Taits Trail

January 31, 1987

On Saturday morning, the last day of January, the Willamette Pass 5 AM weather update reported sub-freezing temperatures with falling snow. At 9:45 AM our group of 12 skiers found the pass to be warm and rainy! Fortunately for us, the rain let up long enough for us to take a 15 minute lift ride to the summit of Eagles Peak without getting soaked. Anyway, the $4 one ride lift ticket was soaking enough for one day. Once we were all assembled 1,500 feet in elevation above the Lodge, we found the weather greatly improved and the consistency of the snow to be midway between dry powder and wet cement. But surprisingly enough, it turned out to be just great for what proved to be a good day of skiing.

An exhilarating quarter mile descent brought us to Taits Trail. After a false start on the “A” loop, we got going along the eastern side of the T/T loop which provided us with good overlooks into the Rosary Lakes as well as a side view of Odell Lake to the south. Continuing onward, the trail wandered in and out and around about through an uncut stand of snow laden fir trees. It was very beautiful and very quiet — mostly because, being gentle slopes, the area did not attract an onslaught of chain saws, chair lifts and downhill runs (otherwise know as commercial “improvements”).

After the 2.2 mile loop was completed, a few zippy downhill stretches led us off the plateau and onto a ridge running between Maiden and Eagles Peaks. The map called it Maiden Peak Saddle and a sign said Boundary Pass. But for us it was just a convenient open area where our bunch could munch on lunch (gratuitously moistened by large falling flakes of wet snow). Two resourceful skiers, ladies both, managed to keep their sandwiches dry by eating under cleverly rigged shelters. One was improvised by use of a light plastic tarp stretched out ’tween ski and tree. The other was a space blanket wound into a cone — sort of a mini-tepee held together by clothes pins. Mr. J. Blanchard could not have done better.

Once lunch was done with, the Pass-to-Pass scramble began, with Jane in the lead all the way. The rest of us trailed into the Lodge around 2 PM, early enough to beat a heavy downpour that cut loose about ten minutes later. Sharing 10 miles of “high country” trails which provided so many more downs than ups were: Mari Baldwin, Tom Donnelly, Jane Hackett, Janet Baker Jacobsen, John Jacobsen, Kate Kramer, Ed Lichtenstein, Norma Lockyear, Royal Murdock, Chris Shuraleff, Annabelle Street and leader Bob Devine.

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