Black Butte

November 23, 2007.

Thanksgiving weekend. Central Oregon. Cabins with friends. What a great idea!Since Black Butte was right up the road and the weather was great, we all piled into the car for a walk up to the top of this perfectly conical structure. Although I’d driven by it several times and had often consumed its namesake beer, I had yet to summit Black Butte.

All of us, minus one slacker, headed up the trail in the early afternoon. Soon we were treated to astonishing views of the surrounding peaks. Three Fingered Jack and Jefferson, as well as the Three Sisters, dominated the landscape. Clouds settled beneath these volcanic giants, making them stand out even more than usual. Under a bright sun, we quickly reached the top of the beast, where we wandered through the snow eating snacks and taking pictures. We went back down the winding trail, passing several groups on their way up. Near the bottom, we ran into a familiar character (Brad). The rest of the groups walked out to the car, but I decided to hike back to the top with Brad so he could have some company. It’s such a short walk, and a pretty one at that, that doing it twice is quite worthwhile.

We passed the same folks again, some of whom thought we’d be spending the night. Apparently carrying a backpack with more than a water bottle in it indicates an overnight trip, to some.

Brad decided it would be a good idea to climb up the fire tower even though it was expressly forbidden. He was convincing, so we made our way up the staircase and savored the views from above. As the sun retreated to its evening destination, we packed up and retraced our steps, casting long shadows as we left Black Butte behind.

This would be a great destination for casual hikers any time of year, as long as there is road access! Snowshoeing up the long, twisty road to the trailhead might be monotonous unless you like that kind of thing. There’s great rewards for minimal effort. And if you need to up the ante, then go for a double or triple.

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