Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Bigger, The Better?

Another hike, this time a little way from home; Spencer Butte in Eugene! It got mixed reviews from this crew...at least we finished the hike, unlike the time about 3 years ago when we tried it.

The hike is short, (3+ miles), but brutish. Especially if you take the hard route up the face of the Butte, (it's the left-hand trail from the trailhead sign). It's pretty much straight up, with alot of scrambling up slick-faced slabs of basalt rock. This trek brought me back to a trip to Palenque and it's Mayan Temples with the 10-12 inch stone steps. Not for the faint hearted! There is an approximaly 800 ft elevation gain within one mile. We took alot of breaks on this part of the route...

Watch out for the plentiful patches of stinging nettles and poison oak~! My suggestion - wear long pants for hiking around this area, no matter how hot the weather. Also, be careful where you place your hands while you're climbing up.

There are some great views from this side, and also when you get to the top. The entire Eugene/Springfield metro area is within a full 360 degree view! We could even see the Fern Ridge Reservoir from our vantage point. We went down the "easy" main trail down the backside of the Butte; not alot of views, but gentler on the body. There is a nice forest ambience along this part of the trail, and it's much better maintained.

A word of warning, this was about the poorest maintained trail overall that we've seen (and that's saying alot). There are many bushed-wacked trails that look look like the main one, especially the closer to the top you are. It's downright dangerous if you have poor balance or are afraid of heights, or are really out of shape. Plus, several of the hikers we met had dogs, who left some little "presents" for the rest of us. There was also evidence of severe biker damage along this particular trail, which is supposed to be a Hiker trail only; there are two other marked trails which are dedicated for mountain bikes.

Overall, it was a good hike, we sure got alot of exercise and another great workout in preparation for our PCT section hike. I also have to say I don't want to do it again, and would look for another hike that might be more interesting, (like along Eugene's several Riverfront Parks)

7 comments:

Pandabonium said...

Cool.

I found a website with a panorama taken from the top of Spencer Butte which you can pan 360 degrees and zoom as well. It's at http://www.cephotos.com/virtual_tours.htm (click the second from the bottom photo).

Looks like a really neat view from the top as you say. I've been on hikes like that in Colorado, though where the trail is relentlessly steep and it seems like getting there will take forever. In this case there was obviously a reward for all that work.

Palenque must have been awesome too.

I hope it was the dogs that left the "presents" and not their owners. :^0 Maybe the backside which you took down is a better way to go up?

The Moody Minstrel said...

Green...
Green, green, green, green
GREEN, green...

ladybug said...

Yes, pandabonium - I'd definitly recommend taking the the backside route BOTH ways if I ever did it again. Perhaps Spencer Butte just needs a stronger "Friends of ..." organization to have better maintenance of the trails & parking area, (and a bit more cashola...).

rob said...

I made a rather crummy (b&w) "Virtual" panorama (120deg?) taken from Skinner's Butte a few years ago. You can see Spencer's off in the distance.

Get it here.

Don Snabulus said...

That's a cool panorama...I thought about making a panoramic shot of Spencer's, but I was busy sweating. I do have a few pictures I might post unless my usual laziness takes over.

Some Guy said...

Who'd want to see Spencer's Butt anyway. Oh wait... Butte....

Gack!!!!!!! said...

Kind of like that Black Butt Ranch over by the Three Sis...oh, wait.

Butte, eh?

I'll go look at the map again.