December 18, 2008

Reasons I Love Spokane #1

So the next blog series I wanted to start was "reasons I love Spokane." There are many reasons I enjoy living here and have been pondering how to order them. However, with our recent weather as an impetus to start the series now, I think I'll just start listing reasons in no particular order.

In short, days like today are something I love about living here. It snowed for about 36 hours, dropping at least two feet of snow locally. We are, quite literally, snowed in. We got hit with some cold arctic air last week, and the foot of snow we were supposed to receive in the valleys never materialized (though a much needed foot of snow fell in the local mountains). The cold air from the north stuck around and some moisture finally followed. I get the impression that the two collided in the sky right over our fair city, bringing both to an abrupt halt, spilling the entire load of snow. Of course, this was a record setting storm, blowing away the previous record of 13 inches in 24 hours, set in 1984, so it isn't something we are likely to see again any time soon. But every year we always get a handful of good storms that slow down everyday life and bring a quiet hush over the city.

Fortuitously it was Boofis' birthday today, so I had scheduled the day off--and the schools were closed (in the 7 years we've lived here I can only recall the schools closing a total of two times because of snow--the other time being this past January). As a result, we were prepared with lots of good food (pancakes, bacon, and hashbrowns for birthday breakfast) and plenty of time to enjoy being in the deep powder (4.0 inches snow water equivalent, which is quite high for us--it means the snow is light and dry). This morning the kids played in the back yard. The snow was actually too deep to sled in, so the girls followed me as I made a little cross country track along the bottom of our hill. Veep entertained Sal by making a fort and shoveling snow off the trampoline.

I also spent a couple hours getting to know the new snowblower we got earlier this fall.  I was beginning to think I'd wasted my money.  I'm an avid snow shoveler and reluctantly bought the snowblower knowing our new driveway is just way too long to even imagine shoveling by hand.  I've quickly developed a love hate relationship with the thing.  It is LOUD and burns gas, producing fumes--which ruin the joy of being in the quiet, fresh air.  But, in a snowstorm like this it was really satisfying to get the driveway cleared with relatively little physical effort.  Though at this point our road is still full of snow (again, literally snowed in) since it is a private road in the county and we haven't yet seen the hired snow plow/landscaper.

Later in the day I went snowshoeing. Another thing I like about living here is that I can mountain bike on trails right out my front door and road bike on nearby country roads with little car traffic. I infrequently feel the need to put my bike on my car in order to drive to a spot good for riding. By the same token, when we get snow like this, it is possible to ski or snowshoe without driving as well.


I went up the driveway, up to our cul-de-sac, and up the hill.


This is a representative photo of what it looked like everywhere.


The snow was deep.


The snow was at my knees even with boots and snowshoes on.


Mature ponderosa--something else I like about Spokane.  Evergreens are essential for the soul during a long winter.


"Name that intersection."


It is fun to bring out gear you haven't used for a while, and satisfying to have it work well.

Needless to say, my hip flexors were sore from breaking trail for a couple miles.  I relaxed by taking another round with the snowblower.  Still no snowplow.  I'm planning on skiing tomorrow but I'm not sure if I'll make it up to Mt. Spokane or hiking up the hill again.  It's nice to have the option.

1 comment:

  1. After our very mild November and early December, I was afraid this was going to be a bum year, but it's shaping up alright now, eh? We didn't get too much snow to sled, so we've been making good use of the hill. Every year, I'm again surprised by the hush snow creates. Even the sounds of snow blowers are dampened in a relatively short distance.
    Good luck making it out to ski. My bet is that you won't be getting out for a little while. Even if the snow removal person is privately hired, he/she has probably been tainted by Spokane's abysmal snow removal approach: wait until spring and then we won't have to do anything because it will melt on its own. I like Spokane, but was always astonished at their lack of attention to residential streets in the winter.