Mount Angel Abbey Museum’s collection of taxidermy includes an American bison, a polar bear, deer, bighorn sheep, wolf and much more. (Courtesy Mount Angel Abbey)
Mount Angel Abbey Museum’s collection of taxidermy includes an American bison, a polar bear, deer, bighorn sheep, wolf and much more. (Courtesy Mount Angel Abbey)
An offering of fun activities from the Catholic Sentinel staff, celebrating winter fun in western Oregon — with suggestions of nearby churches and their Mass times for those traveling to the locale

Go cross-country

An ancient snow transport has grown in popularity in Oregon for good reason. Cross-country skiing is cheaper and more peaceful than its downhill offspring.

Teacup Lake, off Highway 35 on Mount Hood, offers an enchanting 5-mile loop of groomed trails with forests, meadows and eye-popping views of the mountain. Skiers can warm up in a cabin for lunch.

Unless one arrives early or goes midweek, Teacup parking fills up.

Closest Mass is 8 a.m. Sundays at St. John Mission in Welches, 24905 Woodsey Way.

For an experience in the Willamette National Forest, Gold Lake Sno-Park off Highway 58 near Oakridge offers both gentle trails and a challenge. The trek to Gold Lake cabin works for beginners while salty trekkers can break snow on the Pacific Crest Trail for a trip to Maiden Peak Shelter. Mass is not far away at 11 a.m. Sundays at St. Michael Church, 76387 Crestview in Oakridge.

In Southern Oregon, Crater Lake offers an unparalleled Nordic experience with no summer crowds and no cars. Skiers loop the sparkling blue marvel on the road around the rim. Most easily accessible Masses are at St. Joseph, 800 West Stanton St. in Roseburg, Saturdays 5 p.m. and Sundays, 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. (Spanish).

Peace in the city

Rainy day in Portland? The Lan Su Chinese Garden, 239 NW Everett, offers a dry outdoor path full of beauty.

The visitor who steps through the masterfully crafted gates leaves bustling Portland behind and enters a compelling and quiet new world, much of it under covered walkways. Large stones full of cavities stand sentry, gaining an appealing sheen in the rain. Observe how water drips off and meditate upon it. Everything in Lan Su is intentionally filled with grace.

Stand on one of the many bridges and watch rain dimple the ponds, causing a shimmer as golden carp patrol the realm below the surface. Sculpted trees and shrubs reveal the truth that God and human crafters can cooperate to lift the spirit. Horticulturists will consider Lan Su a type of cathedral.

Rooms contain Chinese antiques and tidily presented lessons on Chinese culture.

The teahouse, which has limited indoor seating and some outdoor spots, offers an experience Portlanders adore — watching the rain with a warm cup in the hands. One should not miss out on the unique snacks in the teahouse, including superb vegetable dumplings, steamed buns and compelling mooncakes, pastries filled with sweet bean paste.

Nearest Mass is at St. André Bessette Church, 601 West Burnside, weekdays at 12:05 p.m. and Sundays at 10 a.m.

Museum for the mighty Columbia

The Columbia River Maritime Museum, 1792 Marine Dr., Astoria, (crmm.org) is a world-class experience not to be missed, especially by Oregonians. The museum, founded in 1962, is celebrating its 60th anniversary all year, so 2022 is an especially good time to visit. Learn about the science of storms and the unique dangers of the Oregon Coast. About 2,000 vessels have sunk and 700 people have died since 1792 at the Columbia River Bar, called the graveyard of the Pacific. Exhibits are interactive, so visitors can practice using a sextant to find longitude and latitude or play the part of Coast Guard rescuers using infrared vision technology. The dangers of the sea’s crashing waves tossing ships are shown in videos and a diorama. The luxurious side of ocean travel is experienced in a new exhibit, “Twin Palaces of the Pacific,” which shows how the S.S. Great Northern and S.S. Northern Pacific allowed the wealthy to journey from Portland to San Francisco via the luxury liners and rail.

Admission ranges from free for active duty military, $3 for SNAP recipients and $18 for adults. The museum is open daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

The nearest Mass is at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church, 1465 Grand Ave., Astoria. Sunday English Masses are at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., with a Spanish Mass at noon. Weekday English Masses are at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

Skating at Lloyd Center

Get into the spirit of the 2022 Winter Olympics as you gracefully glide — or tentatively wobble — around an ice rink where generations of Portlanders have learned to skate.

When it opened in 1960, Lloyd Center’s ice rink was the world’s first shopping center rink. It drew millions of visitors in its first two years, including Bobby and Ethel Kennedy. Oregon’s ice Olympian Tonya Harding first took to the ice there as a child. And a decade ago, Dominican Father Antoninus Wall rented a kiosk by the rink and would chat about faith and life with any interested passerby.

Like malls across the country, the Lloyd Center has struggled in recent years. But in December it was announced a new owner is taking over the mall and intends to revitalize the site while maintaining retail, work spaces and ice skating.

Special offerings at the rink include a Friday night Rock ’n’ Skate. Tuesdays and Thursday nights admission and skate rental fees are discounted.

For the latest schedule and COVID-19 guidelines, go to lloydice.com.

Nearest Mass is at Holy Rosary Church, 375 NE Clackamas St., weekdays at 6 a.m. (Latin, Dominican rite), 7 a.m. and noon and Sundays at 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m. (Latin, Dominican rite), 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Snow tubing in Southern Oregon

To ski or snowboard requires a bit of skill. But for snow-tubing? If you’ve got an inflated inner tube and gravity you are set.

Southern Oregon’s Diamond Lake Resort offers some of the state’s most remote and beloved tubing. Part of the fun is taking a ride up a 470-foot conveyor lift, dubbed the “wonder carpet.”

There are five lanes for tubers, and all tubes are provided by the resort. Kids 5 and under may ride on their parents’ laps; kiddos must be 3 to participate.

On Friday nights Diamond Lake Resort offers InnerSteller tubing. After the sun sets, riders swoop down the slope with black lights flashing. It’s not the time for serene stargazing, but fans say it has the delights of cosmic bowling but with snow and fresh mountain air.

This year all tickets must be purchased online. To reserve a ticket, go to diamondlake.net/winter-recreation.

GPS directions to the site do not always work well, according to staff. Coming west on Highway 138 from Roseburg, turn right onto the Diamond Lake Loop and then turn at the gas station.

For Mass, St. Joseph Parish in Roseburg is the most convenient option. Masses Tuesday-Friday at 12:10 p.m., Saturday at 5 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. in English, 12:30 p.m. in Spanish.

Celebrating flight

The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, 500 NE Captain Michael King Smith Way, McMinnville, regularly features in the top 10 lists of Oregon museums. Its most famous exhibit, the overwhelmingly huge Spruce Goose, world’s largest wooden airplane, is worth the price of admission alone. Yet the museum offers far more — 150 aircraft, spacecraft and exhibits. The still futurist-appearing SR-71 Blackbird is faster than a speeding bullet and yet was retired in 1999. There’s a Titan II SLV, main vehicle for the Gemini program and the only remaining spaceship of its type. The enthusiastic docents have experience flying some of the planes. Be sure to sit in the Spruce Goose’s cockpit and enjoy the tour.

Museum hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, closed for Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, as well as Jan. 3-7 for cleaning. Active duty military and children under 5 are free, with tickets for everyone else ranging from $10 to $20.

Nearest Masses are at St. James Church, 1145 NE First St. English Masses are 5 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. Sunday and 8:30 a.m. Monday-Friday. Spanish Masses are 7 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday.

A hidden gem at the abbey

Mount Angel Abbey in Saint Benedict is a favorite destination for Oregon Catholics. Time is worthily spent in worshipping in its beautiful chapel, wandering the beautiful grounds with their majestic views, dappled Stations of the Cross and historic cemetery, perusing the sweet giftshop and enjoying a coffee and pastry at the coffeeshop or a beer at the Benedictine Brewery.

But how many people know there’s a museum secreted away in the abbey’s basement?

It’s an old-fashioned, human-sized and family-friendly place, filled with exhibits of Northwest beasts, plants, rocks and minerals for close-up enjoyment. Bison, moose, a polar bear, and smaller creepy and crawlies are frozen in their taxidermy limbo. Beyond natural history there are also arrowheads, artwork, religious collections and even a small mummy. It should also be mentioned that the museum has long boasted the world’s largest pig hairball, from a pig on the Abbey’s farm. This is truly a worthy, eclectic collection.

The museum is open for self-guided tours Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

To worship, head up to the chapel. On Sundays and Solemnities, lauds is at 6:40 a.m., Mass at 9 a.m., midday prayer at 12 p.m. and vespers at 5:20 a.m. Monday-Saturday vigils are at 5:25 a.m., lauds at 6:35 a.m., Mass at 8 a.m., midday prayer at 12 p.m., and vespers at 5:20 p.m.