Every year about this time the Snoqualmie Pass winter sports lovers, whether motorized or self-propelled, gather at their favorite snow-park to clean up all the trash left behind by the throngs who crowd the ski and snowmobile areas. Every year, we find astonishing and/or disgusting things that people feel like it's okay to just throw out the window. This year, it was the usual assortment of broken car parts and pieces of tires and used condoms and dirty diapers and needles and food wrappers and beer cans and various items of clothing in various stages of decomposition, leading me to conclude, as I do every year, that your average freeway/snow-park garbage thrower is a fast-food eating, cheap-beer drinking, hasty roadside love affair type of guy.
But this year, at Cabin Creek, we also found a bunch of containers of used motor oil, all piled up in the drainage ditch, which is not quite to the level of the dead horse we found one year, but several steps worse than the usual detritus.
We also found that one of the garbage throwers had left his name! Way to go, Ricky! Next time leave us your email address too so we can invite you to the next clean-up.
But never mind that; it was a splendid day to be outside, making our corner of the world a tiny bit cleaner and nicer. The Momentum NW kids showed up in force, filling multiple big bags of garbage and then heading out onto the trails for a bounding workout. Great work, kids, and thanks for chipping in!
And of course, the usual roster of Kongsbergers was there, working hard scrambling up and down embankments, hiking the trails, lifting and carrying heavy things, reaching and stretching and pushing and pulling, and generally getting in a good solid workout, out in the fresh air and sunshine. As David pointed out, you could just cancel your normal workout regimen and do KSC events for fitness! Big big thanks to the KSCers who showed up. (There were many more than the people pictured here. I couldn't catch everyone; they were moving too fast!)
But then, ahhh, then, lunch time!! The highlight of the clean-up day is the incredible barbecued chicken that Kare and Aase make us every year, grilled outside over an open fire -- there is nothing in this world more delicious. Thank you, Kare and Aase! And thanks to everyone else who brought pesto pasta and okra rice and warm bread and berries and cobbler and watermelon; what a feast, to restore our tired muscles.
Rob played bartender at the special high-tech KSC beer cooler.
We sat out on the porch in the sunshine, laughing and chatting and solving all the problems of the world. And we drank to the chicken and the clean forest air and the pure fun of working hard outside and celebrating the end of winter with your friends. Thank you, everyone, for showing up and making a difference!
If you weren't able to make it this year, check in again next year. This is a super fun and productive day with your skiing friends, an excellent workout in the gym of the outdoors, and maybe the most delicious lunch you've ever had.
Post Script: After lunch, Peter and Lisa mentioned that they were going mushroom hunting and I quickly invited myself along (after checking to make sure this wasn't secret code for a romantic interlude in the forest). I've never been mushroom hunting before, and what a fabulous adventure it was! We drove east, past Cle Elum, high up into the hills into an area that had been ravaged by wildfire last year. (I am bound by the mushroom hunters code of conduct not to give you any more details.)
I did not know this, but morels only come out in the first year or two after a wildfire, and let me tell you, people, finding them is not a walk in the park -- I totally understand why they cost $70 a pound in the store! We scrambled up and down burned hillsides all afternoon, bushwhacking through heavy undergrowth, pushing our way through tangled branches and bushes and trees, getting scratched and bitten and covered with dirt and charcoal, always looking down at the ground for the elusive morel; those little rascals are cleverly disguised, but we found them!
Enough to fill more than a bucket, and enough to share among the three of us.
Peter sent me his recipe for wild mushroom cream sauce and pasta, so I stopped at the farmers market this morning for fresh pasta and spring garlic and parsley and butter and cream to go with my precious mushrooms. I am drooling already. Thanks, Peter and Lisa, for this amazing adventure!