Intro to the High Meadows
March 27th, 2013 in Yesterday
When Don and I first purchased Scottish Lakes High Camp from Bill and Peg Stark in 1994 we knew very little about the terrain around High Camp. Don was especially intrigued with the High Meadows area and McCue Ridge. Bill and Peg had many people who were part of the Scottish Lakes family; they would build cabins, host, provide transportation, do anything just to get up there and ski. Bill called them the Yahoos! In late November of 1994 there was huge snow and a trip up into the High Meadows area became a reality for Don. The trek was certainly not what he expected. But, it did give him a feel for the awesome ski terrain in the Scottish Lakes area.
The Yahoos were casual. Don was up and prepared to head out that morning, but the rest of the group was not close to ready. It was not the early start that Don expected. The group finally left High Camp some time after 10:00 that morning. The Yahoos were a little cocky as they took Don along to “show him the way”. They headed to Lake Julius, and then followed the outlet of Loch Eileen up finally climbing the shoulder above Eileen to enter the High Meadows. It was early season with deep snow and not much of a base, so the going was tough. But, Don was excited as he entered this beautiful high ski b0wl surrounded by peaks and ridges with many potential ski slopes.
The group followed the inlet to Lake Donald then traversed high above the lake to meet McCue Ridge for their exit from the High Meadows. It was late in the day as they skied across the narrow ridge top. Skiers were tired and the high energy of the group began to unravel. Days are short in the mountains in late November and darkness was upon them. In addition, there was not complete agreement on the route back down to High Camp. This put Don in a difficult position, not really knowing anyone in the group well enough to gauge their ability to lead the way back to High Camp. Dropping down slopes, realizing it was a mistake, climbing back up … arguing, small groups splitting off to do their own thing … a recipe for disaster. Don had no idea how they worked their way down toward High Camp, but suddenly he could see the lights of the little village below. So the first time Don skied Wild Bill Hill was in the dark with a feeble head lamp in deep snow with no base. The motley crew arrived at the lodge at 7:00 pm. Spirits were high and disaster was averted. In the many awesome treks to the High Meadows since that first experience Don always remembered that first trip, thankful for the experience and never repeating the many errors experienced on that day.