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Tales from the Trail: Trip Reports With Stories We Love

Posted by Anna Roth at Mar 28, 2023 04:00 AM |
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Trip reports are a big part of what WTA is known for. Every week, dozens of people like you tell us what conditions they came across on trail. We also see a lot of lovely life stories in trip reports: birthday celebrations, anniversaries, getting engaged and sharing Washington with a first-time hiker. Check out some of the highlights from last year.

Trip reports are a big part of what WTA is known for. Every week, dozens of people like you tell us what conditions they came across on trail.

Were there trees down on the way to the trailhead? Was there still snow on trail?  Recently, trip reporters have been reporting wildflowers peeking out and the first greens of spring.

We also see a lot of lovely life stories in trip reports. People  celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, getting engaged, and sharing Washington with a first-time hiker.

Even better than reading a sweet story is sharing your own story with us. Write a trip report next time you come back from a hike. 


Trip reports are packed with firsts. First hike ever, first backpacking trip, first hike back after an injury, first hike with a new baby! Here are a few firsts we enjoyed from the last year of trip reports.

First Hike Ever

A big glacial valley filled trees takes up the foreground of this photo, with a gray sky topping it off.
Views from Garfield Ledges on a sunny day. Photo by trip reporter NREPPER.

Trip reporter NREPPER took a group (including a friend who was brand new to hiking) to the always-scenic, good-for-a-half-day-hike Garfield Ledges trail. The review from the new hiker, "...steep but mercifully short, certainly doable and worth the views." Hopefully they'll be a returning customer.

Elsewhere, Greg Warnick hit two milestones in one on the Chelan Lakeshore Trail: taking his partner on her first backpacking trip, and hiking using a ferry for the first time.

First Backpacking Trip

Two tents in a dark campsite next to a lake with a snow-capped peak in the background.
Cozy camp at Baker Lake. Photo by trip reporter ZAnickie.

Trip reporter ZAnickie treated her niece and nephew to a sunny, clear campsite at Baker Lake for their first ever overnight last July. And, as she pointed out, Anderson Point Campground has it all — a picnic table, a fire ring (though they didn't need it) and amazing views! Plus plenty of space to responsibly pitch a tent.

On a trip with a different vibe, evolume took his daughter up to Ashland Lakes in July, and despite some character-building conditions, they had a great time. His detailed trip report includes great information about the campsite, the road, parking area and what condition the trail was in.

First time back (again and again)

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Mount Si and North Bend from Rattlesnake Ledge. Photo by trip reporter Just a hiker.

Rattlesnake Ledge was Just a hiker's go-to first time hike after being out of commission for one reason or another. In May, they returned to this favorite after recovering from a back injury, spent a half hour enjoying the view, and admired the newly installed WTA stairs!


The thin, dicey Whittier Ridge trail weaves through rocky ledges and undergrowth
The Whittier Ridge trail runs along an exposed spine of the Mount Margaret wilderness. Photo by trip reporter SonnyRae.

Last year WTA ran a promotion asking you to tag us in your first trip report, and we got some great ones! This photo is from trip reporter and WTA member SonnyRae, who cataloged a lot of great information about the Mount Margaret backcountry, and included some phenomenal photos, too!

First time in a new area

The structure at the summit of Columbia Mountain on a sunny day. The Columbia Mountain Lookout on a sunny day. Photo by trip reporter DaphneF.

DaphneF went to the Kettle Range for the first time and visited Columbia Mountain. They had a wonderful hike on a sunny day along a freshly-cleared trail, with no ticks! Quite an intro to Eastern Washington hiking.


From big trip report numbers, to checking off bucket list hikes, to hiking for anniversaries, we love to see a milestone in trip reports!

Long time hiker, first time reporter

A backpacker with grey hair in pigtails looks at a volcano on the horizon.
Stopping for a view of Glacier Peak from the trail. Photo by trip reporter carbonfiberboy.

Carbonfiberboy and his wife do an annual, 10-day backpacking trip, but last year was the first time he wrote a trip report for it. And what a trip report! It's full of campsite tips, water sources and toilet-condition reports in a hard-to-get-to part of the state.

Trip report milestones

A hiker stands on a narrow section of trail near an avalanche chute.
A sketchy section of trail on the way to Crystal Lake. Photo by trip reporter raring2hike.

Trip reporter raring2hike has been writing reports since 2010, and wrote their 100th report last year! They celebrated by reporting on a little-known trail off the Mountain Loop Highway: Crystal Lake. They wrote up great conditions information, and included this helpful photo showing a washout on trail.

Other trip reporters  have marked this occasion as well: Yasobara wrote his 100th for Kelly Butte, and Rhabbie was excited to share details about Dirty Harry's Balcony for his 50th report.

Checking off the Bucket list

the knife _ two sisters.jpeg
The PCT leading up to the Knifes Edge in the Goat Rocks. Photo by trip reporter TwoSisters.

We love hearing that someone checked a hike off their list. Last year, trip reporter TwoSisters had a great multi-day hike in the Goat Rocks, including visiting The Knife; a notoriously steep and exposed section of the PCT. Here's how they documented it:

"The climb up to Elk Pass and then out over the Knife's Edge to Old Snowy is amazingly beautiful and occasionally terrifying. So glad I got to check it off my hiking bucket list."

Up in the North Cascades, BabyTree finally got to visit Yellow Aster Butte in September, complete with fields of blueberries!

Public Lands Anniversaries

Pink sea blush flowers on a hillside with a trail in the background.
Pink Sea blush lining the trail at Deception Pass State Park. Photo by trip reporter Muledeer.

Trip reporter (and Hiking Guide correspondent) Muledeer visited Deception Pass State Park as a second-choice hike, but wrote a great description of the loop, and was treated to a gorgeous display of wildflowers, and the added treat of it being the state parks' 100th anniversary.

Other popular anniversaries are the anniversary of Mount St. Helens eruption, wedding anniversaries, and in one case, the 50th anniversary of the North Cascades Highway opening!



david hagen on trail.jpeg
mytho-man celebrated his birthday on trail with his hiking friends recently. Photo courtesy trip reporter mytho-man.

Wow, do you all love birthday hikes! mytho-man (above) recently celebrated on trail with longtime hiking companions Ethan and Karen, who provided homemade brownies and kombucha (!!)

There are so many birthday trip reports to choose from, from a hot springs birthday outing, to a disappointing hike-turned-great-trip-report, to an extended 16th birthday. Check them all out here.

Holiday hikes

joe hendricks on Big Creek.jpeg
Pointing out something festive on a holiday hike. Photo courtesy Joe Hendricks.

Joe Hendricks is the resident pro at holiday celebrations on trail. He always has a gorgeous spread of food for his annual Christmas hike with a friend. The dishes from 2020 looked incredible, but we couldn't resist this photo with the festive reindeer antlers from his 2021 hike.

Engagement / Wedding

A man kneels in front of a woman and presents her with an engagement ring
Getting engaged at Dirty Harrys! Photo courtesy Erin Melton.

There are a surprising number of trip reports detailing proposals or weddings witnessed on trail! Several people last year mentioned seeing weddings or proposals on trail, though we did have to dig into the archives to find one with a photo. By the way, if you get engaged on trail, you have to tell us in a trip report.

Cool stuff we liked

Backpacking with 3 kids

wonderland trail_mike on a hike.jpegMike and his family from their summer 2022 circuit of the Wonderland Trail. Photo by MikeOnAHike.

MikeOnAHike and his incredible hiking family hiked the entire Wonderland Trail last summer, at the request of his 6-year-old son. Mike and his wife did the same trip almost 10 years ago, when their oldest was an infant. Both reports are chock full of fantastic advice for backpacking with babies and kids, as well as excellent conditions information. Plus, it's just a very cool story about family trips.


wolverine_kidz wont hike.jpeg
Wolverine! Photo by kidzwonthike.

kidswonthike documented a wolverine sighting at Mount Rainier! Over the years we've heard of a smattering of these, and they're always so cool to hear about. (Plus they're useful as wildlife managers try to re-establish these animals in the wild). If you see one, tell us in a trip report (for science). Let's see a photo, too!

Lost and Found: Hikers being lovely to each other

Pete R.jpeg
A sunny day at Mount Baker. Photo by trip reporter Pete R.

Trip reporter Pete R wrote a great, helpful trip report outlining an upcoming road closure, bug sitch, and trail conditions (including a photo of the crumbly trail edge, above). Plus, as you can see in the comments, he was responsive and helpful when other readers asked for further details about the trail.

But what we loved most was the lovely story he included at the end. Thanks to a previous trip report he had written, he recovered a shirt he lost at Olallie Lake! He says, "Some angel saw my trip report and was kind enough to return it to me. Love the WTA community!" We do too, Pete!