The trail to Stein Butte (USFS #929) is one of the classic hikes in Southern Oregon’s Upper Applegate River Valley. It was the last hike we did in 2014 (post), one of our first hike & bike efforts (post), near to the last hike we did in 2015, and the first and last hikes we did in 2016. So, without starting a tradition or anything, it seemed only fitting that it be our last hike for 2017.
The #929 was one of the few major trails in the Upper Applegate River drainage to escape impacts from last summer’s massive Miller Complex Fire. So the trail was free of obstacles and in great condition. Once we reached the crest of Elliott Creek Ridge it gave us sweeping views to the south and west and, from the summit, views around 360º. Last year we were starting in to what would become a near “normal” (and then some) winter, with plenty of snow in the High Cascades and along the Siskiyou Crest. Then the #929 and the surrounding forest were sprinkled with pleasant amounts of snow for New Year’s Eve. This year, any meaningful snow has yet to materialize. Medford, Oregon saw its 9th driest December in 107 years, while Mount Shasta City in California had its 2nd driest December since records began. Well, winter isn’t over yet, so snow may yet happen and our snowshoes may yet find meaning. You know, snow gauge half full and all that…
I had to distract the LovedOne with idle chatter and snacks to keep her from trying to knock it down.
Nice cairn in photo 5