Winter hikes great way to combat winter blues

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The 2019 FSPW winter hikes include a snowshoe tramp to the Ross Creek Cedars. (Courtesy photo)

Lineup for 13th annual hike series is filling out

Exercise, particularly outdoor exercise, is one of the recommended methods of combating depression tied to the reduced amount of daylight and the tendency to avoid the out of doors in winter. According to Dr. Marc L. Kalin, faculty member at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, outdoor activity is one of the most effective ways to mitigate SAD. Kalin says, “Get outside and get as much natural light as possible.”

Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness has had a highly successful winter hike program almost since its inception 14 years ago. FSPW currently has five hikes listed, with at least one more in the planning stage.

“We would love to have some more hikes proposed,” said FPSW executive director Phil Hough. “I’m leading one the first Saturday in January, and there are lots of open dates yet for leaders to claim.

FSPW hikes run the gamut from low-impact, easy walks to “bring-a-note-from-your-doctor” travails, all led by competent, experienced volunteers who know how to have fun by getting out into the wild in winter.

“It’s a different kind of hiking experience,” Hough explained. “Winter in wild country is most often a quietly beautiful season, well worth the extra effort to get there.”

So, snowtime ain’t no time to sit indoors and be blue. FSPW’s hike series offers an annual way to fight SAD -- seasonal affective disorder -- by providing opportunities for people to get out and get going.

FSPW Program Coordinator Sandy Compton also noted, “Endorphins are a great, self-made medication against depression. Snowshoes and a bit of snow-covered terrain can help almost anyone produce endorphins.”

To sign up for an FSPW hike or propose to lead one, visit www.scotchmanpeaks.org/hiking

FSPW anniversary celebration

Another way to fight SAD is to get together and have fun with friends. FSPW’s 14th Anniversary party will be opportunity to do that: Sunday, January 13, 3 to 6 pm at the Pend Oreille Arts Council gallery on the Cedar Street Bridge in Sandpoint. Save the date. Details are on the FSPW website at www.scotchmanpeaks.org/events

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