This weekend some friends were in town to run a marathon. Some people like running. I hate it. But I do love a good wander.
The marathon in question was in Eugene, a few hours south. I'd driven through Eugene a few times and even visited for a few hours once, but I'd never really gotten a chance to see the city. Even though I was not to be running the marathon (or the half marathon (or any race ever)) I still wanted to tag along to see the place and maybe explore while my wife and two friends made themselves miserable.
It started on Saturday. The 3 running amigos decided to do a little morning fun run then go and get showered for lunch. As a not runner, I decided to take this time frame to explore. We parked up in Alton Baker Park. They ran Pre's Trail. I walked across the river and up Skinner Butte, which is a random dollop of a hill right on the river. The top offered a great view of the town to the south. There was a classic college acoustic guitar douchebag at the top strumming love songs to the wind.
I then walked back down to the river, across back into Day Island, then along the water, occasionally veering off on side paths to the river and to meadows with views of Autzen Stadium. Quack.
We then went and saw Avengers: Infinity War. As a non-Marvel fan who has lost interest slowly over the years, it did nothing for me and actively annoyed me half the time. I just don't think I'm the audience for them anymore.
The next day we were up at 5 because runners are the worst people and hate adequate REM sleep. For the race that started at 7 I dropped them off at the starting line at 5:30. I took advantage of my sleep deprived delirium to drive to Spencer Butte for the sunrise.
Spencer butte is a big round hill south of the city. It looms pretty recognizably on the horizon in most of Eugene. It has a small trail system around it, and a couple of short routes to the top. The shortest route is about .6 miles and 800 steep feet of bullshit. But I started at 6am and by 6:24 I was at the top. I was alone. Total solitude. I didn't have much of a view thanks to heavy fog, but the serenity and atmosphere of being all alone at the top made it worth it.
I took a bunch of fog photos then went back down the longer, easier east side. I got back to the car before 8 had even hit. I decided to try to do a double summit and drive to Mt. Pisgah, the other nice big hill in the surrounding area. Sadly, due to the marathon route blocking the only easy access road to the area, I was shit outta luck. Runners: the actual worst? Quite possibly.
With my route blocked and at least an hour and a half before I was needed to return, I drove back to Spencer Butte and climbed it all over again because well, why not? Same route, slightly different explorations, got done just in time. Still didn't get any views thanks to fog.
With both climbs combined I got about 4.50 miles and 1800 elevation gain. Twas a good weekend for a workout. With the stress of the walks, the driving around, and the long trip home with maybe one good night sleep over the previous 4 nights, by the time I reached my home I crashed hard. But it was a good weekend.