TRIP REPORT: Fresh Tracks at 3000 Feet
Snow is finally falling on the mountain, and it looks like it might stick around and keep accumulating.
There were a good 6-8 inches at 3000 feet in the Oregon Cascades on Saturday, and more snow continues to fall. Temperatures are forecast to remain below freezing at least through New Year's Day.
I got out to the Clackamas foothills on Saturday to check snow conditions on Mt. Hood National Forest. It was just above freezing, and a light rain was falling, but I was impressed with how much snow had accumulated. Six inches at 3000', and it got deeper the higher we climbed in elevation.
We skied along the forest road past the Fanton Trail Trailhead. Plenty of snow had fallen through the trees for a good snowshoe romp that way, but we continued along the road over a good solid base. It wasn't too sticky or too wet, but not too fast, either. Perfect for re-learning the art of cross-country skiing.
We had the woods to ourselves. Raven floated by silently overhead. A few juncos twittered in the brush. Rabbit tracks in the snow zipped up, down and across the road. We were alone in the stillness of nature's winter scene.
Off the main road, there were no melted-out ruts to contend with. We followed a snowy logging road to its end in a new growth forest, the open skies and vistas expanded out to grey-hemmed green hills. The sun broke through the clouds briefly, illuminating day-glow green lichen.
We had a good skills practice weaving downhill along the narrow chute back to the main road. I was reminded of how many muscles I don't use in the summer. This was my first time out on skis this season, and I could feel it the next day. Good thing we didn't push it too hard and took it easy. There's nothing worse than an early-season injury from an over-ambitious first time out.
We saw a few other people, but mostly, we had the stillness of the woods to ourselves, and a fun outdoor skiing adventure.
That taste of snow has me chomping at the bit to get back out there and cross-country ski, snowshoe and winter camp.
Next Adventure Outdoor School offers just those opportunities. We have regularly scheduled guided Snowshoe and Cross-Country Ski trips beginning January 1 and continuing through March 2015. We can even create a custom trip just for your group.
Happy (snowy) Trails to you in 2015!