Foggy winter solstice at Spencer Butte

The annual winter solstice hike on Ridgeline Tr and Spencer Butte this year was all about fog in valleys. Very similar to 2021, but not so 2022 – not surprisingly for OR winters, all 3 years were foggy, just the thick valley floor fog different.

From left to right – 2023, 2022, 2021

The Route

With an afternoon appt, a required timebox hike (hike as fast, long as possible and return at a specific time). I started at 7:00 with headlight on in very, very dense fog. Camera caught the fog’s density in the air.

Hiked from Spring Blvd TH to Spencer top, then on past Willamette on Ridgeline until I ran out of time; turned around and went via Spencer top back to Spring Blvd TH. Trail conditions perfect, traffic tolerable, and dogs well behaved.

Tree shadowed light art

At different elevations and micro-climates, early morning sun slipped through the trees creating ‘tree shadowed light art’ – sadly, camera struggled to capture the breadth my eyes did. Moss and spider webs were amazing as they caught the fog.

Cascades across the valley

Better light on the second time at Spencer top provided views across the valley fog to both the 3 Sisters and Mt. Jefferson.

Lower elevation fog

At lower elevations near the trailheads, fog did not lift until very end of the hike. Near N. Willamette TH forgotten fruit trees.

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