We were ready to go at the Santiam Sno-Park at 9:20. Knowing that we would start out on old snow, we put skins on our skis to save energy on our ascent. We headed north on the Old Skyline Trail and when the trail started to level out, we continued uphill toward the northeast and the Pacific Crest Trail. From near where the PCT should have been, we could see the ridge we needed to reach before dropping down to Booth Lake. After 1-1/4 miles of level and gently uphill skiing, we were at the ridge. We had traveled about 2-1/2 miles and gained 1,100 feet of elevation. A stiff wind from the east cooled us off quickly and urged us to put on wind shells and cover our ears. We dropped down over the corniced ridge to remove our skins among the unburned trees where we were somewhat sheltered from the wind. The 700-foot descent down to Booth Lake went quickly through sparsely treed slopes and we stopped for lunch just above the lake. After a short rest, we continued downhill until we were just above Square Lake and then turned west and climbed another 550 feet to the ridge above the Old Skyline Trail, crossing elk tracks a couple of times along the way. A final downhill run took us back to the trailhead. We enjoyed sun all day and even though the wind-scoured ridges were icy-hard, most of the snow surface was better than we had hoped. We left the sno-park for Eugene at about 2:45. Thanks go to Sam for driving!Members: Brian Hamilton, Sam Miller, Frank Chemotti.
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