Here’s the scenario. After four days of living under the gauzy shroud of fog, I was heading for the sunny blue skies of Stevens Pass Nordic Center. Armed with a hot coffee and talking with my gal pals, I was looking forward to the beautiful outdoors and a cross-country skiing workout.
I was in heaven. Well, technically, I was in a city of Everett Parks and Recreation van.
I had signed up for one of the many outdoors classes in the city’s winter guide.
Though I’d flailed around on the trails for years, I’d never had a real lesson. I figured this was a good way to finally learn.
And boy howdy, was it ever good. Let me tell you why.
First, refer back to the beginning, the mountains and the sunshine and all that. Then add that I didn’t have to drive. Then consider that I met some fascinating, friendly people. And, I received a thorough, well-presented lesson from a patient instructor.
I brought my own skis, so all this cost me only $48, which included the trail fee.
I’ll get to the treats later.
Each year, Everett’s parks and rec offers 1,500 classes and programs. I had taken cooking and gardening classes before, but never an outdoors class. Now I’m a believer and want to shout my recommendation from the highest mountaintop.
My experience was definitely enhanced by the calm and knowledgeable instructor, Sharmon Hill.
Hill, who owns Moondance Sea Kayak Adventures in Bellingham, soon gave us newbies the confidence to leave the learning slope and head for the trails. Our group even sojourned off the Main Line trail, feeling skilled enough to tackle some taxing terrain.
The detour delivered us along an undulating path where the sun peaked through the boughs and sparkled on the snow. We chatted, fell on our butts on occasion and laughed till it hurt. When Hill finally caught up with us, she said she couldn’t believe how far we’d gotten and told us we were definitely at level two.
On the ride back to Everett, Hill couldn’t decide whether to stop for chocolates or pastries. So we stopped for both.
Like eating a tasty truffle, that ski trip made me want more. Everett parks and rec still has lots to offer to get outdoors this winter.
Most of the cross-country ski trips are still open, including another trip to Stevens Pass Nordic Center; one along flat, wide Iron Horse Trail near Snoqualmie Pass; a trip near Lake Keechelus east of Snoqualmie Pass that offers easy to challenging trails; and a trip to Copper Creek Hut near Ashford.
Parks and rec offers snowshoe trips as well, providing free snowshoes for the introductory tours and for all youths.
Some of the trips still open are Lake Wenatchee State Park; a family snowshoe trip to Stevens Pass on Feb. 13; a Salmon La Sac trip north of Cle Elum; a moonlight trip on the Mountain Loop Highway to Big Four; and a Skyline Lake moonlight and pizza trip to Stevens Pass.