I’m supposed to go biking/hiking with my friend Christine this weekend, but there was no way I was going to miss out on today’s weather. I mean, LOOK:
So, I went local, and chose Spencer Butte, one of my favorites. This time, I decided to go from Fox Hollow Rd. The parking area was small and there happened to be a school bus there from a rural town. I suspect they were visiting the Cascades Raptor Center (you can check it out here: https://cascadesraptorcenter.org/ ). There was another parking spot left, just for me obviously, so I took it and headed out. You first have to cross the road…
There were so many of these Pacific Trilliums! It was beautiful. I love that some are white and some have pink in them.
The path was clear and tidy the entire way. It was a lot of uphill, but that’s good, right??
My friends. For this next picture, I have a story. Take a gander at the plant…
That is the Stinging Nettle. Where I grew up, this stuff grows up to four or five feet high. If you brush your skin against it, it feels like burning, stinging, fire. I read up a little and according to Wikipedia and an app I use, the hollow hairs (trichomes) that are on the entire plant (above ground) act like needles and inject histamine and other chemicals. It can also cause a bumpy, red rash.
When I was around 13 or 14 years old, I was out in the woods with my sister and a friend, Shane, who was a couple of years older than us. We came upon a patch of stinging nettle that grew very tall. Shane stepped on one of the plants to get it out of the way, stepping against the very bottom of the plant. Unfortunately, it tipped straight at me, and the leaves hit me directly in the face, spreading out and slapping cheek to cheek.
I, being a country girl, was offended. I grabbed another tall nettle by the base and pulled it out. As soon as I did, Shane grabbed one to defend himself (rightly so). We brandished those nettles the way Jedi’s wield their lightsabers, swinging wildly. Needless to say, we both went home with skin on fire, bumpy rashes everywhere we had bare skin. We didn’t know the treatment, so we just had stinging skin… for hours. What Shane didn’t know was that I was very proud of my quick actions as well as pain tolerance. I’m still kind of proud, in a country way.
This fellow below is somebody that I work with, kind of. What I mean by that is that I know him, but he doesn’t remember me, ever. I know he does those ultra-long-distance running things, which is phenomenal and bizarre. It’s very impressive. It just must take up a lot of time!
I think this shot below is my favorite of the hike. This is the closest I’ve gotten to showing you all what the moss, etc. looks like in the sunlight. It’s surprisingly hard to catch the vibrancy and how amazing it looks, but this is pretty accurate.
After heading uphill for quite some time, I went down again, to what I think of as the “normal” trailhead to Spencer Butte. I passed a LOT of people, most of them going up the “good” side. I, however, was heading for the difficult side.
I think I was traversing these rocks when a CHILD passed me, running up the rocks with his gangly arms and legs. Yes, I was jealous. I actually dropped my water bottle while trying to get up some of the rocks, and it fell down, threatening to continue far, far away. Luckily, it stopped, and I climbed back down a little bit to get it.
At this point in the hike, my legs were getting pretty fatigued. I was a little worried at how long this was taking. Not because I am trying to be fast (hey, I’m happy just DOING it), but because my husband is getting up this afternoon (he works nights) and I’d like to make some dinner for him! But then I realized I had hours to go, so I kept trudging along. This last part was intimidating and slow. Quite slow. It took me 2 hours and 4 minutes to get to the top. I feel like the last rocky part took a half an hour, even though that’s really not likely, at all. But I got to take some pictures of flower (gasp, gasp). I absolutely love flowers that grow in the rocks!
If this is how they’re marking the trail, I think they need to redo some of the markings! These are hard to find. I use my AllTrails app though, so I’m fine.
Finally done, I decided to stop at the store on the way home. Hopefully, nobody would stand downwind of me… I need a shower! I picked up some groceries, and one of the items was this incredible looking Spanish smoked paprika. It was so pretty, I had to take a picture of it.
This was a really good hike. I don’t want to even try it if it’s muddy – that difficult side can be treacherous. It was very challenging for me, but the day was beautiful, and the view at the top made it all worth it. I was a bit surprised to see so many people on the trail (hey, don’t you have jobs?!?), but I was one of them so I can’t complain. Great day, great workout, great views.
Distance: 5.17 miles; Elevation Gain: 1,424 feet (hell yeah!)