After our first hike of Stein Butte at the end of 2014, doing so morphed into sort of a year-end tradition. We missed in 2015 because we inexplicably exchanged a snow slog up Stein for a snow slog up nearby Squaw Peak. Stein is a solid hike (9.4 miles round-trip; 2,400 feet of gain) on good trail to what, for the last four years, has been big views from the old lookout site. Well, not this year. Aside from a very brief view of Applegate Lake from the summit, valley fog and a cloud deck conspired to keep us in a fuzzy grey bubble for most of the day. Probably not a bad way to end a year that had many spectacularly great moments mixed with a few not so good ones. Not every doughnut comes with sprinkles. o_O Still, this was good hike and a very fine way to end what was for us another busy year in the out-of-doors. 😀

Ascending through the valley fog on the Stein Butte Trail, Oregon
Ascending through the valley fog
Dead madrone leaves
Leaves from seasons past
A twisted madrone tree that looks like a sculpture
A madrone as sculpture
A small leaf with water droplets
Don’t cry for us tiny leaf
On the Stine Butte Trail, Southern Oregon
Onward into the mists
The bright red root ball of a madrone tree
The colorful root ball of a very old madrone
A pine tree standing in a foggy valley
The mist persists
Stine Butte Lookout, Oregon
Whiteout on Stein Butte
Two people standing overlooking a foggy valley
Looking south – California is out there somewhere
Applegate Lake from Stine Butte, Oregon
A glimpse of Applegate Lake (arrow)
The Red Buttes from the Stine Butte Trail
On a good day you can see the Red Buttes from here
Madrones along the Stine Butte Trail, Oregon
Heading back into the mists through the madrones
A colorful knot in a madrone tree
Last abstract of the year (and of the decade)!
Sunset over the Green River, Utah