Spencer Butte plus

March 7, 2016.

8.8 mi | 1000′ ele. gain | 2:45 hr.

Today’s adventure included Spencer Butte, among other things. Spencer Butte is something of a Eugene landmark, crawling with visitors from sunrise to sunset. But it’s a short trail to the top and I wanted something more. I pulled into the Blanton Ridge Trailhead after 2:30 pm to start my hike from there.

I followed the gorgeous and nearly empty Ridgeline Trail towards Spencer Butte, reveling in mid-day sunshine and pretty green leaves all around me. The trail was well-defined and obviously well-loved, muddy in places but totally passable. I cruised along the ridgeline, passing by a sign indicating the summit of the trail, then descending towards the Willamette Street trailhead. A short road walk and road crossing brought me to the east side of the trail and the gentle climb up the north ridge of the butte. I could tell when I was approaching the closer trailheads because I started to hear and see people. Ah, well, the solitude wasn’t going to last forever.

The summit felt like a bit of a zoo but it was nice up there. Thunder clouds loomed in the distance and I was grateful that they were way over there. Still, I wanted to get back in a dry state so after a brief but enjoyable mountaintop respite I headed back down.

I savored the views of a handful of early spring wildflowers as well as the cool-looking fungi clinging to the trees. Lichen draped off of every oak branch. It was a delightful spring day. As the sun fell closer and closer to the horizon, I reached my car around 5:15 pm. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon in Eugene.

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