I left Spring Blvd trailhead around 6:30 with headlamp on and quickly encountered two trail runners with lights as well. The first runner had 3 lights – headlamp and a light in each hand (different). Human traffic was fairly typical, but tipped toward more serious hikers than park walkers. Dogs were plentiful and almost all leashed – good! Wildlife was scarce though the birds and squirrels were out taking advantage of the break in the storms. I arrived back at the car around 1:30 just as it started to rain. 18.5 miles, no rain, great photos, and wonderful quiet time.
The Route (Recorded track)
End to end on Ridgeline Spring to Blanton with 3 Spencer tops mixed in. Started at Spring Blvd TH, then to Spencer top, down to S. Willamette TH back to Spencer top, then to Blanton Ridge TH, back to Spencer top on way to car. Trail conditions were perfect – a bit wetter than Solstice Hike, but not muddy – softer on the legs.
Sunrise atop Spencer Butte
After passing the two trail runners on the east side of Baldy, no other humans were on the trail until after the ‘Spencer Top’ segment. I tried to catch photos of the pre-dawn light from Baldy, but not enough light for my Nikon. The quiet trail sufficed, and sunrise through the trees was a hint of later views.
Given that I arrived atop Spencer and then quickly bounced down and back up, there were two views to capture. The fog, the storm fronts and a winter sunrise made a perfect morning.
The longer flatter section from Spencer to Blanton and back had few notable interactions, though several hikers who hike the trail as much as I do were out again – we chatted as passing. One other hiker passed me 3x and finally asked about my hiking routine. She seemed most impressed with the motivation of limiting carbon karma tax to hike close-in taking advantage of my city parks.
The sky changed dramatically with layers of air and the storm arriving. The cascades were visible in the distance covered in meters of new snow. Hiking Ridgeline & Spencer between winter storms is hard to beat in the winter.