Paulina Lake XC Ski, February 2010

Send by email

Paulina Lake XC Ski, February 2010

An ambitious trip (with inauspicious beginnings) hits big!

This past Valentines Day, a group of eight students and three trip leaders met at Catlin for an adventure into the snow and wilderness.  It started with a drive to Bend over Santiam pass.  There was no snow on the road and we were concerned that there would be little snow at Paulina Lake.  Fortunately, we were able to score some firewood from a dentist who served lemonade (long story).

We stopped in Bend to rent XC skis, boots, and poles (note for the future: purchase insurance--more later).  We drove to Tenmile sno-park, 30 miles south of Bend where we donned our skis and headed off into the snow at around 2:00pm.  There were, unfortunately, a great many snowmobilers.  The students were not impressed by the snowmobilers.

We skied until near dusk on a fairly difficult trail.  Though a couple of students were challenged, most of the skiers were successful, despite relatively heavy packs, and we made a decision nearing sundown about whether to continue.  Our namesake was the deciding vote in pushing on, and we made easy mileage to the lake along the groomed trail.  Once at the lake, we again had to make way over challenging terrain.  Darkness was following and our leaders made a wrong turn and there was some heated debate as to how best to proceed.  We turned around and made our way back to the lake where there was easy skiing along the shore.  Once the going got difficult again, we decided to make camp in a gorgeous stretch along the frozen shore.

We made an extensive camp with tents, a kitchen, and a fireplace with benches.  Food was warm and spirits were high.  A few extra jackets and layers were distributed and everybody was warm.  We debriefed and, though most lows were about our time on the wrong trail, students were happy.  We went to sleep around 11pm with students assuring me that they were warm with hot water bottles, dry clothes, etc.

Monday morning was about 30 degrees and very pretty.  It took nearly three hours (!) to pack up camp.  We then skied back to the groomed trail and made a push toward the Paulina summit.  Students happily self-distributed among like skill levels.  There was a very competitve race to the highpoint.  The trip leader did not win this race.  We then all turned around and raced back down the hill.  The trip leader did win this race, though the assistant trip leader believes that it may not have been as fair as she wold have liked.

A long ski down brought us back to the bus where we were once again greeted by the "power sledders."  We drove back home over Santiam pass.  The students were happy and excited the whole way home.  When we got back to campus, we had the whole group help clean up the gear and put materials back in the OP shed.  Students were dismissed at 7pm and all went home to warmth and coziness. 

So put on a mix tape and watch the slideshow!