February 10, 1996
This ski trip was advertised for Island Lake Shelter.
But the rain gods weren’t willing, the creek did rise, and the road was washed out.
So the survivors, Royal Murdock (leader) and Anne Montgomery reversed directions and headed
up Willamette Pass for the trailhead to Fuji Shelter.
We traveled on reasonably fast snow and were at the shelter for lunch slightly after 11:00.
Exploring around the area, we discovered a trailhead that was not indicated on any of our maps.
A map at the trailhead indicated a ski trail that looped toward Birthday Lake and back to the
shelter, a distance we estimated of six to seven miles.
The day was early, the snow improving, and our curiosity was stimulated by the new trail.
We took the right arm, where we found blue diamonds every few yards, and were encouraged by an
inch or two of new snow on the hard pack.
We finally reached a lake that we deduced must be Birthday Lake and started on the arm of
the loop we assumed would return down to the shelter.
After about a mile of hard climbing in the wrong direction and with infrequent diamonds,
we doubled back on our trail to the lake.
Despite the maps on the trail, there was no way back we could find except the way we came.
So that’s the way we went back, on snow getting icy and legs getting tired.
The sight of the shelter was a welcome relief.
The icy road back down wasn’t!
We got back to the trailhead a lot faster than we wanted to.
A great adventure!
Sometimes it’s a lot more fun when things just don’t work out as you planned.