Alicia Sotherland

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I considered pulling out my camera to see if my photos from earlier in the day would help, but Skechers Burst Ellipse Sneakers

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I felt prepared. I'd remembered my parking pass, I'd brought a camera, water, extra gloves, an extra jacket and even a snack for when I got back to the car. I glanced at the map at the trailhead, and decided on the 2.2 mile Dutchman Loop.

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just then, a couple began skiing toward me.

to be a beginning skier, including slips, slides and bruises. Instead, I'm writing a different story about how NOT to do a cross country skiing outing if you like me have little outdoors experience and even less of a sense of direction.

The couple were on vacation from Seaside. After asking if I was on vacation, and asking if I was really out all by myself, they pretended that they were going my way, and showed me a shortcut to a main thoroughfare that led directly to the Dutchman parking lot. One of them tried to give me a map, and it was at that point that I remembered I'd put a map in my pocket on my way out. Whoops.

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When I rented cross country skis and headed out to Dutchman Flat Sno park on Monday, I thought Mbt Shoes Victoria Bc I would end up writing a story about what it's like Vans Gray And White

He said that counting on signs can be difficult for a number of reasons. On Monday, I may have Vans Mens Shoes

"Especially if you're soloing an area," Sabo said, "orient yourself as you go at each intersection."

"It gets to be challenging this time of year, especially if you're breaking trail." Sabo was clear, though, that for beginners like me, breaking new trail is simply not a good idea.

Taken for a loop

"Perfect," I thought. "A little more than half way done."

As I set out on the trail, I felt OK on the skis. There wasn't much glide after my kicks, but I was moving. Shortly after leaving behind the sound of happy families sledding near the parking lot, I found myself skiing in the trees alone, following the established ski trail.

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"Forget ego," I thought. "I don't want to take that loop a third time."

"What a wonderful way to spend the day," I thought, swishing through the tracks alongside glittering mounds of snow. I took my time, practicing my technique, happy to not have a more experienced skier there with me. Even though my friends had been patient with me last winter, I could tell that they would've liked to have moved a little faster.

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I slumped in my seat, and wondered why I felt so awful, especially once I realized I'd only been out on the trail for 2 1/2 hours, nowhere near the four or five hours it had felt like.

On Tuesday, I called Deschutes National Forest trails specialist Chris Sabo to talk about all I'd done wrong. He listened to me attempt to describe where I'd gone, and guessed that I'd ended up on the Todd Lake trail.

Once I was at the top of the hill, I reconsidered the choice I'd made there. Last time, I had turned left, but there was also a trail moving off to the right. But high in the trees on the left, I saw a blue diamond, which I knew I was supposed to follow. So I again went left. Next, I reconsidered a T intersection I'd previously turned left at. This time, I turned right. A short while later, though, I came to another T, where the trail I was on butted up against a field, which signs indicated was a snowmobile only play area. Again, I could go right or left. I had no idea which was correct.

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Occasionally, I'd come out into an opening with stunning views, and I'd pause to take photos of the mountains, gray sky and white sun.

The day started out great. It was relatively clear in Bend, and having heard that the snow was still skimpy at some of the lower sno parks, I drove up Cascade Lakes Highway, past the parks I'd been to last winter, and parked at Dutchman Flat Sno park.

Unsure that I was on the Dutchman Loop at this point, I turned back toward my old pal, the three fourths of a mile to go sign. As I made my way toward it, I got treated to a now familiar mountain view which I realize would have been helpful to me if I'd taken the time to note the mountains' orientation when I'd begun my trip.

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And with the new snow that's fallen since Monday, there could be a different problem: with heavy snowfall, Sabo said, the sides of trees facing the wind could be plastered with snow, obscuring signs.

Which way?

His first suggestion was that I should have taken the map out of my pocket well before I became disoriented.

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I shouted a friendly greeting, something like, "Hey, do you guys know how to get out of here?" and waved my poles in the air.

I knew someone with more skill than I could easily push their way up. I could see from tracks in the snow some skier had turned his or her skis sideways to shimmy uphill. Fearing the dreaded backslide, I turned my skis sideways and began to do the same but then I recognized where I was. I was the inexperienced skier who had shimmied sideways up this very hill. I'd made a circle.

Then I remembered that although I'd carried water in my pack, I hadn't taken a single drink. Whoops.

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"This is not good," I thought.

This way

But, after what felt like about three fourths of a mile, I came upon another sign that said I had three fourths of a mile to go. I passed the sign suspiciously, and moved toward a moderate hill in front of me.

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By the time I got back to my car, I realized I was nowhere near the shape I was in last winter. Everything was sore, and all I could think about was a cheeseburger. Or four.

Now, I know I have a profoundly bad sense of direction. But last year, when I skied at Virginia Meissner Sno park, I had no problems simply following the signs. Here, neither right nor left looked like a good option.

missed signs because they are hung high enough that they'll still be visible later in the season, after another 10 feet of snow falls.

Eventually, I came to a sign telling me I had three fourths of a mile left to go.

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