When we moved to Southern Oregon in 2014, we chanced to hike up Stine Butte on the last day of that year. This choice had more to do with trailhead access on possibly icy roads than something about the butte itself. But we experienced a sturdy climb to sweeping views of the Siskiyou Crest and the Applegate Valley. So, for the next seven years, Stine was (almost always) our “traditional” last hike of the year – sometimes in snow, most times not.
Whether we replicate this repetitive last hike of the year tradition here in the Gopher State remains to be seen. But we were interested in doing a hike on this next to the last day of the year (the last day having already been spoken for). The weather would, however, get a vote on which hike we chose.
We really wanted our last hike of 2022 to be a sunny one. But today’s forecasts were conflicted and scattered as to whether it might be sunny or cloudy or when one might switch to the other or not.
Exasperated by this meteorological dithering, we settled on another visit to Moir Park and the trail along Nine Mine Creek to the Minnesota River. Even without sunshine, it’s a pretty walk along the creek, with reflections and ducks for company. Plus we’d get to see the river again.
By the time (09.00) we’d pulled on multiple layers of clothing and reached the trailhead at Moir Park, the weather had landed resolutely on fully sunny with only a tiny cloud (or two) in the sky. Cold (20℉/-6.6℃), yes, but beautifully sunny. 😎
We made a bold start by going down the stairs from the parking lot to the trail along the creek. The stair’s treads were packed with snow-covered ice, so much bold clinging to its railings ensued. 🥺 Funny how microspikes don’t work if you leave them in your pack. 🙄 Anyway, after this excitement, the level, plowed trail out to the river was well-packed snow with nary a slippery spot.
There’s a point along the trail where a large storm drain enters the creek. I took a photo here during our hike in September and another again today. Lush early Fall foliage versus the bare trees of Winter. But more water in the creek now than in the Fall.
Now that we live in a place with months of serious cold and snow, we’re starting appreciate one of Winter’s gifts (aside from no mosquitos 🦟) – the building of a really, really deep appreciation on our part for the warmer, leafier, easier months of the year. After months of cold and snow, we’re going to be primed to not waste one precious moment of warmth – even if it does come with an array of flying, biting insects. 😒
And, so, after 5.2 miles (8.3 km), our last hike of 2022 came to an end. We enjoyed it. And, judging from the well-used track and the people we passed, it’s popular with others too. 😊 Note: we used the path – and not the still icy stairs – to get back up to the parking lot. 🙄
If the weather forecasts are to be believed (or not 🤔) this may have been the last fully sunny day until we’re into the New Year. So we’re glad we were able to get out and take advantage of it. 😁 And with that…
Thanks! But I’m afraid this pun is going to reflect badly on your permanent record. 😉
Some people really get into reflecting at the end of the year.
I especially liked the 1st one.
Thanks for the info. We joined the Rovers soon after we moved here – but only managed to go on 3 hikes in 2022 due to scheduling conflicts. We’re going to try to do more Rover trips in 2023. 🙂
Yes most people miss it. If you just turn right at the river and hike another 10 minutes you will find it. Nine Mile Creek is a nice hike and the Minnesota is an interesting river as it is in a huge valley formed by an old glacial river. I belong to an outdoors club which organizes a lot of different kinds of trips including hikes. https://mnrovers.org/
Thanks! We went straight to the river and back and not to where Nine Mile reaches the Minnesota. This will be something to look for next time we do this hike. 🙂
Nice photos. Nice hike any time of the year. Did you see the rope ferry that crosses Nine Mile Creek where it empties into the Minnesota?