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  • 7 Jun 2024 12:05 PM | Laura Seaver (Administrator)

    Submitted by Roz O'Donoghue

    Three CONC members hiked on Round Mountain in the Ochocos on a splendid sunny day.  We were treated to great views and a gorgeous display of wildflowers.  Arrow leaf Balsam root, Larkspur, Indian Paintbrush, Arnica, Yellow Bell, BallHeaded Gilia were just some of flowers viewed.  The trail wound through meadows with expansive views, parkland forests and rocky slopes.   It was a day well spent.

  • 2 Jun 2024 11:33 AM | Laura Seaver (Administrator)

    Submitted by Ann Padgett and Jeanni Capell

    Even though it was a long drive east, 16 eager hikers showed up to hike Sutton Mountain.  After a 2 hour drive we arrived at the trailhead and hiked 3 1/2 miles up to the top. Wildflowers- Lupine, Paintbrush, Yarrow, Camas, Phlox and more were abundant. But the star of the show, and the reason we went to Sutton Mountain, were the Hedgehog Cactus blooming on the summit. After our hike down we went into the town of Mitchell where we enjoyed cold beers at Tiger Town Brew Pub. A nice finish to a perfect hike!

  • 21 May 2024 1:40 PM | Laura Seaver (Administrator)

    Contributed by hike leader Gary Jones

    A group of six hikers started at lower Canyon Creek Campground and hiked the West Metolius Trail out and back to the fish hatchery. 5 1/2 miles total. Cool, pleasant weather. Beautiful river, beautiful flowers!

  • 8 May 2024 5:37 PM | Laura Seaver (Administrator)

    submitted by hike leader John Sweat

    Happy HikersNever to be disappointed when there's questionable weather in the forecast, which called for high winds, rain and snow, I had three eager participants ready to take on the elements.  When we arrived at Clear Lake we were pleasantly surprised with light snow fall, which continued on to the turn around point.  Along the trail we saw many old growth fir trees, judging from the diameter had to be well over 200 plus years in age.  Also we observed a prime example of a Nurse Nurse LogLog, which had at least 50 or more young trees nurturing and making way for the new generation.  We hiked along both side of the McKenzie River to view the falls, which was a first for many.  On the return our luck changed and had a constant drizzle and slogged our way back.  Generally speaking we all had a good time, regardless of the not so ideal conditions.

    McKenzie River

  • 23 Mar 2024 9:09 PM | Laura Seaver (Administrator)

    Commentaries from trip participants, including a Haiku:

    Snowy, magical
    Views! Geysers, wildlife, skiers...
    Yellowstone winter

    It was a great experience visiting the park on skis.  The animals and geysers did not disappoint!  We were very fortunate to have our own knowledgeable guide to point out facts regarding the geography, animals, plants, etc.

    The Yellowstone trip totally exceeded my expectations. George's expertise of the area's flora & fauna, geology & more made it fascinating & educational. The trip length could have been a day or two longer but as I understand, it was CONC's first "exploratory" trip to Yellowstone. I particularly liked the wintry, dramatic feel of the scenery & the animal encounters. The winter scenes (even driving in a blizzard) were magical and other worldly. The group seemed to work well together & there was a certain esprit de corps.

    A major highlight was three thundering herds of bison on our final day of skiing. It’s a treat to spot wildlife from the car when traveling through Yellowstone. It’s even more exciting running into wildlife a mile or two up the trail when there’s nothing between you and them. Group leader George was explaining one of Yellowstone’s wonders when suddenly a herd of bison came charging out of the woods toward us from maybe 200 to 300 yards away. They eventually saw us, slowed down to ponder their next move, then veered off to their right and rumbled by maybe 75 yards away. Then in the next half hour, this happened again with two more herds. We couldn’t help but wonder what had them on the run. It certainly added to the adventure.

    More of the story:

    The 2024 CONC trip to Yellowstone was a rousing success.  The wildlife and landscapes more than outweighed the long drive and record low snowfall.  Club member George Wuerthner served as guide to the ten other club members.  His long history with and comprehensive knowledge of Yellowstone National Park was invaluable, both in sharing knowledge and devising ski outings that made the most of each day's conditions.

    The adventure started Sunday afternoon when George took those who had arrived in Gardiner on a wildlife tour nearby to see bighorn sheep and elk.  The full group gathered Monday morning for a briefing, where George talked about the wildlife, geography, geology, and history of Yellowstone.  Then our small caravan of Subarus headed in to the park.  It was a snowy, blowy day, and we were headed towards Cooke City, 2500 feet higher than Gardiner, with the plan of finding a sheltered place to ski.  But first, we had to stop for some bison crossing the road.  And one, who generously posed right by the side of the road. 

    Even our pit stop at Tower Junction included a wildlife show, as a dusky grouse made its way through the sagebrush and snow right by the parking area.  If you ever need to show the young people in your life what a phone booth is, there is a working one at Tower Junction!

    We opted to go all the way to Cooke City, which is where the snowplowing ends, for a coffee and treat.  On the way, one car reported a moose sighting!  After our tour of downtown Cooke City, we headed for the Bannock ski trail, mostly sheltered from the wind.  It was a lovely ski, with a little added drama of a footbridge crossing.  And we saw a moose!  It skedaddled quickly away from us, but not before getting caught on camera.  We skied to the boundary of the park, which served as our turnaround point.

    As we were driving the 50 miles back to Gardiner, we saw a clump of people, some with spotting scopes, along the edge of the road.  When they said, "Wolves!" we found a place to park and joined them.  We got to watch the Shrimp Lake pack for a while, close enough to see by eye alone but also enjoyed through the binoculars getting handed around.  Wow!  We all counted ourselves lucky to have seen wolves.  The remainder of the drive back was slow going, as the snowfall increased greatly and darkness fell.  By the time we got back to the lodge, everyone was tired, especially the drivers.

    Tuesday started leisurely with most of the group heading out for breakfast.  After the storm the night before, the day dawned crystal clear and about 5 degrees F at 9 am.  Beautiful views of Electric Peak over Gardiner.  The plan for the day was a snowcoach trip to Norris Geyser Basin.  We had a walking tour through part of the geyser basin.  With the cold temperatures, the steam was impressive.  We even caught some residual activity at the Steamboat Geyser, one of the largest in the world. 

    Then we had a lovely ski.  Our snowcoach driver and guide dropped us at one end of the Victoria Cascades road, where we had a lovely ski down along the creek, by the waterfall, and along a gorge.  This was our coldest day, peaking at about 12*F, but with no wind and some sunshine in places, it was nice to have the cold temps to preserve the new snow. 

    Back in the snowcoach to return to Mammoth Hot Springs.  But first, wolves on the road!  Three wolves were loping along the road in front of us.  It was a bit uncomfortable to be following them, but it was exciting to see them and eventually, they turned off the road so we could get by.  Wolves two days in a row!  George had warned us that we would be lucky to see wolves at all, so this was certainly special.  Once back in town, we gathered at a local restaurant to rehash the adventures of the day.

    Wednesday was a two ski day.  We started out with a ski tour around Mammoth Hot Springs.  Then, as we drove to our second ski site, we stopped to watch wolves, again alerted by the wolf watchers along the side of the road.  This was the Wapiti Pack, which we think includes the three wolves we saw from the snowcoach yesterday.  Super cool!  Our second ski of the day was along the Blacktail Plateau Road.  We didn't see any Blacktail deer, but we did see a bunch of bison, not too far off the road.  They were pretty chill, but we stayed together as a group and skied past them relatively quickly.  We climbed a couple of miles up the road, enjoying a great ski.  On the way back, we were sure to regroup before passing the bison again.  As we were regrouping, we saw one bison on the other side of the road, slowly heading towards the road in front of us.  We took advantage of the downhill grade to ski through the scene quickly and as a group.  The bison weren't that close to the road, but it was still exciting, as they are much, much bigger that xc skiers!

    Another part of our Wednesday adventures was a visit to the Chico Hot Springs, about halfway between Gardiner and Livingston.  It's a cool old resort, and we enjoyed a soak in the hot pool before having dinner in the saloon and exploring the hotel.

    By Thursday, we were all wondering if we could possibly be so lucky as to see wolves four days in a row.  We stopped again at Tower Junction and saw a bit of a commotion on the road.  We got closer and had to wait for a herd of bison crossing the road.  But that didn't explain the flashing lights we'd seen on park service vehicles.  Turns out, there had been a wolf kill very near the road, which the park authorities had moved to protect the animals from the hazards of motor vehicles.  We didn't see any wolves, but we did get to watch three coyotes, including one that posed quite nicely for us. 

    Our ski that day was the road to the Slough Creek Campground.  By now, the fresh snow from Monday night was merely a memory, and we were skiing on some pretty hard crust.  The upside of the crust was it was a great record of the animals that had passed by.  We saw some wolf tracks but no wolves.  Once again, bison provided the excitement for the day.  A group of bison appeared cantering down the road towards us, although they turned off the road before they got to near.  Then another group appeared, cantering in the same direction.  And a third group.  We never did figure out whether they were agitated by something or just moving out in to the valley.  We took advantage of the campground picnic tables for our lunch before skiing back to the cars.  We had a great dinner that night, celebrating a wonderful winter tour of Yellowstone.  

  • 18 Mar 2024 1:49 PM | Anonymous


    Sunny skies and freshly groomed trails after a previous night's snowfall on March 7 made for excellent skiing conditions.  Charlie Cornish led a beginner group around Currant Way then back on the Tangent Loop to Pine Drops.  Climbing up and descending Pine Drops to the 5 way intersection at Tangent they continued their way up Mistletoe to the Meissner Shelter.  At the shelter they stopped for a photo-op and a brownie break.  Leaving the shelter they skied Manzanita to Tangent and back to the Meissner snow park.  This was another ski in a series of Beginner ski tours, getting the beginners and novices developing their ski legs. 


    While the rainy and windy weather in Bend Sunday afternoon March 10 was intimidating to some, those who persisted in the drive to the Meissner Sno-Park were greeted by fresh snow and a few sun breaks.  The advertised route of doing the entire Tangent loop was modified due to a strong SW wind that would make the southern leg of the Tangent loop a breezy experience.  As an alternative route the group initially intended to ski a loop starting out Ponderosa towards Snow Drops, only to discover no tracks thru 5" of fresh snow since last grooming.  So they back tracked to the trail head and proceeded out Tangent to Mistletoe and to the Meissner Shelter.  After a photo op and (another!) brownie break, they returned to the trailhead via Manzanita and Tangent.  The tracks along Tangent were set and their skis slid well--a much better day for classic as the morning snowfall covered the groomed corduroy.  They ended their tour in time to head home for dinner, glad to be on our skis another day. 

  • 18 Mar 2024 1:12 PM | Anonymous

    I set up a tour to Brokentop when the forecast called for sun.  The limit of 8 people was reached within hours of posting the tour.  Then, the day before the tour, I got a call that conditions up to Good View (header photo) were very icy in the morning and very slushy in the afternoon.  I sent out this report to the participants, and everyone dropped out except three of us; Mark, John B., and myself.  Fortunately for us, conditions were very good.  Higher temperatures overnight had left the crust skiable, with only an inch or two giving way under our skis.

    The route I wanted to set was to ski to Good View, then up to Crater Ditch, staying as much as we could in the wilderness and out of sight and sound of snowmobiles.  It turned out quite nicely, and we had great views all the way past Good View, with little elevation drop.  We skied up Crater Ditch until we saw our objective; the last ridge coming off Brokentop to the east.  There was a rather small, gentle open slope near the base of the ridge that we headed for.  Mark and I made a couple of runs, as John stayed to the side and protected his sore knee.  We were all a bit tired, so started down about 12:40.  Using Sue's three cutoffs to chart a direct route from Big Meadow to the Common Corridor, we made it back to the Nordic Center before 3:00.  Total was 10.5 miles and 5 1/2 hours of skiing.  Such an effort required that we sit at the Nordic Center deck in the sun and enjoy a beverage.


  • 11 Mar 2024 1:49 PM | Anonymous


    The only thing we were certain of this year was that 27 people signed up for the Crater Lake trip, and that Friday was going to be sunny and warm, with little wind.  The road to the rim was posted as closed due to the ten feet of snow received earlier in the week, but the report had not been updated since Wednesday.  I find the Pumice Desert off the North Entrance to be magical in good conditions, so planned a ski there Friday, on the way to the Prospect Hotel.  22 people signed up to join me, so I recruited John Fertig, Louise Brown, and Gary Elnan to help me manage such a large group, knowing that we'd naturally split up into two groups.


    We stayed together until we veered off the road and into the trees for a quick lunch.  Then the lead group took off across the Pumice Desert, while the more sane group skied a wide circle through the near side of the desert.  Both groups were naturally attracted to photo ops with Mt. Thielsen.



    After a bit of a Happy Hour and a great dinner Friday night, the road to the rim was still not open.  I conferred with John and agreed the best option was to park at the Park HQ, verify the gate was still closed, and then ski up the East Rim road.  John would lead the more adventurous skiers down off the road on the Crater Peak trail.  I was "optimistic" that the gate would be open that afternoon, and wanted to return to HQ by 3:00 pm.  Fortunately, I was joined by several others, including my carpooling duo.  And sure enough, a ranger was clearing the stop sign when we got back to the cars around 2:30, and assured us the gate would open in about 15 minutes!  We were about the third car through the gate, and drove straight past the closed Rim Cafe, and around into the Lodge parking lot.  Kirsten put on her snowshoes, while Lori, Sharlene, and I put on our skis.  The sun peaked through only occasionally, but at least the cloud ceiling was high enough for a clear view of the lake.  The wind had gusts up to 43mph and was biting cold; Kirsten thought the water looked angry!


    Everyone was excited to see the lake.  Some thought they could dash to the rim without putting on skis or snowshoes, but that typically led to thigh-deep post holing and a tumble.  Regardless, the wind was so cold on bare fingers when taking photos, that we only lasted a few minutes before returning to the car.  And, of course, it was worth it!

    A few chose their own path, deciding to ski part way up the PCT.  Although they were protected in the trees, that made the snow more fluffy and deep.  They had to put skins on their skis to get up the steeper slopes.  But the tragedy was they did not know the gate opened to the rim of the lake!  Still they had fun, carving out a smiley face on a bulge of snow for their private viewing!


    We split into two groups: one to Snowshoe with a Ranger, and one to ski Silent Creek with John Fertig (again!) leading.  Silent Creek was a new trail for the club, so John was setting a possible new route for future trips.  It is mostly a flat trail from Three Lakes SnoPark down to Diamond Lake and about 2.5 miles one way.

    The ten people that followed me to the Park HQ drove through a fresh 6" of snow.  In fact, the gate to the rim was open when we arrived, but closed before we left on the snowshoe adventure.  We met Ranger Dave Grimes In the hallway of the HQ building, marveling at the amount of snow over the doorway!

    Ranger Grimes was explaining how trees survive the heavy snow load.  He pointed to John Stephenson, who was the tallest person in our group, and challenged him to wrestle a nearby tree to the ground (actually, to the top of the snow, which was 11 feet above ground).  Unfortunately, Ranger Grimes chose a tree that was just a wee bit too big, as even the both of them could not accomplish the challenge!  But no matter; we got the point and had fun!  We also snowshoed by the old Supervisors building, which is now used in the summer by visiting researchers doing research on the lake.  Ranger Grimes explained to us that the $30 surcharge for a CL license plate goes to an endowment that funds these researchers.  We all decided we would go get a CL license plate next time our registrations came due!


  • 7 Mar 2024 3:46 PM | Anonymous

    We all woke up to deep snow at home.  9 of us could make it to the sno-park, which had only about 3 inches of new snow.  Once at the northernmost part of the Swampy Loop, we skied north a couple hundred yards to what I now call Crescent Pond.  It is a clearing that has water in early summer and is maybe a tributary of South Fork of Tumalo Creek.  Back up our tracks to Swampy Loop, up Flagline, the new Crosscut and Swampy Shelter Tie trails, and return to the trailhead on Ridge Loop.  A great outing in new snow and some new terrain for all.

  • 3 Mar 2024 9:08 AM | Anonymous


    Mother nature came out in full force with winds and snow on Leap Year Day. While some decided not to venture into hazardous drives conditions, a few hardy souls decided to brave the weather. Charlie proposed an alternative plan to skiing at Meissner and invited those interested to ski around the back field on his property east of Bend. The back field, grass covered and sheep grazed in the fall, offered a smooth surface covered by almost 2” of snow. As temperatures rose and the snow became gloppy, skis started sticking after one trip around the field. Dirty skis are sticky skis, so Charlie invited Char and Nancy into his shop where he demonstrated how to clean and wax skis. While the skis were cooling after hot waxing prior to scraping, the three took a coffee break, where Nancy was introduced to the merits of AeroPress for coffee making and Char sampled a baking experiment in gluten-free Chocolate Hummus Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip brownies. A ceremonial Leap Year Day ski was enjoyed by all. Until another four years, think snow.


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The Central Oregon Nordic Club, PO Box 744, Bend, OR 97709, is chapter of the Oregon Nordic Club, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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