Outdoors

Recreation Roundup

An expo for exploration

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WHAT: Recreation Northwest Expo
WHEN: 4-8pm Fri., Feb. 26
WHERE: Depot Market Square, 1100 Railroad Ave.
COST: Entry is free
INFO: http://www.recreationnorthwest.org

WHAT: Recreation Northwest Excursions
WHEN: Sat., Feb. 27
WHERE: Throughout Bellingham
COST: Costs vary; most events are free

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

If the sun’s out in Bellingham, you can rest assured someone in the vicinity will be wearing open-toed shoes and shorts—even if it’s only 50 degrees.

We’re a hopeful lot of humans, and we prove this by recreating at a moment’s notice, whether it’s kayaking or sailing on the bay, exploring vast trail systems by bike or by foot, or hiking and skiing in the mountains. And judging by the amount of people who can still be spotted doing these things when the giant orb in the sky isn’t even thinking about shining, we’re also a hardy bunch.

However, there’s no denying that spring and summer in Whatcom County are the prime seasons to make more time for both old and new adventures. That’s where this weekend’s Recreation Northwest Expo will come in handy.

Say, for instance, that you’ve always spent your free hours on a mountain bike, but are looking for ways to expand your recreational horizons. At the Fri., Feb. 26 expo, which will feature more than 60 exhibitors, you can connect one-on-one with representatives from a dizzying array of recreational companies and organizations from around the region.

So, sure, it will still be possible for you to discuss mountain biking gear with reps from Kona Bike Shop and find out more about what’s required to take part in the annual Tour de Whatcom, but let’s say you’re thinking about testing the nearby waters, as well. If that’s the case, you can talk tours with Moondance Sea Kayak Adventures, grill the reps from the Community Boating Center about upcoming classes, and find out more about the mission of the Whatcom Rowing Association (among many other things).

In other words, the Recreation Northwest Expo is similar to a one-stop-shopping experience, but with more of a long-term payback. Attendees can also peruse a variety of outdoor stewardship opportunities, get the gist of what’s required to take part in races—such as Recreation Northwest’s own Bellingham Traverse, the Bellingham Bay Marathon, Ski to Sea, Run Like a Girl, etc.—find the best place to procure equipment and, most importantly, make connections.

Come Saturday, the fun continues with a variety of excursions from featured expo exhibitors. A “Chuckanut Casual” race put on by Revolution Running and Aspire Adventure Running will feature a jaunt on a sample of the Chuckanut 50K course, and there’ll also be a Winter Trail Run Series on the Bellingham BMX Cyclocross course, a guided tour of the Galbraith Mountain Trail network, test rides in a variety of boats at Lake Padden, and, also at the lake, a guided hike by Polly Favinger of the Greater Bellingham Running Club and Fairhaven Runners.

If the sun’s shining Saturday morning, you might be tempted to don flip-flops and shorts for the aforementioned adventures. But just remember that spring’s not quite here, and the weather can change at a moment’s notice. But if you think you can handle whatever Mother Nature throws out there, go right ahead.

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