Time to mark up those 2017 calendars.
Winter might be just settling in, but before it gives way to spring there are some dates you shouldn’t miss if you’re planning certain adventures for the warmer months.
At best, missing these dates will cost you money. At worst, you’ll be left out in the cold looking for something else to do.
Here are some dates worth circling:
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RSVP: The Cascade Bicycle Club plans to overhaul its popular Ride from Seattle to Vancouver (B.C.) & Party ride again this year. The club is considering changing the ride back to a two-day event. Details on the changes are expected to be announced this month.
In recent years the club has offered two starting days for the ride to allow more participants. This year’s ride is scheduled for Aug. 18-19. It remains unclear how limited the field will be, but in the past it wasn’t uncommon for the ride to sell out before it was opened to the public. Registration opens for Cascade Bicycle Club members Jan. 24 ($140). Club membership starts at $40 per year.
Registration opens to the general public Feb. 21 ($160). cascade.org.
Capital City Marathon: The South Sound’s oldest marathon isn’t until May 21, but it’s probably a good idea to get training if you haven’t already started. Count on suffering if you take on this challenge, but it will be a little extra painful if you don’t sign up in January. Starting Feb. 1, prices jump to $95 for the marathon and $85 for the half marathon. That’s $10 more than January prices. Fees climb another $10 on May 9. capitalcitymarathon.org.
Mount St. Helens permits: Last year, after studying Mount St. Helens in school, my son asked if my wife and I would hike with him to the crater rim.
But first, he wanted to know just how hard it would be. I told him what I tell most people who ask this question. If you’re healthy and in good shape, the hardest part is getting permits.
Permits for climbing from May 15-Oct. 31 are limited to 100 per day. They go on sale Feb. 1 at 9 a.m., so at 8:55 a.m. I was on the Mount St. Helens Institute website with credit card in hand. In a matter of minutes almost all of the weekend permits were gone. Midweek permits ($22) were a little easier to get.
We got permits for the date we requested, and by early July we were taking a family picture atop the volcano. mshinstitute.org.
STP: Surprising to those familiar with the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic, getting a spot in the famous ride wasn’t difficult last year.
The ride is limited to 10,000 participants and usually sells out in the first few weeks. Last year, spots were available into summer. Will this be the case again this year? If you don’t want to take the chance, entry opens to Cascade Bicycle Club members Jan. 17 ($135) and to the general public Feb. 14 ($155). cascade.org.
Enchantments: The lottery for one of the Northwest’s hottest tickets in backpacking starts Feb. 15. This long hike among the mountains, lakes and mountain goats of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness is a classic, visually stunning trip.
The lottery closes March 2, and there is no benefit to registering early. However, applicants should take note of some changes for 2017.
This year, the designated party leader must carry photo identification, along with the permit. Everybody on the permits must camp with the party leader. And only one application per person will be accepted. The application fee is $6, plus $5 per person per day. recreation.gov.
Chilly Hilly: Western Washington’s oldest bike ride turns 45 on Feb. 26. This hilly 33-mile ride on Bainbridge Island is the unofficial start of the organized bike ride season. Participation typically depends on the weather. Last year, 3,270 cyclists participated. In its best year (2010), the Chilly Hilly drew 6,029 riders. cascade.org.
Tacoma City Marathon: Prices increase for the Tacoma City Marathon after February. The scenic race crosses the southern Narrows Bridge and visits Point Defiance and the Tacoma Waterfront. Prices are $105 for the marathon and $95 for the half but increase by $10 April 1. Prices for the shorter races also increase April 1. tacomacitymarathon.com.
Ski to Sea: This 8-person (7-leg) relay race is a blast. To participate, you’ll need a cross-country skier, an alpine skier (who’ll also have to climb to the top of a ski run), a runner, a road cyclist, two canoers, a cyclocross or mountain biker rider, and a kayaker.
The race starts at Mount Baker and finishes on Bellingham Bay. Some take it seriously, but many are content just enjoying the journey and the camaraderie.
The field for the May 28 race is limited to 500 teams and costs $599 per team if you sign up by Feb. 28. Miss the deadline and the price climbs to $649. skitosea.com.
RAMROD: Exact dates for Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day (usually the last Thursday in July) and its entry lottery (usually in March) haven’t been announced, but there are few things of which you can be sure. First, the ride will be hard. Second, there will be a waiting list to get in. Check the Redmond Cycling Club website in coming weeks for details on how to enter the lottery for a spot in the 150-mile ride with 10,000 feet of climbing. redmondcyclingclub.org.
Wonderland Trail permit: Mount Rainier National Park’s permit system crashed in 2016, forcing the park to use a first-come, first-served system. Don’t expect to get so lucky if you miss the registration period in 2017. The registration period is typically March 15-April 1 for backcountry permits. If you hope to hike the famous 93-mile Wonderland Trail this summer, you don’t want to miss the application window. The park plans to introduce a new online permit registration system this year. nps.gov/mora.