Home Opinion Columnists Guest Columnist Lenten promise
I gave up complaining about the weather for Lent so consider this a comment on the condition of the winter of 2011-2012 thus far.
I have no complaint of the countless sunny days we’ve had since the wind storms around Thanksgiving. Day after day the forecast held little or no moisture throughout December. Days turned into weeks. I held out hope for January, but as can happen, January was dry and downright balmy. I continued to wait, expecting February to behave itself.
“It’ll come!” people said. “We get our most snow in March,” said others.
I know this to be true. I also know the winter of 2006-2007 in Lake County was so dry the ski area didn’t open and I was only able to cross country ski a few times.
I live in the mountains because I love snow. I don’t necessarily like 10 months of winter, but snow is the silver lining to its gray cloud. And speaking of clouds, we haven’t endured weeks of inversions as we often do.
Of course I am not content. Last year I was bragging about skiing out my back door. If I couldn’t ski out the back door I could at least drive up to Pole Bridge on the Lostine River and ski the three miles to Williamson Campground.
But not this winter.
I stalked down a guy recently who I know goes up the Lostine on a regular basis to get the snow report. I’d have to drive pretty far to get to any snow to ski on the road, I was told, so I have yet to venture up there. I did eventually get off my duff and made it to McCully Creek three times so far and each time was quite different than the others.
The first time the snow was so sticky I couldn’t slide well uphill and could barely slide going downhill.
The second time was dreamy. When the dogs tired of going uphill we turned around and did another little ski to the top of Fergi and back.
The third time I feared injury coming down the icy, narrow trail. For the first time in my cross country skiing career I took off my skis and walked because the only other way to stop was to crash.
Visions of my mother’s nagging me the risk of large medical bills deterred me from taking the icy course on skis. I’d unhitched the dogs from my waist well before I made the decision to walk out.
Locals call this an “open winter.” I call it a harsh judgment from the universe and try and keep my grumblings to myself. Open winter. Ha! What a euphemism. Sure, ranchers aren’t enduring blizzard conditions and below zero temperatures as they feed their cows and sheep and help with calving and lambing. But what about skiers, snowmobilers and ice skaters? What about the winter wonderland, the snow pack for this summer’s boating? Not once has it snowed enough to cover my grass!
I heard a story yesterday of a hockey game that turned into a swim as the ice at the Enterprise rink was melting from the bottom up. It’s not even March!
With only a month or two left of potential snow, I either have to choose to drive to higher elevations, learn to steelhead fish or finish my braided rug that I started at the beginning of the winter.
For the sake of bliss, it looks like I might have to increase my carbon footprint and get up to Salt Creek Summit for some end of winter skiing and to keep my Lenten promise.