After several warm, rainy days, we expected less than ideal snow conditions at Santiam Pass. Instead, we were surprised to find 4 to 6 inches of perfect conditions for cross country skiing. We left the sno-park at 10:30 AM and followed another skier’s tracks for a quarter mile. When the tracks turned northeast, heading toward the PCT, we continued north through the untracked, open burn area. Breaking a new trail was easy. We relied on a GPS occasionally to keep us headed in the right direction. The only real difficulty we encountered was wiggling through the dense trees along Lower Berley Lake’s outlet creek. We reached the lake at 12:30 and took a lunch break. The temperature remained near freezing all day, but the wind was strong at the edge of the lake so we didn’t stay long. Low clouds obstructed any views we might have had of Three Fingered Jack and surrounding terrain. Heavy snow began falling and we wondered if it would fill the tracks we made on our way to the lake. During our return to the trailhead, falling snow occasionally turned to a cold rain. Nevertheless, we had a pleasant ski trip back to where we started, reaching the sno-park by 2:30. Thanks to Harold for fitting all five of us in his vehicle for the drive to and from the sno-park.Members: Brian Hamilton, Harold Thompson, Sue Wolling, Patty Morrow. Nonmembers: Larry Winiarski.
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