The first fall 2022 Ridgeline Trail hike planned as a ‘fast hike’ end to end started at 36 degrees, clear skies, and a dry trail. Willamette Valley Fall starts once a multi-day rain storm clears the dust and smoke after the fall equinox. Two side-trips up / down Spencer Butte added both photo vistas and elevation gain.

The Route

Spring Blvd trailhead to Spencer Butte top; down to Blanton St trailhead; repeat opposite direction (East to West, and back). Hike date: October 27, 2022

Pre-dawn

Hiking started before 7:00 am with headlamp, 3 top layers, gloves, and winter beanie. At Baldy meadow, the sunlight spread yellow to red and the valley fog so typical of cold Fall air. Fog islands magically poke out from fog hugging the valley floor.

On the other side of Baldy, even power towers couldn’t reduce the sunrise sky art.

From here to Spencer’s top was uneventful with only a couple of other humans – early morning solitude. From Cascade Raptor Center, Danu vocalized at my arrival below her enclosure, and then all quiet.

Cascade Raptor sign

Spencer Butte first time

At the top, fall valley fog continued to amaze. Cascades stood opaquely in the far east.

Between the N. Willamette TH and Blanton fellow hikers kept arriving, most with dogs. On return to N. Willamette TH, a family of deer (mother & 2 fawns) crossed the trail quickly and disappeared in the bush. Their photo blurred to worthless.

Spencer Butte second time

Back to Spencer’s top, the fog dissolved and those Central Cascades stood, this time, perfectly snow-white in the clear sky. Westward to Fern Ridge only fog remnants remained.

Back to the car at 1:00pm to end the first fall 2022 Ridgeline hike.

Summary

The first fall 2022 Ridgeline Trail hiked as a ‘fast hike’ end to end started at 36 degrees, clear skies, and a dry trail – with 2 side trips up Spencer Butte. Hiked 16 miles, over 3,000 ft elevation gain, all with less than 20 minutes of total driving. Cold fall temperature helped valley fog frame the sky art. Three different skies appeared during the hike: pre-dawn red and yellow, post dawn valley fog and fog islands, and finally clear skies to the cascades.

GaiaGPS stats – recorded track

Ridgline first fall hike gaiagps stats

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