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After spending all day Friday driving to John Day, Oregon to buy a couple snowmobiles, Katie and I were anxious to take them for a ride on Saturday. We have a tradition of heading toward Mt. Hood the Saturday after Thanksgiving to hunt for Christmas trees, so we planned to test out the sleds before looking for a tree. We unloaded our snowmobiles at Frog Lake SnoPark, which is about 7 miles Southeast of Government Camp off hwy 26. We arrived early before the crowds showed up, so we had the trails to ourselves except for a few sled dog teams. The weather was partly sunny with a temperature just below freezing. There was about 1-2 feet of packed snow on the trail.
I haven't ridden a snowmobile in over a decade and this was the first time for Katie. It was also my first experience loading and unloading sleds. It was a little nerve wrecking at first, but a rather simple process.
The trail we rode on was un-groomed and quite bumpy. There was not yet enough snow to safely explore off trail either. We had fun riding for about 45 minutes before heading back to the truck and loading the snowmobiles onto the trailer. Just as I was putting the second sled on, our friends Kyle and Tiffanie showed up, ready to go Christmas tree hunting.
The four of us piled into Kyle's Land Cruiser and headed East on Hwy 26 to Forest Service Road 43. The road was un-plowed, but only had about 6 inches of snow and lots of vehicle tracks. We easily made it to Road 48 and soon made our way up Road 4860 toward Badger Lake. About a mile up 4860, all vehicle tracks disappeared and we slowly climbed our way through ever-deepening snow. We made it about 3 miles up the road when we couldn't go any farther. There was about two feet of heavy snow on the road and we had begun to push it with the bumper. We decided it was a good place to stop and hunt for Christmas trees.
We all put snowshoes on and set off in search of the perfect tree. We found many good noble firs, grand firs, and spruce trees to choose from. The snowy landscape was littered with animal prints going every which way.
Soon we had two trees picked out and hauled them back to the truck. We ended up with a nice noble fir and Kyle and Tiffanie found a beautiful grand fir.
After enjoying a beverage and packing up, we headed back down the road toward Frog Lake SnoPark.
On the way back we had a wonderful view of Mt Hood with a lenticular cloud over the top. What a great way to end the day.