Ski McCully Basin within the Eagle Cap Wilderness
|McCully Creek Trailhead||The Wallowas||Al & Jim on the way in|
Connelly (the owner and head guide) is off at a trade show so our guides this trip are Morgan (from last time 2005), Sam and Paul. We breakfast and head for the McCully Basin trailhead. By 10 AM we're skinning to the yurts. Unfortunately, we are one short - Russ has been sick since before we left Seattle and has decided to stay in town and maybe come in tomorrow :( It is otherwise a beautiful day, a little too beautiful - the last several days have been really warm and I'm worried about the snow.... hmm. Two and a half hours later we've completed the easy 1800 foot, four mile skin to the yurts (at 7500 feet).
|The cooking and social yurt||The "growler"
Just like being at the beach!
We leisurely finish our lunches, divvy up the beds, unload gear, stoke the wood stoves, get warm, redress for skiing... We know the drill. All of us have been here before except for Tammy. The guides spend a couple hours doing, well, whatever the guides do to open camp. At 2:30 PM we skinning up again. I'd forgotten what an incredibly beautiful place this is - hardly a cloud in the sky. We hike up to an area they call Pebble Beach - where we take a short run and then do avalanche beacon practice.
After practice we have time for one hike up to about 8300 feet in the #6 chute under the Diamond. It's cold, north facing and always in the shade. This is the test... and the (old) snow turns out to be great, soft boot top "powder". If there was still any idea that we might not find good snow it is gone now. We enjoy a great run back to the yurts.
As is our custom, we enjoy before-dinner martini's amongst the group. The guides eventually have appetizers ready and surprise surprise an 8? gallon keg of Terminal Gravity Porter ! oh yes ! quesadillas, salmon steaks, trimmings... carrot cake for desert. They feed us like kings and queens.
Up at 7:30 to great coffee, breakfast and hiking out to the mountains. The
is brilliant but in the shade it is friggin' cold ! We hike up to the saddle
Mt Andy and The Diamond wondering what the backside would look like. The views
great looking out past Hells Canyon and into Idaho. But the snow doesn't call to
so it's back to the shade of the north facing chutes under the Diamond. We make
runs in good snow here and then head down for a run or two in the woods
heading back in.
Martinis... Sauna... dinner...
|Yanna||The view back towards civilization||Guide, Tammy, Bodi, Benny, Dina, Al|
|Tar'd skier (Al)||Dina||Jim|
Up at 7:30 to sparkling cold blue skies. Having learned our lesson yesterday we
again stick to north facing slopes at Pinnacle Bowl and finding nice, soft but
boot-top powder. We work our way west ... catching up with Morgan he motions us
to be quiet because he and Sam have seen a wolf up in the rocks ! We hang around
a while but alas see no further sign. We climb into the chute two to the left of
newly christened "lone wolf chute" and enjoy another soft snow run. We're
some sunshine and so head down to do a couple runs on a knob called the Pope's
Tammy and I and Morgan ski the Septum run which has a very, very steep 40 foot
that lines us up perfectly for first tracks on the slopes below ! A few of us
and head in early - the rest do one more run.
And..., today Russ felt well enough to come in. He's spent 2 boring days in Joseph getting better and looks pretty good. We arrive to toasty warm yurts as he's already stoked the wood stoves !
That boy earned himself a martini...
|Al||Tammy & Dina|
Our last day we hike out of camp toward the west and up under the flanks of
We hike up to about 8650 where the views are great but the snow is icy and
sucks. We ski
back down to the woods where protection from the wind and sun has left some good
the glades and meadows. We yo-yo a couple and then ski back to the yurts to
prepare for the
|Al et al|
|Yanna||L-R: Connelly, Jim, Sam, Yanna,
Paul, Chris, Dina, Al
We're planning on being on-trail at 2pm in order to get back to Seattle by midnight ! I have one last task - attempting to break my time for the ski out. My best has been a little over 29 minutes but today the track is well packed and a little icy so it's bound to be a fast, fast toboggan ride! Despite falling 4 (!) times I make it to the bottom (alive) in 25 minutes. A new record for me! (By the way, Connally says that the real record is about 17 minutes !)
We're on the road late at 4pm and just to add one last bit of adventure, we stop for dinner in Walla Walla where I manage
to lock my keys in the car! GAK! Triple-A is mercifully fast and we only lose a half hour or so. Back in Seattle at about 1:30 AM. late.
I dreamed you were Jesus and we were all your disciples!
I had the same dream!
Do you want to the know the one good thing about me? I don't stink!
My lips are numb
I'm going to strip down now because I know I'm going to strip down later...
Consider where you ever experienced fish smell in a non-fish environment...
Every woman needs a project.
A few days in paradise, good people, good food, blue skies, life is definitely different, yet somehow the same ...
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