Newberry Crater/Paulina Lake

February 9, 1997

Mostly clear pavement made it possible to relax and enjoy the three-hour drive to Central Oregon, though the sight of an overturned pickup truck alongside the Davis Lake cutoff reminded us to not become complacent. We were pleased to find that a downed tree at the entrance to the Nordic ski trail was one of only three that we encountered, and that the trail was generally in good shape. (The trails are kept clear of blow-downs courtesy of the local Snowmobilers’ Association, with the permission of the Forest Service. The Nordic trails, understandably, do not receive top priority.) About four inches of new snow had fallen three days before, and subsequent cold weather had allowed it to settle without melting, so the skiing was easy going. Overcast skies limited our view to the lower half of Mt. Jefferson, but a lack of wind and occasional glimpses of the sun made the weather pleasant enough that minimal fiddling with protective clothing was necessary. Our party of ten included varying levels of skill and stamina but everyone was so thoughtful of one another that it made leading the group hardly a job at all. We truly could not have asked for a nicer group of people. Most of us sat outside the Paulina Lake Lodge and shared our bag lunches with several large Clark’s Nutcrackers. Then we all went inside and cozied up to the wood stove, where Gene treated the whole group to peach (or apple) cobbler a-la-mode.* After lunch we skied the quarter-mile down to view the always spectacular, partially frozen Paulina Falls. The group then split, with a handful skiing out via the road, and the rest enjoying the (mostly)-downhill run via the Nordic trail. Participants were Cheryl Berry, Janet Hall, Robin Hawthorne, Vi Johnson, Mardi Klotz, Helen Liguori, Royal Murdock, John Pilafian and Gene Thaxton & Bea Fontana (leader and co-leader).

*-Almost exactly one year ago, Gene was freshly out of the hospital after replacement of his aortic valve with a Duroc pig valve. For the first time in (fifteen?) years he was forced to cancel this trip, which has become an annual event you can count on. Well, as it turns out that pig can ski! So we celebrated!

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