Monday, February 11, 2008

Snowshoeing at Dutchman Flats

Greg put the word out that he was going to try and get his parents house in Sunriver for the weekend (Feb 8-10) and everyone was invited. As the weekend got near, the snow levels dropped down to the 1000-1500ft range. I began having second thoughts of trying to get over the pass, even with someone else driving their car with me as a passenger. Greg, Jodie , and Jeremy kept trying to convince me that it would be a great time and I would not want to miss out. So I finally caved in to the peer pressure.

Because Jeremy had to work until 9pm Friday night, we (Jeremy, Jodie, and I) left Saturday morning. The passes where still caked with packed snow and ice, but we were on our way. Nearing the pass we stopped at the chain up pull out along with everyone else to put on the chains. about a mile or two further we found our selfs stopped with traffic. There had been an avalanche somewhere ahead of us that had blocked the road. As we sat there the call of nature became greater and greater. The problem was the sides of the road were 10ft sheer vertical walls of snow. We all managed to fight the call of nature while we waited nearly an hour for traffic to start moving again and could find a spot out of the sight of traffic for some relief. Now that the hard part of the trip was over, it was time to go enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Jodie and I had planed on snowshoeing while everyone else was skiing and snowboarding. Because of our delay Jeremy opted to not spend the money on a lift ticket and only get two hours of snowboarding in. So he dropped Jodie and I off and was just going to kill some time in Bend while we were stomping through the show. About 20 minutes down the trail my phone rang. It was Jeremy calling to tell us that he was not going to be able to pick us up. The oil gauge kept dropping. Jeremy was stuck on the side of the road and wasn't comfortable driving the pickup any further fearing it might cause more damage to the engine. After getting towed to the house in Sunriver by a local resident, Jeremy was able to get a hold of Greg to see if anyone would be able to pick Jodie and I up on their way back from the mountain. This change of plans gave Jodie and I an extra half hour to extend our loop a little and slow our pace some too. So it all worked out ok, the group that was skiing was able to squeeze just enough room to give us a ride back.

We snowshed along the "Dutchman Loop"
Here is a link to our route on Google Maps

The Three Sisters and Broken Top form the parking area Dutchman Flat is to the right.

Fresh tracks... I love it!!

"Dutchman Flat" with "Broken Top" in the distance

Jodie waiting for me to take the picture

My turn

Animal tracks, where do they go?

Looking across "Dutchman Flat" to "Tumalo Mountain"

Jodie stomping fresh tracks in the snow

All in all it turned out to be a great day of snowshoeing, despite getting a late start and Jeremy having car trouble. Shortly after getting back to the parking area Greg called to say that they were all gathering in the parking lot at Mt Bachelor and would on their way soon.

That evening turned out to be quite interesting as well. With some sledding off the roof into a big snow pile. Don't worry no one was injured. Helmets where worn, so it was all good ;-). The scariest part was when the naked snow ball fight that ensued between the skinny dipping hot tubers and those watching the roof sledding mayhem. Scary!!

As for the trip home we were still a little worried about Jeremy's pickup. But after looking it over at the house it seemed to be ok. So we headed for home. Shortly after stopping for gas the oil gauge started acting up again. We found a parts store that was open and asked them if they knew of any mechanics that would be open on a Sunday. with the answer that we expected "No!" we asked their opinion of what they thought the problem might be. They said it was likely the sending unit. This was a $10 part so Jeremy got the part and the tools needed to replace it all total $20-$30. After changing the part and adding a little oil things seemed to be working. Everything was great until the middle of the pass where there are 10ft tall walls of snow along the road and no where to pull off. Not knowing what else to do Jeremy shut the pickup off and turned it back on. After doing so the check engine light came on but the oil pressure gauge stopped freaking out. We all made it home safely. And it turned out that it was a camshaft censer in the the engine that was causing things to go crazy. Until next time, have fun and enjoy life's adventures.

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