Joy For January


Do the post-holiday blues have you in a January slump? Aside from the excitement of classes, if you are finding it hard to embrace the winter wonder of the Pacific Northwest and to motivate yourself to do anything but stay glued to an electronic device, have no fear. Here are a few things to kill some ticks off the clock as you wait for the warmer months to approach.

The Great Outdoors

With unseasonably warm temperatures and drier weather than originally anticipated, go for something unheard of and spend some time outdoors in this first month of 2018. Of course there is always the option of hitting the slopes at several nearby resorts, but let’s get creative here.

1.   Take a Hike

Not only are there in-city parks with hiking trails to take advantage of, if you are feeling the need to get out of the city, there are also plenty of mountains around calling to you and your hiking boots. Nearby parks such as Shoreview, Boeing Creek and Carkeek have several trails to explore. (There’s even a hidden lake at Boeing Creek!)

Check out the Eastside’s Tiger Mountain or Mount Si in North Bend for some rigorous trails. And if you are itching to get out the hiking poles and Yaktrax grippers for your boots, there are quite a few trails in the North Cascades that make for nice day hikes.

Due to the time of year and the weather, an added benefit is the general avoidance of masses of people as they decide to stay home and watch Netflix. But you are more adventurous than that. Try Mt. Dickerman in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest or Mt. Pilchuck in Snohomish County for a bit of elevation and rewarding views at the top.

Washington Trails Association’s website ( has the skinny on all the mentioned trails as well as distance, difficulty and what to watch out for during different seasons. And if none of these sound appealing, WTA has plenty of other hikes to choose from

2.   Rent a Bike

You have likely come across a plethora of brightly colored bikes in hues of orange, green and yellow randomly parked around Seattle. To test out a new program, Seattle started a stationless bike share in July 2017 which allows people to find a bike nearby and rent it for just $1 an hour, parking it at their end destination (responsibly, of course — don’t go blocking any walkways). This is all done via smart phones with apps that use GPS locators to find the bikes and QR code readers to unlock the bikes and then check them back in once the ride is complete.

One usually doesn’t have to go far to find a bike (there are now over 9,000 out and about), and it’s a great way to get around and see some sites if you don’t have your own set of wheels. Participating companies include Spin, LimeBike and Ofo — a phone app is required to activate the bike, and usually first rides are free. Bonus — all bikes come with a basket in the front if you decide to grab some takeout on your journey.

3.   Take a New Path

Completed in December, a 14-foot wide path that spans 2.7 miles over Lake Washington, adjacent to the new 520 Bridge, is now open. With a nice big barrier protecting the path users from those scary fast cars whizzing by, there is also plenty of room for walkers and cyclists to coexist.

Take advantage of the turnouts along the path, which allow you to stop and smell the roses (er, lake water) as you take in the views of surrounding mountains and generally lovely lake scenery. If you prefer to bike across but haven’t pumped up the tires on your Schwinn for ages, see above for how to get your hands on a rental bike for a mere $1 an hour.

The Great Indoors

If you are more of an indoors person and don’t trust that the giant orb in the sky is going to send its rays over the area for more than five minutes at a time, there’s plenty to see and do under a canopy of fluorescent lights.

1.      Bowl a Round or Two

What better way is there to strengthen those biceps (well, in one arm anyway) and to sport the hottest fashion in shoes? At a minimum you can channel your inner Lebowski and hit the lanes for some good old-fashioned fun.

Spin Alley, located in Shoreline, has games for $2-$5.50 a pop, depending on the time and day. Additionally, there’s the Garage located in Capital Hill, which charges by the hour for lane usage, allowing for unlimited players. Rates range from $12-$30 an hour.

So gather your crew and your matching team shirts and roll that ball!

2.      Absorb Some Culture

The Henry Art Gallery, situated at University of Washington, is free (yes, FREE) to students so don’t forget your SCC student ID card! The current exhibit on display is “The Time. The Place.” which showcases contemporary art from the museum’s collection over the last two decades. A variety of art is on display throughout the museum, ranging from photography to computer-generated images, sculptures, videos on movable TVs and much more.

Check out Allen Sekula’s “Waiting for Tear Gas” photography exhibit to get a sense of the atmosphere in downtown Seattle during the WTO protests in 1999. Or walk around the “Puget Sound Driftwood Circle,” a large display of driftwood created by Richard Long. Each time this piece of art is exhibited, it is painstakingly rearranged in a circular format, but in a slightly different configuration than before.

  1.       Get Your Hotcakes

After all of these activities, someone’s gotta be hungry for some hotcakes. No, we aren’t talking about flapjack-style breakfast eats. Imagine an ooey gooey chocolate center surrounded by a rich and delightful cake. Welcome to Hotcakes.

That’s right — molten lava cakes are the specialty at this little Ballard shop. Served up with ice cream, it’s the perfect after-dinner snack, afternoon treat or even meal. You won’t leave hungry. And with a variety of little cakes to choose from, Hotcakes caters to vegan and gluten-free patrons as well.

By Kristen Clark,

Design Director