Eugene Ridgeline explorations Oct.-Nov. 2017

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gratefultrails
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Joined: October 21st, 2015, 8:08 am
Location: Eugene

Eugene Ridgeline explorations Oct.-Nov. 2017

Post by gratefultrails » November 18th, 2017, 3:42 pm

I've been trying to stay local in my trips, so all of these spots along Eugene's Ridgeline trail system are the logical choices for hikes-within-20-minutes. Despite the large number of invasive species (as in all urban areas), there are many diverse ecosystems encompassed along this small series of hills. Upland prairie, dry incense cedar-Douglas-fir forests, pine-oak woodlands & savanna, rocky outcrops, and lush North-facing & riparian forests can all be found. Spencer's Butte is clearly the most known and popular, with obvious human impacts on the rare, rocky meadow on its summit and South/West side. So I'll start with some photos from there.

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Incense cedar and Mt. June way off in the distance...

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On the way down...

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Baldy hill, an upland meadow right up against some mc-mansions, is just down the ridge from Spencer's Butte. Looking Southeast up the Coast Fork Willamette Valley...

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I also took a trip to the Nature Conservancy's Willow Creek Preserve to tour a recent controlled burn and plant some Kincaid's lupine. This is not technically part of the Ridgeline, more a wet prairie in the flatlands beneath it.

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The rest of these photos are from pine-oak savannas that don't really have a developed trail system. Future recreation sites, but very wild right now.

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Old-growth ponderosa:

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Spencer's Butte and half moon looming:

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Oregon white oak

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Oregon white oak and California black oak woodland

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Hall's aster, blooming Nov. 17th. Is it spring yet??

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I need to remember to bring a trash bag with me next time!

Jesse
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Joined: June 6th, 2009, 2:48 pm

Re: Eugene Ridgeline explorations Oct.-Nov. 2017

Post by Jesse » November 18th, 2017, 8:10 pm

Hall's aster must be a very hardy species. Looking over the records I see that Eugene has already dropped to or below freezing several times this fall.

Jesse
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Joined: June 6th, 2009, 2:48 pm

Re: Eugene Ridgeline explorations Oct.-Nov. 2017

Post by Jesse » November 19th, 2017, 11:21 am

Jesse wrote:Hall's aster must be a very hardy species. Looking over the records I see that Eugene has already dropped to or below freezing several times this fall.
27 degrees in Eugene this morning.

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bobcat
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Re: Eugene Ridgeline explorations Oct.-Nov. 2017

Post by bobcat » November 19th, 2017, 2:18 pm

Good to get a report from Eugene! Here's a question for you: What are your top five hikes in/close to Eugene/Springfield?

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gratefultrails
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Joined: October 21st, 2015, 8:08 am
Location: Eugene

Re: Eugene Ridgeline explorations Oct.-Nov. 2017

Post by gratefultrails » November 20th, 2017, 11:43 am

Jesse- I was surprised when someone pointed it out to me in mid-October haha. And now another specimen one month later! We've had some seriously cold nights since October too. I wonder how late these guys can bloom on a warm year?

bobcat- I'm fairly new to the Eugene area, but here are my top 5 hikes close-by (so far)

1) Patterson Mtn./Lone Wolf Meadows - Terrible access road, but my favorite hike thus far!
2) Spencer's Butte- Despite extreme popularity, I love the rare ecosystems and the view of 7 snowpeaks on top.
3) Mt. June/Sawtooth Meadows- via the Lost Creek Trail.
4) Horse Rock Ridge- excited to check this one out more extensively in the spring!
5) Alsea/Green Peak falls for summer cool downs

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bobcat
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Re: Eugene Ridgeline explorations Oct.-Nov. 2017

Post by bobcat » December 9th, 2017, 10:07 am

I hiked at Spencer Butte and most of the Ridgeline Trail (from Willamette Street to Baldy) earlier this week, just as the big freeze began to hit Eugene. There was valley fog, so the views were limited. I made note of a few things:

* Apparently, the area is one of the last refuges of the rattlesnake in the valley (There's also lots of poison oak);
* I noted a few large Willamette Valley ponderosa pines among the Douglas-firs; the former were mostly slaughtered by early settlers who found the wood easy to work with. It's a ponderosa variety that has adapted to the soggy soils;
* There are also incense cedars near the top of Spencer Butte.
* The easier but longer Main Trail up the butte had some fine trail work done in 2015 (lots of carved stone steps and little stone buttress walls).

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gratefultrails
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Location: Eugene

Re: Eugene Ridgeline explorations Oct.-Nov. 2017

Post by gratefultrails » December 21st, 2017, 6:36 pm

Thanks for these extra notes Bobcat. I just recently learned Spencer's Butte was called Chamotee by the Kalapuya, meaning rattlesnake. I really hope to see one now when the warm weather returns!

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