This past week the lodge and land were filled with the vibrant, vivacious energy of the North Cascade Institute graduate students, led by program director Joshua Porter. The group made Skalitude their home-base for a week-long winter program here in the Methow Valley. The students explored the diverse arena of winter skills and knowledge – tracking, shelter building, avalanche safety, just to name a few – all the while enjoying amazing spring skiing right here in the hills flanking Skalitude’s meadow. With sunny warm days and frigid clear nights, the snow pack is still very present, offering a soft top layer for excellent day-time Nordic and alpine touring conditions. With fingers crossed, we hope to see this last as we head into March!
Thursday night we had a special visit from Methow Valley astronomer David Ward. He shared his comic wisdom with us and the NCI students – pointing out constellations, nebula, the Andromeda galaxy, and the glowing light of Jupiter as it rose in the Eastern sky. Those utilizing the spotting scope were lucky enough to view one of Jupiter’s moons.
Friday night was dinner at the snow-camp; the students built many different shelters, as well as a beautiful outdoor kitchen compete with sculptures and a center island for food prep, all out of snow. Dinner and fellowship were shared under the stars, and while we headed back to the cabin and a warm bed, everyone else snuggled into their sleeping bags for a restful night inside their hand-built abodes.
At their departure this morning, we feel we have made wonderful new friends, and are left with fond memories and the echoes of laughter in the meadow. Thank you Joshua and all the North Cascade Institute grad students! We look forward to seeing you again!