Stein Butte (Southwest Oregon) 20-Jan-2022

Since 2014, with one fraught exception, Stein Butte has been the hike that closed out our hiking year. 2021, however, ended in the midst of a giant snow storm. Driving was treacherous. Emergency rooms (should a hike go bad) were clogged with plague victims. Even if these hadn’t been concerning issues, there was absolutely no enthusiasm for miles of post-holing up through deep drifts of fresh snow. None. So Stein was postponed.

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Stein Butte Loop (Southwest Oregon) 28-Dec-2020

Since 2014, with one notable exception, a hike up Stein Butte at the south end of Applegate Lake has been our last full hike of the year. This year – despite its litany of flaws – was no exception. We were (very) remotely tempted to do this hike during one of the storms predicted to arrive before New Years Day. You know, so our last hike of 2020 would be just as pleasant as the rest of 2020 has been. 😦

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Hiking Southern Oregon: 25 Hikes (February 2020)

To celebrate our 600th post on WordPress, we’re highlighting a select few of the many hikes we’ve enjoyed here in Southwest Oregon.

As we’ve perused lists of Oregon’s greatest hikes, we’ve come to notice that these lists are heavily skewed, with a few exceptions, toward hikes near Portland.  That metro area’s greater population helps if a list is based on some kind of vote.  And proximity to its major airport helps get votes from those who drop in for a brief Western adventure.  Even some of the classics, like the Wallowas in Eastern Oregon or the Three Sisters in Central Oregon, often don’t make these lists because they are too far away.  So a lot of “great” hikes get done near Portland – the state’s most populated town. And then the complaints roll in about how there’s no parking, the trails are too crowded, you need a permit or must pay a fee, it’s raining, etc.

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Stein Butte (Southern Oregon) 30-Dec-2019

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. 😀

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Madrones in the Abstract IV (April 2019)

Natural processes create a seemingly infinite variety of abstract patterns in and on the bark of the Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii), Southern Oregon’s signature tree. So, as winter starts being pushed aside by the warm caresses of Spring, here are more images selected from the bark of these endlessly fascinating trees.

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Madrones in the Abstract III (January 2019)

Natural processes create a seemingly infinite variety of abstract patterns in and on the bark of the Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii), Southern Oregon’s signature tree. So, as another round of winter weather (with snow! 😀 ) closes in on us, here are more images selected from the bark of these endlessly fascinating trees.

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Stein Butte (Southern Oregon) 28-Dec-2018

The Stein Butte Trail (USFS #929) is one of the classic hikes in Southern Oregon’s Upper Applegate Valley. It was the last hike we did in 2014, near to the last hike we did in 2015, and the last one we did in both 2016 and 2017. So, in the spirit of unimaginative repetitive behavior, it seemed only fitting that it be our last hike for 2018 as well. 🙄

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Madrones in the Abstract II (November 2018)

More of the abstract artistry of the Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii), Southern Oregon’s signature tree. Natural processes create a seemingly infinite variety of abstract images in and on their bark.  Hence one more set of images from the bark of these endlessly fascinating trees.

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