Another autumn day perfect for hiking – cold, crisp and clear (at least to start). To minimize carbon cost, Ridgeline Trail was the destination, a short 10 minute drive right outside Eugene. Left early to catch sunrise as usual though started heading to the Fox Hollow TH, but missed the turn and ended up at Willamette TH. Quickly zipped up the Gregory 30L, and hit the trail going up / east to Spencer first thing.
A supposedly rainy day expected, so geared up accordingly and headed to the Fox Hollow TH very early – arriving just before first light. Getting ready to go, a pair of trail runners with headlamps ‘on’ stopped for portapot and we all listened to the owls singing – some where at the Raptor Center and others not. Nikon camera was put away around 2/3 way as drizzle and rain arrived. Camera flash required as I
A rainy day, so the better camera stayed home – especially with all its unpredictable behavior and failures recently (… a new camera needed?). Hence, all pics are iPhone SE2. With only the morning to burn in the woods, Spencer Butte was the best ticket. I started very early from Willamette TH then went west to Blanton TH, up to the summit, back down to Ridgeline and back up … then to car. On way
Day 3 (Sisters Loop + S Sister) I arrived at Devils Lake TH 30 min before light and left at first light up the climbers’ trail – the moon was still up Up the climbers trail to the first ‘table’ is 1.5miles, steep, but fast and once you reach the edge everything opens up. Crossing the climbers’ trail on Moraine Lake tr follows the lake’s edge toward Green Lakes (the lake was ~60% of size
After day 1 filled with surprises and the morning covered in ice, expectations for PCT north were mixed. I knew the trail would be flat and viewless until the Wickiup Planes, but was really looking forward to Mesa meadows. Heading north from Elk Lake TH, the PCT was quiet thru the trees – a long on-ramp to higher elevations. Once to Wickiup Plains, the scenes and trail are repeat though the snow changed the views.
Leaving home very early to catch first light on the trail did not prepare me for the early morning moon. The harvest moon was later in the day, and I was ready for that one, but the morning moon surprised me. Then from the road, the amount of snow on the summits was also surprise Elk Lake Th going south gets to a view spot in about 1m, and with all the snow, fog, and
3 days covering a harvest moon and the fall equinox … what a time to be in the woods. Cascades Lakes highway has much to offer regardless of your activity or gear … I chose Elk Lake for a 3-day set of day hikes, as the lake campground closest to PCT. The campground has small sites, close together up above the lake, with too many dogs. The lake has a resort and sailboats a-plenty. Access
The winds of change have shifted: the winds were blowing cold (~40 f) bringing smells of rain and weather people put 100% probability of >.5″ of rain on Saturday (one report said no meaningful rain since July 7). What better morning activity than zip up and around Spencer Butte? That 1 hour before and around sunrise as the sun peaks over the ridge is my favorite time, and starting at Willamette TH going west toward
Another 1 day hike on PCT from one of my most frequent TH, Trapper Creek. There was a small window to do 2 day / 1 night to capture longer PCT, but current backpack situation did not work … So, hit the trail around 7:00 with a little smoke, but clearing teasing Aside, on way to TH stopped at Oakridge to buy gas -part of my intent to spend money in all the small towns
A quick 3x to the top and touching both Fox Hollow and Willamette trailheads was the mid-week work out. Put on my Northface 20L day pack, and hit the trail by 6:30am. Smoke was threatening to fill the valley from near-by fires (around Oakridge), and as has been the case recently, deer were in the valley where not often seen (hiding from fires / smoke?) The first time at the top, there were few other