Spencer Butte & small things

After last week’s rather slow and easy week (only King Castle day hike), a good elevation workout was desperately needed. I had just posted at Kestrel a piece on individual internet usage and its impact on carbon footprint, aka Carbon Karma, so driving even to Hardesty Mountain was ruled out to save carbon karma. A 10 minute 1-way drive to Spencer Butte checked all the boxes.


Hike = July 2, 2024 – Started before 5:30 from Spring Blvd and went first to Spencer top, then to S. Willamette TH and back to top, then to N. Willamette TH and back to top, then back to Spring Blvd. 3 times to the top and covering Ridgeline Trail Spring Blvd to N. Willamette.

Humans were few on the trail except the Spencer top section. The trail conditions are HARD, meaning the trail surface with all the gravel is very hard – cement-like. My legs and feet felt the 17+ miles by the end. Dogs were all well-behaved and leashed. Maintenance guys were working on several sections of trail with gas-powered weed-whackers so wildlife was far gone and even birds couldn’t be heard. Their work while necessary was loud, and I avoided that area for the remaining hike.

Objective met – a great elevation workout, wonderful scenery, some beautiful small things, and <30 minutes total driving carbon karma.


Leaving so very early, sunrise was mine to catch. First at the trailhead through the houses and then from the Baldy meadow.

Standing in the Baldy meadow surrounded by flowers watching the sunrise … quite special

Those special small things

Even hiking as fast as possible like this hike, the small things just pop and catch my camera

Data Geek Corner

  • Carbon Karma: 30 minutes driving = 1.5 hours hiking objective
    • Actual: 5.5 hours moving
    • Bank: +4 hours
  • Hike times: start 5:30 end 11:30 (rounded)
  • Length: 17.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 3,846
  • Pace: 19:49 min / mile, stopped time 6m:43s
  • Weather: Sunny, 55-75 degrees
  • Description: no trekking poles, fast hike, smallest gear kit – a ramble riff from out / back hike

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