By Jim Todd
March 30, Tuesday: when Frank and I met at Ray Benson we found sunshine and a 3″ layer of almost-powder on a solid base–nearly perfect conditions. Continuing our recent rambles, Frank planned a route that avoided marked trails or groomed roads and we headed for another destination we had never visited: the lowest point on Santiam Pass. Say what? Yes, tucked into the triangle formed by Hoodoo, Big Lake and Sand Mountain lies a crater that is only 4475′ at the bottom; and it holds a tiny pond which, since we have now visited, we choose to name Low Lake.
The journey was a fine ski making tracks only a couple inches deep in pristine snow. Lodgepole thickets with tangled branches and tree wells did force us onto a groomed snowmobile route for a short distance, but 70% of the trip adhered to our goal of skiing untracked snow. The skiing was “interesting” and the views of Mt. Washington, Patjens Butte, Sand Mountain and Hayrick were great. You should add Low Lake to your skiing Life List, too.
But where is Low Lake and how do you get there? Well, Low Lake is at 44 degrees 23′ 1.8″ N and 121 degrees 54′ 5.1″ W. Consult topo maps and satellite views, grab a compass &/or GPS and navigate your own route to Low Lake. It will be rewarding.