When I was still living in Seattle, we once had a record-breaking streak of days with rainfall.
Given, clouds and drizzle are pretty much a prerequisite when it comes to springtime in Seattle, but I’m talking more than 24 straight days of overcast skies, precipitation and constantly soggy shoes.
Honestly, it was like an endurance race for the psyche.
One of my most vivid memories from those days is sitting in a Capitol Hill coffee shop with a friend of mine who turned to me after staring out the window at yet another afternoon downpour, and wearily announced, “You know what? If I were a cloud, I’d just be like, ‘Look. I made my point — and now I’m tired. I’m done.’”
Much to her chagrin, it rained for at least another week after that.
On the (literal) bright side, I still remember how refreshing it was when the weather finally broke.
It was like the entire city took a long-awaited deep breath, then gratefully expelled it en masse.
And I’ve never been more distinctly reminded of that feeling — that gratitude for any sort of meteorological reprieve — than when I woke up this past Sunday morning to blue, almost smoke-free skies.
Although parts of Washington, and many of our neighbors in Oregon and California, aren’t out of the woods when it comes to the current wildfires, I for one am so, SO grateful for the simple pleasure of just … being outside, enjoying fresh air and temperate weather.
So now, with my long-winded preamble out of the way, and in the spirit of fresh air adventuring, I’m excited to announce that, after a monthslong delay due to COVID-19 closures, Yakima Valley Libraries is a proud participant in Check Out Washington, a program offered by Washington State Parks in partnership with the Washington State Library.
Through the program, Yakima Valley Libraries patrons can now borrow a limited-edition Discover Pass, which allows you to access millions of acres of state parks and other state public lands — for free!
The Discover Pass comes as part of a special Check Out Washington kit, which includes a backpack, a pair of binoculars, a State Parks map and pocket guides for identifying state birds, trees and wildflowers.
For those of you who are familiar with the standard-issue Discover Pass, please note that the library-issued Discover Pass does not require you to write a license plate number on the pass (so, please don’t take a Sharpie to it!), and the pass is only valid for one vehicle per visit.
Each Check Out Washington kit may be borrowed for seven days, but you can request a renewal (for an additional seven days) as long as no one else has placed a hold on the kit.
To request a Check Out Washington kit, visit our online catalog at www.yvl.org and search for “Check Out Washington.” Once your request is placed and you receive notification that it’s ready to pick up at your preferred community library, you just need to schedule a contact-free pickup appointment prior to picking up your kit. (More info on that process here: www.yvl.org/pickup).
Oh, and before you begin lacing up your hiking boots, a few considerations: The Discover Pass is only valid at lands managed by Washington State Parks, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Department of Natural Resources.
It is NOT valid at federal lands or at county or municipal parks. For a list of places where the pass may be used, visit https://discoverpass.wa.gov/143/Washington-Recreation-Lands.
For more information about the Check Out Washington program at Yakima Valley Libraries, including frequently asked questions, helpful links and guidance on using and displaying the Discover Pass, visit www.yvl.org/checkoutwa.
• Krystal Corbray is programming and marketing librarian for Yakima Valley Libraries. She and other library staffers write this column for Thursday’s SCENE. Learn more at www.yvl.org.