Top Photos of My 2020 Hiking Season

My Approach to Hiking Photos

The top photos of my 2020 hiking season were hard to choose. In my hiking experience I have never been the one to carry a camera. I don’t own a fancy mirrorless Nikon DSLXLR3000 – or whatever. The point is… I am not a photographer.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy taking some pictures along the way. Most of the time my photos are quick and in the moment. You know — “Wow! That’s a cool view. I’ll just take a quick picture!” I have experimented with taking a small iPhone stand, and once only brought disposables, but those phases were short-lived. Instead, while I’m walking, I usually just grab my phone, swipe right for the camera, and move on — hoping the photos turn out okay in the end.

I didn’t choose these photos with any fancy statistic that my social media platform generated. They were chosen because they’re the ones that I genuinely like. I hope you like them too! Below are the pictures I landed on as my top 6 from this year, with short explanations for each.

Photo #6: Along the Boundary Trail

Number six top photo. Hiker walking past lake with big mountain view in the distance.

This past summer I was hiking a loop in the Pasayten Wilderness of Washington State. This picture was taken along that route. In May of 2020 we went on a different trip in the region and climbed the peak that is pictured in the distance — the one my hiking partner is pointing at. I can’t remember if this was staged or if I actually caught the moment when we realized we were on top of that point just a few months earlier. Either, way I like this photo from that specific 242 mile journey in the Pasayten. I feel as if it captures some of the beauty in this hidden corner of Washington State.


#5: The Start of the Alpine

Number Five top photo. Hiker with lake reflection during a mountain sunset.

This picture was taken at the end of our first day on Andrew Skurka’s version of the Wind River High Route. On the six days following the moment this captures, we spent almost every hour in the alpine of the Wind River Range in Wyoming. Such an amazing and challenging hiking route. It was great to catch the sunset, lake and a few of the folks in my group in this photo. This is one of those photos that (even in the moment) I knew would be good to look back on. I think the sunlight on the alpine grass really makes this picture amazing!

Photo #5: Cirques of the Days Ahead

Number four top photo. Walking among glaciers on Wind River High Route.

Another one from the Wind River High Route! Over and over again, my mind was blown by the sheer size and beauty of each drainage and valley along this route. I did the route with a group of 4 other friends. It was a great trip to do as a group and really fun to spend some quality time outside with people during the pandemic. We were glad to have brought micro spikes along for the hard icy morning snow! The backdrop of glaciers and sweeping granite peaks really make this one for me!


Photo #3: Deep Snow on the Colorado Trail

Number three top photo. Postholing through snow over Colorado mountain pass.

This may be one of the best selfies I have ever taken. I waited out a snow storm on the Colorado Trail in September. Apparently, I didn’t wait long enough. My hiking partner and I ended up walking through deep snow for a few days after being caught in a later unexpected snow storm. We are on our way over Hope Pass in this photo. It’s hard to tell from the picture but the wind was really strong! I have to laugh when I see this picture. If you have ever post-holed with cold feet through knee deep snow for a day you know it is terrible. Here I am trying to muster up some enthusiasm by finding the humor in the moment.


Photo #2: Desert Strolling

Number two top photo 2020. Hike walking down middle of road in desert holding umbrella.

There is a tiny bit of road walking on the Hayduke Trail. This was taken on the road into Hite Marina. This shot, for me, showcases the infamous Utah/Arizona blue sky with the juxtaposing red rock landscape. The umbrella was an indispensable tool in the desert. Road walks aren’t always the most fun, but I was having a great time taking photos on this one! It helped to pass the time until we got a cold drink at the store down the road. This picture particularly stands out to me because it looks, and felt, like I could float away like Mary Poppins any second.


Photo # 1: Are Those Colors Real?!

Number one top photo of 2020 hiking season. Hiker wading through Little Colorado River turquoise waters.

The Little Colorado River. What a picturesque spot. I walked through Grand Canyon National Park along the Hayduke Trail. Along the route, you have to try and hitchhike across the Colorado River because there is no bridge where the route takes you. Then, you come to the confluence of the Little Colorado. Yes, that is the real color of the water! It seemed to be more blue than the sky. I did have to ford the river and the water was up to mid thigh, but it wasn’t too hard. If you ever get the chance to visit this place – do it!

This is my top picture because I don’t think I have ever seen something so unique. Definitely never seen water that color in my life. Truly stunning! Also, about 10 minutes before this picture was taken, I was able to hitch a ride on a raft across the Colorado River. To read that story you can see my Top 3 Most Memorable Moments on the Hayduke piece I wrote a few weeks ago. This photo will always be a special one to me when I look back at the top photos of my 2020 hiking season.

What’s your top of photo of your 2020 hiking season? Thanks for reading. You can follow along with my future trips @jeffpod!

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Comments 4

  • M. 'Smokey' Davis : Jan 5th

    Thank you for sharing. Your words put me in those pictures. Beautiful!

  • Jeff : Jan 5th

    Thanks for reading! Glad you enjoyed it. Feel free to share with anyone else who might enjoy it as well!

  • Bill Manningq : Jan 6th

    In Photo #3, Colorado Trail, are you two ON the Trail? (Great photo!)

    • Jeff : Jan 6th

      Hey Bill,
      Yes. About 30 seconds before this photo – we were on the trail. Suppose we lost in when I took this photo. It was pretty hard to follow as it had snowed so much. We are also map and compass folks (no GPS), so we were just walking towards Hope Pass any way that we could. We could either post-hole the whole way on the trail or take the most direct post-holing line.

      Thanks for reading and keep getting out there.


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