Black Butte with Barley

Peak Summited2019 Black Butte
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadUpper Black Butte trailhead
EncounteredWildflowers blooming
Hiking CompanionsHiked with a dog
Road ConditionsRoad rough but passable
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition

After a couple of weeks of hot weather I took advantage of today's cooler temperatures and headed out for a morning hike up Black Butte. This is the 5th time I've done Black Butte and I don't remember the road being that washboarded! It seemed to take forever to get up to the trailhead after turning off of pavement. Maybe that's because I had a dog in the car who was not having the bumpy ride.

I (erroneously) assumed that a midweek morning would be slow, but the trailhead was nearly full when I pulled in about 9 am. The cars included several National Forest vehicles (important later), so I figured they might be doing some trail maintenance.

Barley, my 1 year old lab, came along on the hike with me. I usually hike with both of my dogs but thought that some 1:1 time might be nice. Oh boy, I forgot how much the puppy likes to bark when he's not distracted by my older dog. He yapped his way up the trail and barked greetings at every other hiker out there. So my short, quick outing turned out to be a long morning of dog training along the trail. See a person, wait, put the dog in a sit, get his attention on me, try to keep it while the other hiker goes by. To everyone along the trail this morning, thanks for the patience and happy pats along the way. Of course he thought it was the best day ever.

We had the summit to ourselves for a while, but I could hear voices. There were a few people on top of the fire lookout. I assumed these were the people who came in the forest vehicles since the lookout is off limits to the public. Just as we started back down the peak I heard a helicopter. I thought it might be bringing in supplies, but it was actually leaving the summit – the helicopter pad isn't visible from the trail and I hadn't seen it on the hike up. But we watched it take off and circle the summit before making its way east. Barley barked at it (of course). I'm not sure what they were doing up on the lookout but clearly there was some kind of work going on.

There were even more people coming up the trail on our descent and the overflow parking was filling up by the time we made it back to the car. I guess everyone thought the same thing I did – cooler temps, clear views, what a great day to climb Black Butte!




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  1. I am pretty sure we passed you! You were feeding snacks to Barley, on your way down as we went up! It was lovely today. I wish I’d known to really say hi to a fellow six packer!