It’s beginning to look a lot like…2014.

Would you agree with me that it’s been a weird winter? As our climate warms, and changes, it seems like all we get now is weird winters. It would be easy to say that climate history is nothing but a series of weird winters, with the norm being an average of all the winters previous. But if you’ve lived here long enough, you also know that it rains less, it snows less, and there aren’t many “normal” winters anymore. The winters of 2014 and 2015 were low-snow winters, while 2008, 2011 and 2017 were high-snow winters. This winter is shaping up a lot like 2014; thankfully it hasn’t been as dry as 2015, the driest winter I can ever remember in this area.

During the winter of 2014, I was able to get out to the mountains with surprising regularity.

The South Breitenbush River, January 2014.
Roaring Creek, January 2014. We camped beside the creek and experienced maybe the coldest night we’ve ever had.
Mount Hood from the 44 Road, right before we had to turn around due to ice.
Hiking from White River to Timberline Lodge. We didn’t even need snowshoes.
Lost Creek Falls, on the way to Burnt Lake. I almost got stuck down here and had to bushwhack downstream and pull myself up an icy slope. Lesson learned.
Burnt Lake, January 2014.

Thankfully the winter snows arrived in February, and with it, a surprise snowstorm in Portland:

Kenilworth Park as it started snowing….
Out for a walk in the snow!

At this point I would love a cold, rainy and snowy February, lest we end up with another summer full of hot temperatures, dry forests and fires all across the region.



Is it 2018 already?


Is it really 2018? This year marks five years since the release of my first book, Off the Beaten Trail. It feels like it’s been a lot longer sometimes. Since then, I’ve published two more books, hiked a few thousand miles and taken many thousand photos. More than I can count, really.

This marks the start of a new era for the Ruddy Hill Press. With the release of PDX Hiking 365 at the end of January, I will have three books out into the world marking the near totality of my knowledge of hiking in the vicinity of Portland. Many people have asked me what my next book will be, and to be honest, I’m not totally sure. One thing I am sure of is this: Over the next year I will finish the much-needed second edition of Off the Beaten Trail. The last five years have taken a toll on the trails in this era, and some of the signature hikes in Off the Beaten Trail (such as both Salmonberry River hikes, Cave Falls and Rock of Ages Ridge) are now closed, possibly for good. In the time since the book’s publication, I’ve also managed to create my own organizational template and I’ve significantly improved my map-making capabilities. It’s time to bring Off the Beaten Trail up to date.

One other new development is that I am working on Ebook editions of 101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region and PDX Hiking 365. There will not be an Ebook edition of Off the Beaten Trail until the second edition is released. Look for the Ebook editions later this year.

Here at the Ruddy Hill Press, I’m looking forward to blogging about hiking. In the days and months to come, expect lots of posts about hikes current and past. In particular I am very much looking forward to writing about the year I spent in France, as this marks ten years since my time there.

It’s going to be a great year. Welcome to the Ruddy Hill Press!