Switching Gears

Okay, it is time to switch gears…literally.  Time to stash the ski’s and snowshoe’s and pull out the bikes and hiking boots.  Spring time always makes me happy as I can spend time planning out my summer trips and figuring out how I am going to pack everything I want to do into one summer.

Sometimes after a winter of enthusiastically embracing the cold weather sports I need a refresher on some of the basic skills of my summer hobbies.  TRACKS, The City of Bellevue, are offering Urban Cycling Classes, in collaboration with the Cascade Bicycle Club to help with just this process.

The series includes two different classes.  The first is Urban Riders geared towards teenagers and helping them become safe urban riders.  The second class is Riding With Confidence, which is open to anybody, and geared towards helping you get confident and ready for summer riding.

Click on the link below to get the full details about the classes and how to sign up us well.

Urban Cycling Classes

Sunny and Perfect

This winter has brought us all kinds of weather for our snowshoe trips, but nothing could have been better than this past trip.   It was a perfect 50 degrees and sunny!  We were treated to a beautiful winter landscape and a nice layer of crust on the snow that made it easy to snowshoe.

The group was strong and although we never made it to the falls.  We did have some excellent off trail exploration and excitement, in the end everybody was pleased with the trip and came home ready and able to do it again on their own.  Success indeed!

A few people asked about where they could go snowshoeing locally on their own so check this great article on the Washington Trails Association website about great snowshoe hikes in Washington

With only one more trip left in the season our snowshoe trips are winding down.  If you want one more chance at exploring winter then come join us on April 21.  For more information go to www.myparksandrecreation.com and search for snowshoe. 

As always lets get out and make TRACKS!

Winter Wonderland

Look how deep that snow is!!!

What a day, what a day!  This past weekend was our 2nd snowshoe trip of the year and as our trepid adventurists pulled into the parking lot in the pouring rain, I must admit I was busy preparing for the worst. Little did I know what was in store for us!  After our snowshoe tutorial and gear review we all piled into the van and headed for Snoqualmie Pass.  The farther we drove East from Bellevue the harder the snow seemed to be falling, but once we exited the highway and onto the backroads the snow went from blizzard like conditions to magical in a heartbeat.

With the trees preventing the worst of the wind and the sun trying its best to make everything glimmer we were treated to an absolutely stunning hike up to Franklin Falls.  Although we never made it to the falls due to the copious amounts of snow that made hiking off the beaten path very difficult (even with snowshoes we were post-holing up to our waist at times) and route finding completely impossible, we were all starstruck by the immense beauty of the woods on a snowy day.

On the way to Franklin Falls

Surrounded by this magical winter wonderland and the chatter of friends enjoying a hike, the day seemed to fly by. Before we knew it we were all back at the van happy to have explored  the woods in a way that only winter can allow.

With two more snowshoe trips left in the season and with continued snow in the forecast, I am already looking forward to the next trip and the next great adventure. If you have any interest in signing up for the next snowshoe trip please visit myparksandrecreation.com and search for snowshoeing.  We have two trips left, April 7th and April 21st, spots are going fast so be sure to sign up soon.

As an addendum to this post, during our hike we were discussing the best places to find deals on outdoor gear and I thought I would pass along my secret.  Check out steepandcheap.com, chainlove.com, bonktown.com, and whiskeymilitia.com.  These are one deal at a time websites run by backcountry.com and once you enter your info it is the simplest way to find great deals on quality outdoor gear.  Just a warning though, its so easy that it can become a bit addictive(my overstuffed gear closet is a testament to its addictive nature)..don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Okay I would love to hear your suggestions for your gear shopping secrets and as always…look for our TRACKS next time your out there!

Winter Action

The winter snow is pounding the mountains and we are excited to be getting out to play in it.  We had a hearty group join us last weekend for a glorious snowshoe hike to Franklin Falls.  We started with a brief tutorial of how to hike in snowshoes and once everyone was geared up we were off and hiking.

The hike was beautiful, with wet heavy snow falling.  Once we got off the road and into the woods the trail became slightly more challenging, yet doable.  The crux of the hike came when we all had to cross a narrow snowbridge.  One by one and with lots of good encouragement we all made it across.  

 

After stopping for a quick lunch at the falls and before we got too cold, we all geared back up and headed back to the trailhead. The falls were beautiful and everybody who made it was happy to see it.  All in all it was a great day of snowshoeing and everybody learned how to snowshoe and arrived home happy and tired.

We have three more snowshoe trips this winter with our next one coming this Saturday, March 17th.  Search for snowshoeing at www.myparksandrecreation.com to learn more and sign up for our next trip.

Winter has finally arrived!!

Winter has finally arrived and we here at TRACKS are ready to go.  With snow pounding down last week our excitment to get out and explore is at a fevered pitch.  We a are gearing up for the fourth year of snowshoe hikes and this year is better than ever!  We are planning great day hikes to Franklin Falls, Snoqualmie Pass, Commonwealth Basin and a few other surprise locations.

Do you love to hike?  Do you love the Snow?  Want to explore the woods in the winter and try something new?  Join us for an Intro to Snowshoeing hike, right here in our backyard.  After a brief tutorial on how to use snowshoes, we will head up to the pass and take a beautiful hike in the snow. Together we will spend the day practicing our snowshoeing techniques and enjoying the winter wonderland.   Transportation and snowshoes are provided.  For further info or questions please contact tracks@bellevuewa.gov. or sign up at myparksandrecreation.com

Date: Feb. 4, 2012

Location: Meet at Highland Community Center

Time: 10:00am – 4:00pm

Price: $35(R) & $40 (NR)

Ages: 7yrs and up, must be accompanied by an adult

Activity Code: 64378

High Adventure Camp: Week 4

Mt. Rainier at Sunset

Our final week of camp was yet another great success. With three returning campers, the group made for an adventurous bunch, and everyone had a blast on our last High Adventure Camp of the summer.

Our day hike was another grand adventure, as we headed for Margaret Lake high up in the clouds.  The trail started easily enough, ascending along an old logging road before cutting up along a series of switchbacks towards the pass. However, the snow soon began to pile up and we came across many people who suggested that there was no way to get to the lake. But that did not stop our motley crew.  We trudged through the snow, engaged in a bit of trail finding, and finally discovered a beautiful lake tucked away in a valley blanketed with snow – an ideal site for a spot of lunch.  After lunch we bushwhacked our way back to the trail, turned tail, and boogied on down to the van.  It truly was a high adventure camping day.

For our overnight trip, we drove two hours to a location about 13 miles from Rainier, and trekked to the unbelievably gorgeous Summit Lake. Although the hike was only 2.5 miles in, the views of Mt. Rainier and the surrounding valley were absolutely breathtaking. The campers had a great time exploring the snowy hills and flowery meadows surrounding our campsite, and we had the opportunity to watch Rainier’s western face fade from white to pink to red as the sun disappeared behind the mountains. The next morning, the group broke camp and went on a fun hike up a ridge and around the lake that offered even more spectacular views of Rainier and the Cascades, before loading up the van and caravanning back home.

With the conclusion of this summer’s High Adventure Camps, we look forward to seeing former campers at future TRACKS events and activities!

TO VIEW MORE PICTURES FROM THE WEEK:

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