Friday, May 7, 2010

the black butte trip that almost wasn't

 south and north sister

Black Butte has been on my to do list for far too long.  Every time I drive through the Cascades, I marvel at that symmetric, black cindercone and fantasize about the great views it has of its snowy neighbors.   My plan was to camp there on Saturday night with Kerri, take pictures of the sunrise and then head back to Corvallis.  Unfortunately, high winds caused NOAA to issue a hazardous weather warning for the area so we decided to just drive out early the next morning and make a day trip out of it instead.  We managed to also snag another friend, Justin, to come along for the ride as well.

frost line on black butte

The skies looked pretty grim during the drive there and I thought for sure that it was going to be a soggy, cloudy day with limited to no views. Crazily, after we passed Mt. Washington, the skies opened up instantaneously and we were flooded with sunshine, contrails and cirrus clouds--perfect.

The forest road to get the trail was pretty treacherous for an old Civic...nearly impossible to avoid the potholes and large rocks scattered throughout the 5 mile path.  When we did finally arrive, we were the only ones there and didn't see anyone else until much later in the day.  Another thing we didn't encounter until much later was snow-- although the air was crisp, it was dry and (thankfully) there wasn't any precipitation.  About 2/3 of the way to the top, there was a sharp gradient of frost and the green trees that surrounded the trail became white and windswept. Pretty cool.

At the top we were greeted with fantastic panoramas of the high Cascade peaks all around us.  The clouds were also pretty spectacular forming strange shapes as the air rose up and over the surrounding mountains.

After getting our fill of lunch, goofing off at the top and getting sunburned, we made the trek back to the car and cruised back to Corvallis. A return trip involving camping, a cliche Deschutes Black Butte Porter, and a sunrise is in order...

justin and kerri


snow at the top of black butte

the crew at the top

happy, happy, joy, joy

retired fire lookout on Black Butte

broken top

mt. jefferson

big rocks

mt. washington