This was a charmed excursion in all respects. Sun and blue sky with air temperature cold enough to keep the snow dry. Half a foot of fresh powder covered the generous base. Nine of us set out for Lower Berley Lake at 10:30 following a freshly broken track. We skied north with spectacular views, west to Hogg Rock and the Lost Lake drainage with views behind us of Hoodoo, Hayrick Butte and Mt. Washington. This is a route through the old B&B burn and many natural openings providing non-stop classic vistas. The last half mile enters a deep canyon spared by the fire and harboring many green trees with attendant tree wells. Our lead skiers caught up to the party ahead of us just where, according to the map, a side trail breaks off for Lower Berley Lake. As they continued north to Santiam Lake, we had our first route finding puzzle. Our maps and GPS indicated the lake 100 yards due west. An easy bushwhack, except that every option seemed to lead through dense clumps of fir, mountain hemlock and pine. We skirted the hummocky stand of conifers around their northern border and followed an open track to a bluff just above the lake. With a sunny perch, sunshine and calm, we had lunch under the spire of nearby Three Fingered Jack. The return ski was all smooth gliding and opportunities to practice some turns under forgiving conditions, and views to the south that included the summit of North Sister.Members: Randy Sinnott, Chris Stockdale, Sue Wolling, Betty Grant, Brian Hamilton, Brenda Kameenui, Steven Johnson. Nonmembers: Linda Gilbert, Paul Murtaugh.
Chris Stockdale on trail to Berley Lake—photo by Randy Sinnott
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