Nordic Skiing Adventure
12/24/98 - 12/27/98

Thursday evening, the 24th, Trish and I left Hillsboro with the mighty RV and traveled to the Mount Hood Village RV Park.  The next morning, we got up early, rented some cross-country ski equipment, and headed to Mount Hood for what was our first cross-country skiing experience.

Since the snow level was relatively high, we went to Barlow Pass, where it was snowing.  We figured ot how to get the skis on and hit the trail.

The trail was a gradual downhill.  We were the first car in the SnoPark.  The trail is not groomed, and it had snowed quite a bit in the past weeks, so we were pushing through ankle-high snow as we glided down the trail.  After a couple miles, we decided to turn back.  It was snowing relatively heavily, and it was about 30 degrees out.  We couldn't get our GPS to work because of the tree cover and weather, and since we were the only people out on the trail, we didn't want to push on any farther.

On the way back, we came to a clearing.  I took several pictures and stiched them into a panorama.  Unfortunately, the lens of the camera was a little wet.


 

As we stood there admiring the view, a small group of birds came very close to us to check us out.



 

We got back to the truck pretty tired and hungry.  We returned the skis and returned to the RV for some TV and hot cocoa.  It was a great day!


On Sunday, the snow level was considerably lower, so we decided to try Trillium Lake.  We wanted to try it Friday, but because it was warmer that day, it was raining at the lower elevations.  As with Friday, since we got to the site so early, we were one of the first cars at the SnoPark.  The trail leading down to the Trillium lake loop is somewhat steep and treacherous, but since it had snowed so much recently, the snow was deep enough to keep our speed down to a manageable level.

Once we got to the bottom of the trail, we turned right, to do the Trillium lake loop counter-clockwise.  About a third of a mile from the turn-off, we came to a beautiful meadow, with a large tree in the middle of it:


 

The meadow was quite large, and the trees which surrounded it were largely in the mist:


As we continued along the loop, we passed a number of cabins, which seemed odd until we realized that the trail we were skiing on is a road in the summer.  That would explain a sign we saw shortly thereafter:


 

About a third of the way around the loop, we were passed by a trail grooming machine, which packed the trail down and made the going much faster.  Personally, I enjoyed the Lewis-and-Clark-like trailblazing of Friday's trip, but Tricia preferred the faster going of the groomed trail.

At the far end of the loop is Trillium lake itself.  At what is probably a turn-off in the summer there was a pit toilet.  Getting to it was quite an adventure - I took this picture of Trish as we headed back to the trail:


 

By the time we got back towards the car, the trail had dozens of people on it, on skis and snow shoes.  We even saw a couple snowmobiles.  The parking lot, which only had two cars in it when we arrived, was now filled with dozens of cars.  It really pays to start early!


Both trips were beautiful, and we had a great time.  The great exercise coupled with the sense of being "out there" and seeing places few people go is a combination we really enjoyed.  Stay tuned for further cross-country skiing adventures!


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