There are two kinds of snow people: those who pray for mountains of white fluffy flakes every night and those who pray for the snow to stay far, far away.
No matter in which camp you fall it’s easy to get tired of what I’ve come to think of as December gray: Murky days when gray skies hang so low it feels like you can touch them – not raining, not snowing, just being gray.
It may be difficult to get motivated to go outside on those days, but especially during these COVID shutdown times even 30 minutes of fresh air can do wonders for your mood and stamina. Countless studies show a strong correlation between what psychologists call “vitality” and time spent outside and in nature.
If you need a little motivation, try organizing a parking lot meetup with some friends. Meet up close to a trail – like in the newly renovated parking area by the Sandifur Bridge (Peoples’ Park) and take a little walk by the river before you whip out the camping chairs and snacks. Remember to wear masks and stay socially distanced – each household brings its own snacks – and you can enjoy a fun and COVID safe outing.
For the little more adventurous, maybe this is the year to finally try snowshoeing? It doesn’t require much equipment and you can go as quick or a slow as your fitness level allows. Most any trail you hike in the summer you can snowshoe in the winter. Perhaps try the newly opened Dishman Hills Phillips Creek Trail – the trailhead is at 4102 S. Sunderland Drive, Spokane Valley.
Dressing for snowshoeing is pretty simple: wear layers and avoid cotton. From the inside out, wear first a thermal base-layer, followed by winter jogging pants and a fleece top. Remember, you will be walking so your body will generate heat once you get going. If it’s drizzly, wear your rain jacket and pants as your very outer layer to stay dry and to protect you from wind. Don’t forget a warm hat and gloves, as well as waterproof boots, and you are ready to go. Carry a small but well-fitting backpack for extra clothing, water and snacks.
Spokane Parks and Recreation offers group outings or privately guided family snowshoe tours for $40 a person – including gear rental and instruction. See the full schedule.
If you don’t need a guide you can rent snowshoes at REI.
Spokane Valley-based Fitness Fanatics offers snowshoe rentals both at their 12425 E Trent Avenue location and on Mount Spokane – check availability.
Have fun and be safe!