Children race through the snow, kicking up clouds of snow and playing on their snowshoes. Guides leading walkers along trails, teaching safety and winter ecology, while advanced snowshoers muscle their way through the backcountry.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Forest Service began offering snowshoe classes and guided trips at Stevens Pass and Snoqualmie Pass. The classes continue through March.
“Nearly anyone can slap snowshoes on and start walking in the forest,” said Kim Larned, snowshoe guide on the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. “It is amazing to see someone’s face when they get to see first-hand how filled with life winter is.”
Snoqualmie Pass offers beginning-, intermediate- and advanced-level tours. Stevens Pass offers a two-hour program for all skill levels that includes a brief slide show about the area’s history. Visitors then begin an easy one-mile round-trip snowshoe trip on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Larned said participants need to wear layered and insulated clothing, hats, gloves and waterproof boots for the snowshoes. No jeans or cotton. The Forest Service provides snowshoes. To offset the costs of the program, a donation of $10 per person is suggested for all tours except the extended hike, where $20 is suggested.
Stevens Pass: Through March 21, call Skykomish Ranger District at (360) 677-2414 for reservations, ages 6 and up.
Snoqualmie Pass: Though March 28, call (425) 434-6111 for reservations, all ages welcome.
For more info: www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs/news/2009/nr-snowshow-walks-20091209.shtml.
— U.S. Forest Service