Willamette Pass (Gondola Ride)

August 10, 2004

It was a warm August morning when Obsidians and guests left VRC for a day up at Willamette Pass Ski Area to ride the gondola. A rest stop was at the Middle Fork Ranger Station. It is a beautiful facility. We left via Westfir, stopping at the Officer Covered Bridge, then to our next stop the Willamette Fish Hatchery where we found fish jumping, birds singing, a new viewpoint platform to see the salmon, and a nice museum with aquarium and display of mammals, and much more including coffee and goodies by the Hospitality Committee. We had only a short delay due to road construction. It was another nostalgic stop for me as I remember my early downhill skiing days with warming hut, a tiny snack shack, rope tows and patrolling the Bunny Slope. The Wiper Corp. has completed a miracle, making the area into a wonderful recreational facility. We were royally greeted by staff at the Pass. Everyone rode the gondola, many staying at the 6666-ft. Eagle Peak to enjoy the view, eat lunch, hike around and just visit. Two o’clock we boarded the bus for Salt Creek Falls, another favorite of mine. Then we cruised down to Oakridge’s D.Q. for refreshments before a quiet ride into Eugene by 5:00 p.m. We initiated another new Oregon Coachways driver, Sam Zimmerman, who was beginning to contribute and talk before the day was over. A good — no, great — time was had by all. Riders were: Ethel Allen, Helen Barnard, Louise Behnke, Betty & Lloyd Bissell, Dorothy Blumm, Ingrid Carmichael, Mary Lee Cheadle, Rachele Fiszman, Bette Hack, Dora Harris, Margit Hollerud, Dianne & Phyllis Hulse, Marjorie Jackson, Ben & Pat Jeffries, Ray Jensen, Eileen Kegek, Ben Kirk, Gloria Layden, John McManigal, Dorothy Sistrom, Emil Smith, Nan Smith, Dick & Janet Speelman, Sam Steelsmith, Vera Woolley and Liz Reanier, leader.

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