February 2022 we bundled up and drove scenic, winding roads to convene at the Paradise Visitor Center on Mt. Tahoma.
Waiting for us was Interpretive Ranger Darby Robinson and his colleague Ranger Paul. Equipment in hand, introductions and land acknowledgement complete, we set out for Nisqually Vista loop. We stopped intermittently along the way to learn about the mountain, weather, snow, avalanches, and biodiversity. We heard fascinating stories about animals that call the mountain home, what animals we might see evidence of during Winter, what animals we wouldn’t see, how various animals live and survive in the Winter, and a bit about glaciers. After lunching at the viewpoint, we looked forward to the last hurrah — sliding down a short hill on our bellies like otters. EVERYONE’S inner child fully exposed, it was a great way to end a fun and educational snowshoe.
Departing Paradise (literally and figuratively) we met up at the National Park Inn restaurant at Longmire to debrief over lunch and hot drinks. I learned that this was the first snowshoe experience for nearly half of the attendees; only a few attendees had snowshoed six or more times; almost half had never been to Mr. Tahoma before. I asked why this was, what were the barriers. Transportation was #1 and cost #2. At least one participant purchased an America The Beautiful pass that day — she’s already stoking Community to snowshoe and experience the majesty of Mt. Tahoma for themselves. I read the quote on the park map (shown below) and got goosebumps and tears, overcome with gratitude being part of these folx experience and that this fire mountain, in all her glory, and all the life that calls her Home, got to experience Us today. This is what The Bronze Chapter’s about.
Gratitudes to Washington Trails Association. Outdoor Asian-Washington. Ranger Darby Robinson. Ranger Paul. NPS Superintendent Gregory Dudgeon. National Park Service. Justice Outside. You supported Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color in the movement towards a more racially-just outdoors.
If you missed this snowshoe we hope to see you next time.