Winter Arrives in Time for a MS Adventure to Clear Lake Butte Fire Lookout
Light, perfect powder blanketed the flanks of Mt. Hood as the small school bus headed up to the Skyline Sno-Park for an overnight trip to an old, abandoned fire lookout. Our group of seven middle school students and two leaders donned cross-country skis and glided up an un-plowed road before turning up Clear Lake Butte for a steep, but rewarding climb up to the fire lookout. The learning curve for skiing is steep, but the Catlin middle schoolers picked up the technique with surprising speed. As we climbed, the clouds that had deposited the beautiful new snow started to part and we enjoyed filtered sun through the trees at each of our rest breaks. Skiing with a backpack is a significant challenge, and we all welcomed the sight of the 40 foot lookout tower. A wood stove and panoramic views awaited us up above!
We melted snow for tea water, stoked the stove, and prepared a large pasta dinner to enjoy by the fire. Our cookie-baking experiment on the woodstove proved to be only somewhat successful, if you count appearances for something. Nevertheless, they were delicious! An elaborate pulley system outside of the lookout allowed us to raise snow (to melt for water) and firewood up to the cabin, and also allowed us to lower backpacks and large items.
Everyone enjoyed each other's company, and we were all happy to see the long-awaited snow. You couldn't help but feel deeply relaxed in the cozy lookout. An egg breakfast, warm-up ski and a snowball fight started the next morning. After enjoying ourselves at the lookout, we put our (lighter!) packs on and started the ski back down to the bus. There was some requisite falling and flailing, but everyone did extraordinarily well. Many first-time skiiers reported that they couldn't wait to try it again in the near future. We had a wonderful trip. Please enjoy some photos from this overnight adventure.
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