Annual winter hike series kicks off on Jan. 5

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(Courtesy photo) The 2019 Friend of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness winter hikes include a snowshoe tramp to the Ross Creek Cedars.

SANDPOINT — Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness is continuing its successful winter hike program this year with five hikes listed and at least one more in the planning stage.

“We would love to have some more hikes proposed,” said FSPW 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.”

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.

Exercise, particularly outdoor exercise, is one of the recommended methods of combatting 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.”

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

The first snowshoe hike is scheduled for Jan. 5 on the Regal Creek Trail. To sign up for a hike or to propose leading one, visit scotchmanpeaks.org/hiking.

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