Spencer Butte Trail Loop 21Jan2022

My favorite hike (so far) in Eugene is Spencer Butte. I normally do the up-and-back, but this time I decided to to the loop. I haven’t been on the “difficult” side in a long time, why not do it this time?

At the beginning of the trail, there’s a nice clearing to have a picnic at or wait for others to hike.

On my way up, I took the trail I have many times before. It’s very well maintained and well trafficked.

Furry trees! These trees made me snicker just a little… the moss makes them look furry! And perhaps my poor eyesight?..

Through the fog there were hints of blue skies. Mostly it was foggy though.

In the summer, the landscape is literally choked with vegetation. It was weird to see it look empty.

More fog… Between the fog and the lack of bushes/greenery, it actually felt like a new hike for me!

The top! Normally, you can see for miles, and part of the city.

The fog/clouds were gently blowing around up here. It felt great until I cooled off (quickly). Then I figured I should be on my way.

Some sort of trail markers on the difficult side… I saw a couple of these, but I’m glad I didn’t have to depend on them to find my way!

Oh look, the trail. What?? I had forgotten how weird this side of the Butte is! I got my AllTrails map out more than once to make sure I was going the right way.

I found an actual trail, and was stoked.

It wasn’t raining, but it was still pretty wet.

More “trail.” Ha! This is where I reminded myself that it’s better to get my hands dirty than my butt. I didn’t want to fall!

Getting better, but still a little rough.

This is just pretty stuff.

Pretty moss… a true Oregonian appreciates moss, maybe? Lol

The trail gets a lot better, but is still rocky and rough. And much shorter.

I met a guy going up as I was on my way down. He ask, through pants, “Is the top (gasp) close?” I looked at him with a bit of pity , because he wasn’t even halfway there, and had not gotten to the bad parts. I showed him pictures of what to expect, and encouraged him as much as possible, without sounding like an overanxious mother… poor fella! But he kept going, and with a smile on his face! Good job, guy!

I look forward to doing the first side again, but I’ll probably avoid the difficult side on my next time here. Oh, I lost my AirPods case somewhere on this hike. I don’t normally wear them while hiking, but this is so well-trafficked, I did. Well, I guess I learned my lesson!

Distance: 1.95 miles, Elevation Gain: 744 ft

Powell Butte 15Jan2022 (plus The Edgefield!)

The Hubs and I went to the Edgefield McMenamins near Portland (Troutdale). On our way, we saw a great view of Mt. Hood… Please excuse the zoomed in picture – the colors were just too pretty to miss! We did try to keep freeway traffic, etc. out of the picture, hence the Big Zoom.

The Edgefield is a fantastic getaway for adults. I know people bring their children there as well, but I don’t know that I would (if I had kids). Most of the buildings are 21 and over – a distillery, pool hall, wine tasting room, etc. They do have a soaking pool that kids are welcome to enjoy with adults, but the kids have to be out by 8pm.

Below is our room, the Etta James. You can see they give you robes to use, because they assume everybody will use the soaking pool – and they’d be fools not to! It’s common to see people walking around the campus in these robes.

Our room had a nice sitting area. Many of the rooms (ours included) do not have bathrooms – they use the common bath areas at the end of the hall, etc. There are ladies’ lounges (and I assume men’s), as well as common bath areas that have several toilet/showers in individual rooms with locking doors. You will always have your privacy (in other words, no stalls except for in the public bathrooms).

For dinner, I chose the wild boar in a pomegranate balsamic reduction with broccolini and pureed sweet potatoes. YOU GUYS. It was amazing. I couldn’t finish it all, of course, and was sad for it!

Like at all McMenamin places, they have interesting artwork on the walls.

Not the best picture, but you get the idea about the soaking pool. Please go look at the website to see how big and pretty it is! https://www.mcmenamins.com/edgefield

More fun artwork on the walls. This one depicts their red water tower.

For breakfast, the salmon gravlax for me! I had this the last time I visited, in June, and absolutely loved it.

Look at these angels! This is my favorite mural there, I think.

After packing up from the Edgefield, we decided to go for a hike in one of Portland’s parks. We chose Powell Butte, and what a great view!

Powell Butte has a maze of trails that take you on pavement trails (above), gravel trails (below)…

…and dirt trails. There are so many trails here, you could do multiple variations for months, and not to the same exact trail! Of course, I’m no mathematician, but I think you get the idea.

We dipped down into a sweet valley that had a small stream running through it. I’m sure that stream doesn’t exist in the summertime.

The sun actually was out while we were in Portland! It was a nice change of pace from the clouds, fog, and rain.

Some of the path was wider, and there were areas for people to mountain bike.

I loved the trail signs – they were very clear and solid. These signs are built to last!

Pretty little ferns, shining in the sunlight. That light felt good for all!

We didn’t find any of the mountain bikers to be zooming fast or cutting people off. They seemed to be understanding of the many hikers taking their time. And there were a LOT of people in this park! But it’s the middle of January and there was sun – what do you expect?

There were different landscapes along the way, making it interesting the entire time.

After the hike, we went to Lardo for what is possibly my favorite sandwich: the Korean pork shoulder sandwich. This is amaaaaaazing. It has kimchi, pork, a tasty orange sauce, cilantro, and a soft bun. I absolutely love this sandwich!

Overall, if I lived in Portland, I would visit this park (and probably many others) often. It was beautiful, varied, and felt safe.

Distance: 3.6 miles, Elevation Gain: 542 ft.

Binegar Butte 13Jan2022

For today’s hike, I decided to go to Benegar Butte, which is near Lebanon and Waterloo, OR. I found the “trailhead” by accident, which turned out to be a logging road. While there wasn’t any active logging at this time, I was greeted by this:

It didn’t say hiking was prohibited, and there was a phone number… so I called it. I talked to a very nice lady named Annette, and she thought it would be okay if I hiked there. She had me leave a message on another person’s voicemail and off I went!

This was a weird bit of fungi. It looked very slimy, so I didn’t touch it.

The road was rough in areas, but wide open. Maybe spooky.

In some areas it looked like there had been a recent storm, with quite a bit of fallen branches and needles.

I wish the colors would pop the same way the human eye sees it. The green in parts of this hike was incredibly vibrant!

More of the GREEEEEN. The ferns and moss were like a blanket.

A nice view on the way up.

Teeny, tiny greenery. I don’t know what it is (moss of some sort), but it looks like little mini ferns.

On the summit (the landing), looking north.

Still on the summit, looking east at the little town of Waterloo.

A small clearing – I couldn’t help but think bears would like this area, especially if there are fruit trees in there somewhere.

A fork in the road. I was happy that I had my downloaded map! Much of the road had this kind of rock though – I think it’s called ballast? Some of the rock of as big as my fist, making it uncomfortable to traverse.

A short section of the road was like this. So much nicer to walk on! I really enjoyed it, and I wondered why it was like this. Did they never drive on this part?

Alas, as you can see, the regular gravel road started up again. I think it was around here that I found some poop. It looked like bear. To be honest, I’m a little paranoid when I hike solo, and this did not make me more relaxed. However, it didn’t look fresh, so at least that much was reassuring.

This was interesting – please turn your sound up to hear the electricity! It was weird, intimidating, and fascinating to walk under these lines for a little while.

Wicket, is that you?? (Where are you, my fellow nerds?) Yub Yub!!

Again, I wish you could see how the moss just GLOWS.

Um, more moss and ferns. You know, Oregon stuff.

This was an okay hike. I was a bit on the paranoid side. There was very little parking (it was basically a pullout), I found Cat (Caterpillar) tracks that looked relatively fresh, the possible bear poop, etc. It was okay though. I won’t do this one again, but I’m still glad I did it.

Miles: 3.8, Elevation Gain: 713 feet.

Wild Iris Ridge from Bailey Hill Rd 07Jan2022

It has been pretty wet in Oregon. The snows have melted and we’ve had some crazy rain. Now we’re having our standard drizzle. I decided to try a hike that’s basically in city limits – I didn’t feel like driving that far. Also, I was looking forward to a more open hike, not quite as dense. So Wild Iris Ridge it is!

The trailhead looks a little muddy, but it was gravel the whole way. This first part is a little more rough rock, but it switches out to gravel quickly.

You can see it’s a very well-maintained path (by the city, I believe). This was definitely more open – lots of light and sky, even if it is cloudy.

Being a native Oregonian, I can tell you nothing about these berries. I did not eat any.

These berries are also a mystery. Again, no eating.

I did a little research after my hike and found a lot of heritage research companies online that would love to take my money. I did not, however, find anything on a John J. Shaddy. Whoever he was, somebody was nice enough to put in a bench to sit and chat with him.

There are a lot of things going on in this wooded area. Lots of different kinds of moss, bark, algae, etc. Makes for interesting viewing.

Speaking of fungi and algae… here’s a nice cluster!

I’m not sure what this is. I assume it’s not a strange gravesite, but instead probably an old tower base.

Itty bitty acorns.

This is a great sitting rock! There are a few benches and this rock, if you want to stop and rest or read a book.

There were two bridges – you can’t see the second one, but it’s just down the path. These were great, nonslip metal bridges that went over some very boggy ground.

Here’s the summit. I could have walked out to the middle, but there wasn’t a lot to look at, especially with the hazy gray weather. I cannot wait to see this in the spring/early summer though! This hike will be popping with flowers!

Oh hey. A water tower.

Another nice bench. This one has its back toward a residential area.

I want to call this a ghost berry.

These are not commonly green (at least, in my experience), so I had to snap a picture of them. I think the fungi has an algae problem? No matter, it’s still pretty!

Overall, this was a good hike for people who want a hike in the city. Indeed, I saw over a dozen people on this rainy day, and many of them looked like it was their regular source of exercise. If I come back, it will be to see the flowers and maybe a sunrise. I saw two groups of people with five dogs total, and not a leash to be seen. I also saw some people I know from work, which was a very nice surprise.

Time: 1:38, Distance: 3.5 miles, Elevation Gain: 657 ft

Cook’s Ridge & Gwynn Creek Loop 31Dec2021

Last day of the year… and I got to hike! The snow is mostly gone and the roads are clear, so my sweetheart and I headed to the coast, just south of Yachats, OR.


The beginning of the trail was uphill for probably 2.5 miles. The trail itself was very nice, although it got a lot tighter later. Total elevation gain was around 1,460 feet, and boy did I feel all of it!

There were a ton of downed trees that we saw on most of the trail. I’m not sure if it was the wet, soggy soil, if there was a recent storm, or if the trees were just so wet and heavy.

You can see how shallow the root system is.

If you turn up your sound, you might hear a couple of the creaks and groans that the trees express. Pretty cool… and only a little scary.

This stump was just so cool! It would have been a huge tree! One side had a cool pattern and algae, and the other side was open and amazing.

We found quite a few trees that were cut out of the way, but this must have been a more recently fallen tree.

The top of this tree was leaning against another tree. I can’t imagine what would have caused it to buckle like this!

Again, a shallow root system. I am sometimes so grateful for my walking sticks, and this was definitely one of those times. I get distracted by look around, and my sticks have saved me from falling multiple times.

Not the greatest picture, but this was where I thought we were at the top. We were not. It was close those. This is also where it started hailing on us!

I just think this is beautiful, with the contrasting or complementary (whichever) colors. And so full of life, even after the tree had died.

Tons of typical Oregon swordferns.

We finally saw some sun! It was a welcome sight.

On every hike, there is a picture that, when I take it, I think, “Oh man. This is it. This is the SHOT!” Well, this is that shot for this hike.

If it were summer and warm, I would love to sit in this little waterfall! Of course, during the summer, it’s probably just a tiny trickle.

There were two or three areas that had water running over the trail. It wasn’t deep or terribly muddy, for the most part. I do wonder if they’ll put something in soon to preserve the trail.

Look up… It’s Sasquatch’s hammock! Such a cool and weird branch.

It felt like it took forever, but we made it to the oceanside part of the trail! The weather was instantly different… more wind and it was cold!

I’m not sure what was going on here, but there was a long strip of this. Just twigs and needles and dead, wide-open trail. It was bizarre, and I couldn’t figure out why it was like this.

Cook’s Chasm. This is the first time I’ve seen it from this side!

Post-hike meal: Prime rib melt sandwich with fries and a cider. I could only eat half, but that was fine because it made a great leftover lunch!

I got this for Christmas, so I put it to good use. It smelled great!

Happy New Year to you all!

I’m so happy to have gotten to hike one more time before the new year. Here are my hiking goals for 2022:

  • Go on 25 hikes
  • Set a new elevation gain record. This hike is my current record of 1,463.
  • Set a new distance record. Current record: 8.23 miles
  • Break my altitude record. Current record: 5,633 ft (Horsepasture Mountain Trail).
  • Go on one backpacking trip where I camp for a night.

I feel like some of the goals are a bit lofty, but I need to have goals, right?? And I know I have friends who would love to help me achieve these things and help me become a healthier me.

Sad Cat & Snow

Our boy cat, Burt, used to love the snow. I think that may have changed about three years ago, during what we refer to as “snopocalypse.” That year we got around a foot and a half of snow in a few hours, which is very unusual for our area. It suddenly became uncomfortable to roam the neighborhood, especially for a cat.

We just got some snow, starting on Saturday. And since Saturday, poor Burt has been sad. He mopes around the house, eats, and then goes to bed. He’ll go out once or twice, but for only maybe 30 minutes and he’s back home, going straight to bed. I’m not going to lie, I love that he’s home more, not fighting, etc. But I do feel sorry for the poor, sweet guy.

The snow has definitely put a delay on some hikes. I have a hard enough time getting out of our little driveway because of the slight incline (a bump, really)! Ha! I love my Mini, but it was not made for snow, I think.

Up on the roof
Sweeping the snow

When I got home on Sunday afternoon, I climbed the ladder and started removing the snow from the roof over the back deck. It’s corrugated plastic and I was worried it would buckle under the weight of the snow. My honey obviously worried about the same thing, because he braced it with 2×4 pieces of wood. It’s not an easy or convenient task: I had to climb onto the roof (slight fear of heights) and push the snow down as far as I could, without stepping on the plastic, of course. Then I had to take the ladder to the end and scoop the snow the rest of the way.

My car in the snow… looks like Santa!
The back of the hospital- ignore the light reflection and scaffolding.
Front yard
Passion fruit and the garden door
Merry Christmas!
I love the snowy tree background.

The weather forecast is suggesting it may clear up by the end of the week. If it does, and if my car can make it over one of the passes, I will go for a hike on the coast. I have a new raincoat – it’s the perfect classic yellow – and also a new hat and gloves. I think I’m ready! If I can just make it over the passes…

McDowell Creek Falls 23Dec2021

I had invited around seven friends to join me on this hike, since it is short and has waterfalls. I thought that might be a good draw. However, it’s so close to Christmas, and in the middle of the week… I didn’t have any takers. That’s okay, I’ll go by myself!

That reminds me: I remembered a hike that I did solo several years ago! I got a call from my boss asking me if I could come in, and I said I would be out of town that day. I didn’t want to be a liar, so I went out of town and hiked around Multnomah Falls. Did I get lost? Yes. Did I find my way? Also, yes.

So here I am, at McDowell Creek Falls trail.

We’ve had a lot of rain lately (hey, it’s Oregon), so this hike is all about the WATER.

Standing on the first bridge, I got a great view of McDowell Creek, in the swollen version.

The path is well traveled and maintained.

After a short time, I came to a fork. Take the stairs to the right, or the bridge on the left…

I chose the stairs to the right. I’d rather start my hike climbing than end it climbing! Also, if I’m coming downhill at the end of the hike, I’d rather do it on regular trail rather than stairs, for some reason. I believe I counted 138 steps.

Here is the first falls I came to – I believe it’s the Royal Terrace Falls… We’ll come back to this.

The view from the top of the falls – fantastic!

More water…

The extra rain has definitely made this a worthwhile hike!

Raging creek. 🙂

There were lots of streams joining into McDowell.

This is the first road crossing.

Here we go!

Fun flora growing on deadfall.

If it were sunny and dry, this would have been a great tree-bench to sit and have lunch.

Here was a parking lot… deserted and creepy. Although, I probably would have parked here rather than where I parked, to be more private.

Here are the start of the steps going down to the Majestic Falls.

Somehow, it looks like more than 39 feet…

Take the left to go back to the deserted parking lot, or take the right to keep going on the loop.

In total, there were about 76 steps going down…

It was very loud and misty here – I loved it!

On the bridge spanning the creek.

Looking back at the stairs.

So much water… it was invading the trail, but not too much.

So many little creeks and streams!

Itty bitty waterfall.

Crossing the road again.

Heading back.

A little shelter! For faeries, maybe.

I was very careful to approach, but there was nothing in there. Whew!

Slidy slide!


A recent fall?

Crossing another bridge.

McDowell Creek

Royal Terrace Falls – I love it!

These may be the Lower Falls, I was just at the top of it.

Once again, my little car was the only one there. I guess it’s not popular to hike in the cold and rain. 🙂

So. I tried the Pibella urinary device. After my last hike, I thought, “Hey, I’ve only tried one type of device, so I should try more!” Here’s the one I tried: https://www.amazon.com/PIBELLA-Travel-Green-PT51-03/dp/B078FW94QT/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=2G7XD2XS9YI4C&keywords=pibella+travel+female+urination+device&qid=1640321659&sprefix=pibella%2Caps%2C134&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzRVQ5MFpNQTgxMEpKJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMDY1NDE0NUNJUVQ0NFlCMEdIJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA5MTE1MjAyWlRSQ09KRkNKN0VMJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

When I practice at home, it’s great in the shower. Um, apparently, it’s not as easy with pants on. Did I pee on my pants again? Maybe… I’ll try it again to see if I can perfect the process, but I’ll also keep my options open. lol

Ballets & Books

I went to my first ballet! My sweetheart and I saw The Nutcracker, and we were not disappointed. The set, the costumes, and the music: all wonderful.

They had, I believe, silk backgrounds. They were lovely, and depending on the light, we would see different sets. I don’t really know how it works, but it was cool.


After the show, we went out to eat at a nice restaurant. I got the cassoulet, and it was RICH. Definitely worth a to-go box home!

Signed by the author

Did you think I forgot about hiking? Nope! We walked around an open shopping area before the ballet, and William Sullivan (OR hiking guru) was selling his books. I picked up this gem and he signed it. Woohoo! I’ve already scoped out some fun ones to do (hopefully) this winter, weather & roads permitting.

Stay tuned!