Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summertime Blues

We logged the first couple of days of summer this week, with the solstice marking the longest day of the year on Monday, June 21. But the warm and sunny weather that usually accompanies our season of daylight has been "absent without leave."

Weather wonks generally concur that Eugene has set a new record for the latest arrival of an 80 degree day. As rock-and-roll icon Eddie Cochran might croon: "there ain't no cure for the summertime blues."

However, longtime hiking/climbing companion Steve Still and I may have found the antidote for the tepid start to summer with a hike up Deception Butte on Tuesday, June 22, when the sun made a cameo appearance just long enough for us to complete the trek. The trail starts near Deception Creek (above), which looks a lot like the set of Jurassic Park, and ascends to the 4000-foot summit of the butte.

The hike would mark the first trip for my new boots, a pair of Vasques that REI so graciously provided me after my Montrail Moraines expired on the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington last summer (

So this would be my first hike in an effort to "break in" my new boots, which I've always considered a misnomer: the boots actually "break in" the feet, which can be quite painful. Three miles in, I was back in my tennis shoes, with hot spots on both heels.

Other than that it was a fabulous hike: solid workout with no bugs. The mountain rhododendrons were in bloom (above) and the temperature was quite pleasant. The summit provided views of the town of Oakridge and Diamond Peak (below).

Who said "there ain't no cure for the summertime blues?"

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