With everyone on board before the scheduled departure, we were on our way to the trailhead two minutes before 8:00 am and gearing up for the trail by 10:00. Conditions were promising prior to putting on our skis. New snow was evident on the trees and the sky was clearing as we topped Willamette Pass. At Crescent sno-park the sun was out, the air was cold and it was a rare windless day in the mountains. Several inches of new snow had fallen overnight. Lots of energy and excitement in the group proved invaluable when it became clear that we were in for a day of trailbreaking.
Everyone had a turn at punching a track through the dry drifts that increased in depth as we gained altitude. Some of the tree blazes were buried while the ones that were visible were at knee level or below. With some vigilance, we managed to keep to the actual trail. The inbound trip took two and a half hours. The weather conditions were consistently favorable. At the lake we were rewarded with an amazing panorama of buttes -- Lakeview to the north, Redtop to the south, and a third, nearly as impressive butte that was identifiable on our maps but unnamed. The sky, however, was not blue. A dark bank of clouds formed a backdrop to the trio of buttes. We ate lunches at the outlet to Fawn Lake (some open water visible there) while a cloud rolled through, cutting visiblity to less than half a mile. There was some discussion of continuing on to Pretty Lake but it was agreed we were all anticipating the outbound track we had so arduously laid. A brief shower of snow pellets, or graupel, commenced. The thought of breaking more trail across mostly flat terrain and the sudden precipitation
turned our minds from valor to discretion. Following our half hour lunch, with some photos taken, we quit the lake at about 1:00 pm. The graupel shower that increased to a downpour subsided in a few minutes leaving a pebbly texture to the snowpack and a noticeable slickness (like tiny ball bearings) on the track. The weather cleared and the return ski was a charm -- uniform, fast, but no trace of ice, and a consistent rate of descent with only one or two blowdowns to negotiate. We were all back at the vehicles in just over an hour with the faster skiers making it under the hour mark. We all agreed it was a day of snow and weather conspiring to make a wonderful outing. The party consisted of Obsidians Brian Hamilton, Mari Baldwin, Charlie Van Deusen, Robert Smythe and Randy Sinnott (leader), along with non-member Katie Hynes-Petty.Members: Randy Sinnott, Brian Hamilton, Mari Baldwin, Charlie Van Deusen, Robert Smythe. Nonmembers: Katie Hynes-Petty.
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