Fish Lake   Snow Trip  December 17, 2002

The winter of 2002 was a "late snow" year for Oregon. A summer trip to Fish Lake, for the "Fish Lake Cleanup" was delayed until September 21 due to closure of the area due to fire danger. We wanted to return in the snow and that requires good timing. Too early and you have no snow. Too late and you won't make it. We arrived after just a couple days of snow and required lockers front and rear on some of the hills. I don't know if we could have made it the next day - I'm sure we would not after two more days of snow.

This trip was made with two Jeeps. Gil's CJ, and my YJ. Gil was a great trip leader and didn't harass me too bad on the turns I missed during the time I was breaking trail.


So, where is Fish Lake anyway? I'm convinced that every state probably has lots of "Fish Lakes", but this one is in the Oregon Cascades, southeast of Portland and a couple miles northwest of Olallie Lake.


From Portland you can get there on highway 224 from Estacada or highway 22 from Salem. We made this trip after breakfast where 212 hits 205 so going out 212 and turning south on 224 was the route we took.

Long before we ever saw snow on the road we stopped seeing cars. We never saw another vehicle while we were on snow, and we had been out of the snow for a long time before we ever saw another car. Not a good place to be stuck by yourself!

Here Gil is standing up ahead. I stopped here to get a photo and pulled over to the side of the road. No need for that it turns out. As I said, no cars were ever seen. There was enough crown that getting moving wasn't easy so this became the place we aired down and put the rigs in 4WD.

And here is the view looking at my rig and the road in. We are still on pavement, and no accumulation on the Jeeps. That will change.
This is the turn off onto the "unimproved" road. This road follows the power line.

Here we are at the lake! Left to Right: Gil Meacham, Mary Jo Mosby, Dale Mosby.

The hats were a surprise from Mary Jo. When we met Gil for breakfast we got out of our Jeep wearing them. Gil smiled and I warned him not to laugh too much as there was one for him as well.

Most of the time the far shore was hidden by fog and snow. Every now and then it would clear a bit. Gil snapped this picture during one of the somewhat clear moments.

Earlier in the day I was wondering if the lake froze over in the winter. The lake already was getting a bit of ice on it, so it seems pretty clear that by mid-winter the lake would have a pretty solid layer of ice.

This view of nearby shore shows the ice already starting to form on the lake surface.

This is a small stream that feeds into the lake.

This is my Jeep as we are leaving the lake. I have just broken out from under the dense trees around the lake.

Note that our tracks have filled in enough with snow that they are no longer real sharp..

On the way out there was a large hill that Gil worked very hard to climb. I probably have 10 minutes of video tape taken while Gil was working to get up the hill. Gil advised me of a bypass which I took. Unfortunately the turn off the bypass was not obvious so I continued down the "road" well past where I should have exited to rejoin the trail.

We finally encountered a downed tree and turned back. This photo shows me driving back on the bypass.

It is getting late enough in the day that the photos are taking on a bit of a blue tint.

This is Gil in his Jeep sitting up on a hill on the road out.

It will be dark by 5 and it is now about 4. We still have quite a few miles to go, but at least now we are on gravel and it should be smooth sailing....

Whoops, what's this? A gate and rocks!

Gating people in on back roads is a bad idea. Fortunately for us the trees on the left side of the photo are not too dense and it is possible to get a narrow rig around the gate.

Lucky that this was the case. Going back and driving out in the dark was not a pleasant idea.

Note that there were no signs or gates preventing our approach from the other side.