Go Take a Hike – It’s Good for You!
Posted September 20, 2021 in Special Features
Mornings are crisp, nature’s palette is changing, and fall is in the air – it officially arrives on September 22, 2021. It’s a great time of the year to go hiking, too. Fall spurs adventurous people to don boots and backpacks, ready to exercise their bodies and soak up the views.
Getting out in nature makes us feel good, and there is data to back it. A 2015 study published by the National Academy of Sciences finds that spending time outdoors significantly affects our prefrontal cortex where most negative thoughts process. Hiking especially helps quiet our negative ruminations.
Participants in the 2015 study left their electronics behind as they backpacked through nature – basically unplugged and tuned in (to nature.) Not surprisingly, a long hike without a cell phone can reduce mental fatigue, soothe our minds, and increase creative thinking. While we agree with the tech-free advice, we also think it’s important to tuck away a cellphone in your pack for emergencies.
Hiking burns calories (400-700 an hour), builds muscles and increases bone density. Your body and mind get into shape while nature works its quiet magic. Once you invest in suitable shoes and a day pack for emergency provisions, it’s free. About the only cost might be a Discovery Pass in Washington or a parking pass.
There are many trails in our area for hikers to choose from, and because of our close proximity to the Columbia River Gorge, there are some pretty rigorous hikes for those in good shape. However, you can also find trails for nearly everyone in Southwest Washington, including many with wheelchair access. Here’s a list of hikes in the Clark County Washington Parks system:
- Bells Mountain
- Captain William Clark Park at Cottonwood Beach
- Chelatchie Prairie Rail with Trail
- Cougar Creek
- Frenchman’s Bar Regional Park
- La Center Bottoms
- Lacamas Regional Park
- Lucia Falls Regional Park
- Moulton Falls Regional Park
- Salmon Creek Regional Park/Klineline
- Whipple Creek Regional Park
So, get outside for a hike and enjoy the Fall!