Methow? And How!
The next day was warm, though the night was cool enough to turn the ground to ice, so most of us moved over to Sun Mountain. Beginning at the Chickadee Trailhead warming hut, we did a quick tour on the easy Beaver Pond Trail, returned on the intermediate Yellow Jacket trail, and then headed up Thompson Ridge Road in hopes of catching some views. We found the route uninteresting and turned around at the Lower Inside Passage. Jennie and I backtracked on Thompson Ridge Road and everyone else screamed down the black diamond Inside Passage.
The tele-skiers had decided to play around Rendezvous, starting at Cub Creek and doing the black diamond Cedar Creek-Little Cub Creek loop. A few years ago, before we discovered the Methow Valley cabin rentals, we had done a hut-to-hut trip on the Rendezvous trails. The views at night were fantastic, as was a snow storm in the middle of the day, not to mention the stars at night. The Rendezvous system follows forest service roads that wind around the slopes of Fawn Peak, and the five huts are a perfect one day's distance apart.
The Rendezvous trails are also higher in elevation, resulting in better snow overall. Though you're on roads the entire time, there are some terrific downhill runs. The area is a particular favorite with skaters or anyone looking for a long and full day of skiing.
On our final day we all decided to return to Mazama for a social ski. We started off in bright sunshine, though there was a little crispness to the air that we hadn't experienced all weekend. Moving into and out of the trees, Paul had to stop, scrape and re-wax. He was cheerful despite the hassles, and we laughed along with him at the extra work.
The bright sun was soon blotted out by black clouds, and it began to snow. Soon, we saw several groups of people hurrying out. None of them wore anything heavier than a pile sweater. They were also hatless and packless. "That answers the question of what people do when they don't carry clothing for when the weather changes," Jennie said.
A half-hour later, new snow dusted the harder edges of the tracks and slowed us down a bit. It was a nice change from the previous icy conditions (Jennie calls it "Ixxy": Icky and Icy). When the sun came out again, Paul had to re-wax for the fourth time.
It was late afternoon when we reached the cars. The sun had come and gone as many times as Paul had waxed his skis. It had finally disappeared altogether, and the long-promised snow had arrived. We quickly changed and packed up our gear for the long drive back to Seattle. Now that snow had come, none of us wanted to leave, but jobs and responsibility beckoned. "Isn't that the way it always is?" Ed asked. "Just as the conditions get good, you have to leave."
Paul looked at Ed and laughed. "So, what are you doing next weekend?"
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication