in the Bitterroots:


But, the highlight of my summer was getting my 3 year old his first 10,000' summit. OK, he had a little help from dad, but I'm proud to say he was able to hike most of the final push to the summit on his own. His brother did a pretty good job, too, although he's been up there several times before:

I had a pretty good year even though I am going to miss both of my goals.
The first was 45 bag nights, I knew this was ambitious, but I thought with luck (and an understanding wife) I could maybe make it happen. It looks like I am going to finish with 35 unless my calendar opens up and I can get another 3-5 night trip in, either way short of 45 nights, but it is the most bag nights I have ever had, so win :)
The second goal was to hike at least once every week. I set a pretty low bar for what a hike was, I just promised myself that I would not sit in the office on a gorgeous day if I could make my schedule work (I'm lucky to have a pretty flexible schedule from day to day). But there were a couple weeks where sick kids, horrible weather, traveling wife,... that I did not make it out. I made it all the way to the middle of June before I missed a week, but was not able to get a hike in after we came back from Sweden. The next gap was the week after I came back from SEKI and my kids started school. And then two more weeks since then. So, I have done a lot of dayhikes and some backpacking almost every week of this year and I have been a lot happier for it.

Backpacking highlights
Smokies in March

Kayaking in Sweden for 5 days

7 nights in the Sierra Nevada

And some cool trips with my backpacking with my kids
First with my brother in law in the Dolly Sods

Then just my youngest on her first backpacking trip in the Red River Gorge (she thought this log looked like Pegasus)

Then just my oldest kayaking in the Smokies

And then just my middle for one night kayaking on Laurel River Lake in KY

All in all a pretty good year even if I did not achieve some arbitrary goals. Same goals for next year though :)
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