As a way to connect people with the outdoors, the city of Bellevue is offering snowshoeing adventures as part of its weekly Tuesday Trails program this winter.
“Snowshoeing is one of those great activities where beginners can pick it up quickly,” said Carrie Sabochik, outdoor recreation coordinator with the city of Bellevue Parks and Community Services. “It’s like walking around with really big feet.”
Residents meet every Tuesday starting Jan. 9 through Feb. 13 at the North Bellevue Community Center to pile into a van before heading out on Interstate 90 to the Snoqualmie Pass. The program is for residents 50 years and older. There will be family programs offered in February.
“They do tend to fill pretty quickly,” Sabochik said.
The city provides snowshoes. Residents are asked to bring warm outdoor clothing, a snack, lunch and water, plus any eye and skin protection that might be necessary. It costs $15 per person. The group meets at 10 a.m. at the community center and returns at 3 p.m. There is a limit of 12 people per group.
“A lot of women have said they really like going in a group setting because they don’t feel comfortable going alone,” Sabochik said. “We get people that are just retired still in their 50s, all the way up to their 80s.”
The city sticks to fairly flat trails. Usually there will be a couple feet of snow on the trials.
“It’s not often that we’ll be breaking fresh snow,” Sabochik said. “It’s a nice way to be outside and enjoy nature in wintertime.”
She said the hike is usually about 2 miles.
One of the benefits to going snowshoeing on a Tuesday afternoon is that the trail is fairly empty.
“It’s pretty nice; you’re not having to share the trail with a lot of other people,” Sabochik said.
To participate, residents must first register with the city by contacting Sabochik at email@example.com or 425-452-6883.
All trips are weather dependent.
Tuesday Trails program is part of the TRACKS initiative to promote outdoor adventure, youth leadership and environmental stewardship, according to the city webpage.
Sabochik said TRACKS started in 2007 as a way to address nature deficit disorder, a phrase author Richar Louv coined in his 2005 book “Last Child in the Woods.” The phrase describes the modern-day human’s isolation to nature, and argues that this alienation makes humans more susceptible to behavioral issues.