December 11, 2000
You never want to really believe the weather forecasts in Oregon.
We would have missed out on a fantastic trip to Berley Lakes had we listened
to our local weather reports. The forecast called for warm temperatures,
rain below 7000 ft. and high winds. What we really found were sunny skies,
a fairly light breeze and wonderful snow conditions. Despite about 30
inches of fresh snow in the previous week, the trail breaking was fairly easy …
especially for me, since the trail breaking animal of our trip was Dick Hildreth!
(“Do you want me to break for a while, Dick?” “No, this is fun!”.)
We were the only ones leaving the parking lot that morning, apparently
all other skiers had listened to the weather the night before.
The route finding was pretty straightforward; the route follows
the old Skyline Trail, and the snow was not deep enough to have
buried the old blazes. Creek crossings can be a problem, early in the season,
but those were pretty easy too; all in all, the conditions were ideal,
and our stalwart group made it into Lower Berley Lake in a little over two hours.
We enjoyed a lunch break near the lake, with occasional views of
Three Fingered Jack through the misty clouds enshrouding the summit.
With the rime ice covering it, Jack looked like it could be the Eiger.
Mt. Washington had a stream of clouds trailing off its summit to the east,
and looked like Everest. It was like a world tour in one day!
The ski out went by very quickly. We were back at the car by 3:00 p.m.,
just as the weather seemed to be turning stormy.
The gamble with the weather paid off! Participants were Deb Carver,
Dick Hildreth, John Pegg, Mark Slipp and leader Susan Sullivan.