After an epic fall storm in late October, I was finding it a bit difficult to locate some good November turns without driving to Mt Hood. The snow gauge at the Hoodoo weather stataion, however, was reading 15 inches – all fresh snow from the recent storm, as the 28 inches from late October had completely melted out a few weeks prior. I met Todd in the parking lot at 7:30 am and we shouldered the packs and started skinning. For the first 30 minutes or so, the weather was nice and the sun’s soft rays were shining on the upper mountain. Three Fingered Jack to the north flirted with the clouds…..
Soon, the fog moved in and visibility became poorer. The skin up went smoothly, and in places the powder was pretty deep due to wind transport. Since the front side of the mountain had been hit hard the day before, we ventured out to the backside and made some tracks in the Crater Bowl where nobody had been. The first run down was nice – the snow was light and I didn’t hit bottom. The lighting however, was pretty poor and didn’t work well for snapping photos. After about 500 feet of nice turns, we stopped due to the dense salal brush…
After trying to skin across the mountain, we re-routed back up the crater bowl due to ease of skinning. Skinning up through the trees was peaceful and serene, with the fresh snow, light winds and cold temps. It was a good feeling to be back out in winter again. Here’s a pic looking back at our skin track…
Back at the top, we strapped in and made one more run down through the trees. The feeling of the fresh snow on my face turn after turn was great! Once at the bottom of the treeline, we again threw on the skins and headed back to the top. Visibility was pretty bad as we descended the ridge to the left of the main bowl. The snow was quite good however, given the minimal base, and we made powder turns all the way back to the pickup. Once back in the parking lot, we had some food and washed things down with an IPA. After beers, Todd and I bode farewell and I thought about visiting Tombstone Pass on the way home. The snow had been good, but I was looking for a bit more, given we didn’t get any good riding pictures because of the fog. The snow at Tombstone was only about 12 inches, so I decided to head on down the road. I did stop and take a few photos though of the South Santiam River, which made my trip complete.
The climb down the bank was near vertical and pretty slippery, but well worth it once I made it. I’d left my tripod at home, so I did the best I could with a ski pole and a rock. The water was a very pretty green color, with the moss a nice shade of green and the rocks glistening in the frothy water. Nobody was around, and again I found myself in a quite peaceful and serene place.
While wallowing around in the brush trying to find a different angle to shoot the cascading water, I stumbled across this log that I thought made an interesting photograph…..
I ended up being more stoked on the shots I got of the river than the splitboarding earlier in the morning! As I worked my way back up to the truck, I thought to myself that the day did indeed turn out great and would be one that I remember for some time to come.