Santiam Pass to Big Lake via PCNST

March 29, 1981

As our group headed out for Santiam Pass all hands were hoping that what was heavy rain in town would turn out to be less liquid at the Pass. And it was! Almost to a fault.

Fortunately, the first half of our route passed through a wooded area which sheltered us from the gale force wind then buffeting the area. Thus we were able to relax and enjoy the scene around us where every bough hung low, newly dressed in thick coats of white. The worrisome moment of truth eventually arrived when we broke out into the 7,700 acre area of desolation known as The Airstrip Burn. Ahead lay a wind swept jumble of fallen timber interlaced by random new growth. The thin snow cover out in the open was marginal for c/c skiing, though more was being added by the minute. Topping the foreboding scene was the shrieking wind transporting swirling snow that reduced the visibility to a few hundred feet at times.

A consensus was taken, and six hardy souls elected to push on to our advertised destination. From amongst them an ad hoc leader was chosen, a dauntless fellow of true grit. And so off they went, Gene following his trusty compass and Alice, Bernie, Bonnie, Gladys and Wilbur following Gene. It was three hours later that the group reappeared relating tales of hardship (log leaping and puddle jumping) coupled with yarns of good fellowship shared by all. Gene, the man who brought caviar and smoked oysters to Elk Lake, further enhanced his reputation by passing out samples from his haut cuisine trail lunch.

The rest of our party enjoyed the less demanding skiing provided by the gently undulating trails through the forest. Jan and Lois, newcomers to skiing, worked hard at mastering the basics under trying conditions. Overall, each of us was able to select the degree of difficulty and performance that we felt most comfortable with. Coping well with the sundry miseries of the day were Lois Cummings, Bernie David, Gladys Grancorvitz, Wilbur Groner, Dorothy Hayes, Bonnie Ledford, Alice Tallmadge, Gene Thaxton, Jan Thenell, Paula Vehrs, Martha Thomas, and leader Bob Devine.

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