Spencer Butte backpack kit shakeout hike

With spring finally showing up, and backpacking trips closer on the calendar, time to shakeout backpacking gear kit to find and correct any gotcha’s from gear updates or tired gear. The gear review details are here, this post is just the hike. Weather was perfect, trail conditions good, and crowds not bad. Flowers were popping!

The hike

Low carbon karma was key objective and snow elsewhere in the foothills made Spencer Butte and Ridgeline Trail a good destination for 15+ miles and decent elevation gain to push my gear kit – and my conditioning. Started at Spring Blvd trailhead before 06:00 with headlamp. Just above 40 degrees so hiked without gloves and only 2 top base layers. Within 30 minutes, encountered mountain biker – first biker so early.

From Spring TH to the top, down to S. Willamette th, back to top, over to Blanton th, back to the top and then back to Spring th. End to end Ridgeline with 3x to top of Spencer Butte.

Trail Conditions

While the trail was probably the wettest all season – every puddle was avoidable and no mud reached above boot sole. Made for a soft cushion surface. The weather made wide swings from damp cool fog to warm spring sunshine. Crowds accumulated where expected around Spencer top and the last trail junction to the top.

Foggy start from atop Baldy very early and then at Fox Hollow th and Cascade Raptor Center almost hidden in the fog. Dmitri was the only one making noises that early and his deep owl hoot carried well into the woods.

The birds were all singing like this

Sunrise almost always shines thru the fog


Wild flowers were popping everywhere. I have never seen more trillium blooming in OR.

From the top

Each time at Spencer top, the weather was different, and so the views. The earliest time looked like and felt like riding on islands in a vast sea of fog.

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