A cold Ridgeline Trail ramble over Spencer Butte with snow covering the cascade foothills and fog filling the valleys hit the mark. After internally debating another 90 minute drive to Mary’s Peak, Ridgeline Trail proved the better choice to avoid winter driving risks and additionally being unprepared for winter hiking. Ridgeline in my experience offers more wildlife encounters, too.
The rambling route
Start at Blanton St trailhead (TH), to Spencer then to S Willamette TH, back to Spencer, east to Dillard Rd loop, back to Spencer, down to Fox Hollow TH, then back to car at Blanton TH. A fast hike, covering ground quickly with few stops.
On the trail
I left Blanton TH around 6:15 after driving thru pea-soup thick fog. Headlamp on and immediately at least 2 and maybe 3 Barred Owls sang together. They went on back-for at least 10 minutes, and just when I arrived at good spot to record them … a headlamped trail runner stopped the music.
Thick fog felt like rain at times, but once to Spencer the views between clouds and fog supported the effort to get that first ‘up’ before the sun.
The snow on the foothills supported decision to not take that drive to Mary’s Peak. After the first Spencer climb, fog and clouds rolled in and completely covered the view. Below from the second ‘up’.
I met few people beyond the up / down.
Best part of cold Ridgeline Trail ramble
The owls made this ramble great. I often hear an owl on this trail, but to hear multiple at the same time for the dawn – amazing!