Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hiking Peterson's Butte

As part of a Build Lebanon Trails organized hike, today I conquered Peterson's Butte. Rephrase: My father and I and about a hundred other people stormed to the top, took a ton of pictures, and slid back down.

Peterson's Butte is located just off Airport Road to the southwest of Lebanon. It is approximately 1400' tall rising from a 400' elevation at the base. The entire "hill" is privately owned, and no public trails lead to the top. Today was the only opportunity for the general public to climb to the summit (until more hikes are organized or a trail is opened). My dad and I jumped at the chance since the hike was canceled last year due to fire danger.

After parking at the bottom of the mountain on the north side, we met up with the beginnings of a very large mob. There, I ran into one of my best friends from high school (Hi David!), and we had a good chat. I'd even wondered aloud to my dad as we were walking from the truck to the trailhead if I'd see anyone I knew. "It's a small town and a big mountain... odds are good." I'm glad he was right.

The trail up was mucky with springs pouring water straight down the dirt paths. Footing was difficult in the slime, but if you watched your step, it wasn't horrible. I slid, but I never fell. And I didn't think 1000' up would change the oxygen levels too much, but holy cow, I was wheezing and gasping and sucking air like an accordion the whole way up. Now I'm in good shape--I dance every week and get moderate exercise, but there were some swift forty-year-olds passing me! Ugh! At least there was shade and a good breeze, otherwise it would have been too hot for this delicate girl... ha!

The views from the top of the mountain (an hour-fifteen later) were indeed spectacular. We could see Mary's Peak in one direction and The Three Sisters in the other direction. We could pick out highways and roads, houses, farms, even sheep and cows. Dad and I had binoculars, so we could see almost to Albany and Corvallis. The green fields spread out in every direction, a perfect puzzle of grass and trees. So pretty... words fail me. Breathtaking. Literally.

We sat on top for a long while taking pictures and had a snack before ambling down the steep hill. The whole jaunt, my knees and thighs cried out. I must be getting too old or torn up to descend such inclines... oh how I hurt! But the view was worth it, I told myself. ~stumble, stumble, slip, walk, stumble~

Hours on the hill: three
Number of pictures taken: ninety
Sore muscles: many
Probability of me walking tomorrow: one in several hundred
Hiking Peterson's Butte: absolutely priceless

Pictures tomorrow!

No comments: