Berley Lakes

December 18, 1999

Well, as is often the case with December ski trips, I debated right up until the morning of the trip about whether to cancel the trip. It was pouring in Eugene, the freezing level was hovering around pass elevations, and the winds were forecast to be strong. But … I logged onto the computer, checked the Oregon DOT road reports and the camera at Santiam Pass, and there was no snow on the road, so … we went for it. Driving up, there was some doubt as to whether the weather would really work for us but things turned out OK! It was blustery and a just-barely-frozen mist was coming down at Santiam Pass SnoPark as we donned boots and gaiters and Gore-Tex. We headed out from the parking lot, relying on John Mowat’s trustworthy instincts about trail finding, and found the trail after a couple of tenuous creek crossings. The gamble on the weather really paid off; there was good fresh snow, relatively easy trail breaking, and reasonable weather for the whole trip. The main challenge was finding creek crossings; we made it to Lower Berley Lake, followed the south shore to the East End, and then headed via compass bearings to Upper Berley Lake. We found a spot that was protected from the wind and enjoyed lunch in almost-sunshine. We imagined what the views of Maxwell Butte and Three Fingered Jack would be like if we could only see them! The ski out was made more challenging by contending with creek crossings. We made excellent time on the trip out, practicing our technique for turning in the trees. We were back at the car in good time and congratulating ourselves for gambling successfully with the weather. Participants were John Mowat, Dick Hildreth, Steve Goins, Ian Ives, Max Vollmer, Bob Burnett and leader Susan Sullivan.

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