Berley Lakes

March 4, 1989

It was a dark and storm day up on the Santiam Pass as our little group skied north up the Pacific Skyline Trail, but at last our adventure had begun. The months of fund raising, of purchasing supplies and tedious packing were over. Our expedition was actually in the field! A quarter of a mile out we took the first wrong turn. Or rather we went straight when we should have turned. But the blunder wasn’t serious since we saw the little lake at the top of the hill and soon were back on the trail. All kidding aside, there were about 14 inches of fresh snow on the ground so the tracks from the previous week were gone and the trail breaking was fairly strenuous. After the misadventure at the start, the pathfinding was fairly straightforward because someone had marked the trail with orange surveyor’s tape and David, who was in the lead at the time, hit the crucial turn near Jack Shelter right on the button. We got to lower Berley Lake a little before 1 p.m. and found a somewhat sheltered spot for lunch. The wind was blowing snow horizontally across the lake, but luckily, it wasn’t too cold. After lunch someone asked, “What do we do now?” I said, “What does anyone want to do?” A loud voice replied, “Head back the way we came!” I said, “That sounds good to me.” A few seconds later when I looked up, I saw at least three of the party halfway across the lake moving at speed. It wasn’t the most promising day to explore the slopes below Three Fingered Jack as we had planned. The ski out was great with the fresh powder snow. On this trip were Tom Woxell, Ruby Seitz, Dick Hildreth, Tim Cook, Bill Casto, David Doucet, Jill Devine and John Mowat (leader).


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