After 5 days out-of-town sitting in cars and planes, some trail time was needed. With The LovedOne catching-up on her volunteer duties at the library, it was my call as to where boots would meet dirt. Rain and snow are (again) expected here next week – and these are no less critical now than in months past. But today was forecast to be cold (at least at first), clear, and sunny, so I decided to partake of the huge views of the Applegate Valley and the surrounding peaks available from the East Applegate Ridge Trail (East ART). As penance for all that sitting around, I embarked on an out-and-back hike from the lower trailhead.

The day turned out to be just as forecast – full bluebird with clear skies, a crisp breeze, and – once I got higher up – lots of sunshine. 😎

Early morning on the trail
Sunshine and warmth reach the trail
The Red Buttes across the Applegate Valley
The view from where the trail tops the ridge: (1) Red Buttes, (2) Burton Butte, (3) Mount Baldy, (4) Grayback Mountain and Big Sugarloaf Peak
Whimsy along the trail
Madrones and sunshine
Redstem Storksbill – one of the earliest Spring wildflowers

The East ART has become one of the most popular trails around here, what with its well-designed tread, great views, and easy access to those views from the upper trailhead. Mine was the second car at the lower trailhead when I started up and I encountered a dozen or more other hikers on my way to the upper trailhead – where the parking lot was about half full.

Starting back from the upper trailhead
A canopy of madrones
The trail contours along the ridge
The lone pine
Lots of sunshine today
The trail along the ridge
More whimsy appeared during the hike down
Milkmaids – another of the earliest wildflowers
Mount Isabelle from the trail
Contrails over the lower trail

I passed several hikers on the way down and the lower lot was almost full when I got there. A wonderful leg stretch (10.1 mile (16.3 km), 1,300 feet (396 m) of gain) on a perfect day for such a thing. 😁 It was a busy day on this trail but it never felt crowded. Now – as we’ve said before – it would be more than OK if it rained and snowed – a lot! 🥶

Out-and-back between the lower and upper trailheads (P)
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