Beating the Winter Blahs Thanks to WTA’s Gear Libraries
WTA has been excited to see our partners borrowing snowshoes to get outside with youth. We wanted to know how the trips were going, so we asked three groups to share the highlights of their snowy adventures.
This season, WTA staff at our two gear libraries have been busy getting snowshoes out the door for youth trips. We’ve been excited to see groups enjoy the many benefits of time outside, and the simple joy of playing in the snow. And, with a second gear library now open in Pierce County, we are able to help more groups get out.
We wanted to hear about how those trips were going, so we asked our partners at Y.E.T.I., Normandy Christian Church, and Terra Forma to share their stories. We’re excited to read about their recent snowshoe outings and we look forward to continuing supporting additional organizations in their snowshoe trips this winter.
Normandy Christian Church
By Kyle Moffitt
"In working with teenagers for 35 years, I've found that there is nothing like getting them away from their regular environments and out to the great outdoors."
We had the privilege of taking four youth and four adults snowshoeing to Gold Creek Pond at Snoqualmie Pass on a beautiful December day. I say privilege because without Washington Trails Association we wouldn't have been able to do this. WTA has been an awesome partner with our youth program! They give great tips on how to lead youth in the wilderness, advice on where to go and most, incredibly, they outfit youth programs — for free — with any of the gear they need to lead hiking, backpacking and snowshoe trips. There is no way most of our youth would be able to do things like snowshoeing without this amazing partnership with WTA.
It's awesome taking teens out of their regular surroundings to the great outdoors! We take our youth group snowshoeing once or twice a year. The hike around Gold Creek Pond is a good length for a beginner group. It's not too long, is close to Seattle and has beautiful scenery! We got a good workout before we enjoyed lunch on a peninsula in the middle of the frozen pond. There is so much beauty in our great Northwest. In working with teenagers for 35 years, I've found that there is nothing like getting them away from their regular environments and out to the great outdoors.
We were amazed at the incredible beauty of the snow and thought about the fact that we would have missed all this if we were just at home inside. There are so many more hikes and snowshoe trips we hope to do in the future. Thanks WTA!
By Sean McNally
"Those in the outdoor community know that one way to make the best of the winter season is to get out and play in the snow!"
The winters of the Pacific Northwest can be tough to get through for city dwellers. The combination of short days and cloudy skies can lead one to spend too much time inside, and way too much time on screens. But those in the outdoor community know that one way to make the best of the winter season is to get out and play in the snow!
So this winter, Y.E.T.I. has been committed to getting the youth in our community outside to experience all that the snowy mountains have to offer. While Seattleites can count themselves lucky for their proximity to snowy peaks, getting out there still remains a challenging endeavor for many youth in South King County.
At Y.E.T.I, we do all we can to make a day out in the snow a reasonable weekend event for youth by offering transportation, proper clothing, food, snowshoes and local knowledge as a part of our programs. We’ve successfully run two snowshoe outings at Snoqualmie Pass this winter and have plenty more on the calendar!
Find more about their recent snowshoe trips on their blog
"We stopped at this snow field to run through the snow, have snowball battles and learn how to build a snow cave."
Terra-Forma Education has been providing outdoor nature adventures for youth since 2003. One of our signature programs is Spirit Rising, a year long rite-of-passage program for tweens. A group of ten kids meet one weekend day each month to participate in activities that the group decides will help us complete our goal. The goal is to culminate our time together with a 3 day backpack trip in the Olympic Mountains.
In late January, this year’s Spirits climbed aboard the Emerald Dragon, our bus, and headed for Snoqualmie Pass. We started our day with a venture onto the Snoqualmie Pass tubing hill. Much fun was had by all as we raced down the hill. After tubing, we headed up to the Snow Lake trailhead for some snowshoeing with all the great winter gear that we borrowed from the Washington Trails Association gear library in Puyallup.
The Snow Lake trail is generally a more advanced snowshoe hike. In my experience with tweens on snowshoes, it’s different and challenging and fun for the first 30 minutes, then it’s more like “How much farther do we have to go?” “I’m sooo tired, can we rest?” One of the nice things about the Snow Lake trail is that after about 1/2 mile or so, there is an open snow field. If you continue on the Snow Lake trail it passes through several avalanche chutes. (Avalanche knowledge is necessary if you take that trip).
We stopped at this snow field to run through the snow, have snowball battles and learn how to build a snow cave. Together, we piled up all of our backpacks to make a mound and covered snow. We were challenged by the different kinds of snow present. The freshest stuff was very powdery, so it didn’t pack down well. We were able to find snow that was a little icy and when we mixed that with the other snow, that would pack together and create a solid structure. Finally, we dug into our mound, pulled out our backpacks and voila, we had a snow cave. Everybody had a chance to go into the cave and appreciate the results of our efforts. Everybody pitched in with great ideas and creativity.