It’s Saturday, which means that it’s an Ally-day. Ally-days are the best because I get Eric all to myself for a full day of exploring and fun (although I will admit that I shared today with an Oregon football game).
We started our morning with a walk down the street to the Humble Bagel Company for a delightful breakfast of a cinnamon raisin bagel with marionberry cream cheese (for me) and a southwest scramble (for Eric). Believe it or not, after living in Eugene for two months, this was our first breakfast outing! It was definitely a success, and I must go back to try the pumpkin bagel. I will not, however, give the salmon cream cheese a try, although that seems to be very popular here in the northwest. No thanks.
After breakfast we headed out for today’s exploring Oregon adventure: hiking Spencer Butte. I’m not sure if the folks around here classify Spencer Butte as a mountain, but I am going to call it that. It’s 2000-something feet high, so I think that counts. We intended to hike an easy 2-mile trail to the summit, but due to my lack of reading skills, we ended up hiking somewhere between 5 and 6 miles. Whoops.
We started at the Willamette Trail Head (at 52nd and Willamette) and hiked a few miles through trees that must be at their peak with the fall colors. This week has definitely been the best showcase of a colorful Oregon autumn. Of course, we’re living in a rain forest, and there’s no better reminder of that than a hike through the woods. I’m still amazed at the difference between Kentucky forests and Oregon forests. It’s so green here!
Anywho, after several miles of switchbacks and hills, we reached the top of the mountain, which is mostly a bunch of rocks. So we navigated our way through the maze of rocks and made it to the summit, where we took in spectacular views of Eugene and the mountains in the distance. As we heard a little kid exclaim while climbing the rocks at the top, “You can see the whole Willamette Valley from up here!” But really, you can. It’s beautiful.
We spent some time sitting on the rocks, drinking in the view, and wishing we could be drinking some hot chocolate (although it was a warm day, it was pretty breezy on top of the mountain). Then we began our descent, which was honestly the most difficult part of the hike, mostly because of all of the slippery rocks and wet leaves on the trail. However, the dozen trail runners that passed us didn’t seem to have any trouble.
As we hiked down the mountain, I couldn’t help but think about the food I wanted to eat when we finished. You know those days when you wake up craving insanely unhealthy amounts of chocolate? That was me today. I really wanted something intensely chocolatey, perhaps stuffed with something else intensely chocolatey. Luckily, I had a recipe for some Nutella-stuffed brown butter and sea salt chocolate chip cookies just hanging out on my Pinterest board. And yes, they were awesome. I’m sure that one bite of these things fulfilled our calorie quota for the day, but since we accidentally hiked 6 miles today, I think it’s okay.