Paulina Lake Lodge, Newberry Crater

February 17, 2008

Our car-full of skiers headed for eastern Oregon via Willamette Pass, shortly after 7 a.m. We passed a car/pickup wreck in the process of being cleared below Oakridge, but, other than that, found road conditions to be manageable and mostly clear. Thanks, Jane and Roy for your careful driving.

We pulled into the 10-mile SnoPark at about ten and were headed up the Nordic trail by about ten-thirty. It had been nine years since Jane and I had been over the trail. (I had every intention of scouting it ahead of time, but recent road conditions prevented that). The trail was well marked and had been traveled by multiple skiers since the last new snow (a week earlier.) We found that parts of the trail have been re-routed. That, and the fact that trees grow a lot in nine years, made it difficult to recognize exactly where along the trail we were some of the time. Also, the viewpoint of Mt. Jefferson and peaks to the north seems to have been on a part of the trail that has since been re-routed—annoying.

We got up to the Lodge at about one o’clock. Jon suggested that sitting at the end of the dock, out on the frozen lake, looked like a good way to distance ourselves from the snowmobiles in the lodge parking area. It turned out to be an excellent choice. The day was sunny and almost windless. The snowmobilers finally snarled their way out of earshot, and we were left to enjoy the wide vistas of Newberry Crater, and Paulina Peak. Some Camp Robbers found us and provided lunchtime entertainment. (They really like raw almonds, we found.) After lunch we just had to go inside the restaurant and sample the apple cobbler. Sheridan tested the coffee, and pronounced it “not bad”.

After a brief consultation, we decided that none of us relished the idea of skiing back down the trail. The lack of new snow and previous traffic had created icy ruts that, despite the pleasant air temperature, never softened up to the point that the going became easy. We headed down to view Paulina Creek Falls and found it in all its winter glory. This winter’s deep snow left only about twelve inches of the guardrail protruding on the viewing platform, and completely covered the rail in other places. We approached the precipice on foot, with extreme caution, poles in hand.

The run back down to the car via the main the road was a lot of fun. Sheridan suggested that perhaps we needed just one snowmobile so that we could go back up and do it again . . . n-a-a-a-a. We headed for home shortly after 4 p.m. and arrived back at SEHS after dark, tired but smiling.

The five participants were: Bea Fontana (leader), members Jane Hackett and Royal Murdock and nonmembers Sheridan Caulley and Jon Tesdell.

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