Start doing some hiking before the weather gets nasty. As we are all aware, Pullman gets its fair share of snow in the winter, so now is the time to get out and enjoy the fall. At WSU, we are centrally located amidst great outdoor activities. Not only are these locations beautiful for sight-seeing and animal watching, they are also a great way to enhance mental, physical, and emotional health.
Just recently I went out and hiked Boyer Park Bluffs and Kamiak Butte County Park. Each provides a unique experience. Boyer Park Bluffs is about a 40 minute drive west of Pullman nestled on the eastern bank of the Snake River. The trail is roughly two miles out and two miles back and hugs the shoreline all the way to the Lower Granite Dam. While this trail is paved and not very strenuous, the views along the bank of the river are breathtaking. This park also has a vast area for cross-country hiking just inland across Lower Granite Road. Taking a hike either along the trail or in the wilderness is a great way to get some exercise, clear your mind, and improve your health.
Last weekend a friend and I hiked Kamiak Butte County Park’s 3.5 mile Pine Ridge Trail. Found about 20 minutes due north of Pullman off Highway 27 (Palouse Highway), this park offers one of the most amazing panoramic views of the Palouse area, even Pullman can be seen from the very top. Depending on whether you prefer a tough ascend or tough descend will determine which way to go at the trail fork. The path to the right is a much short route to the top, but has a greater degree of incline. If a more leisurely ascent is your style, stay to the left and switchback nice and easy up to the top. Either way is a great way to increase your heart rate, take in a picturesque view, and leave the stress behind.
While I have not been there yet, heading into Idaho we have Moscow Mountain. This area offers a handful of interwoven trails for some great hiking which I plan to visit very soon. Each of these locations is fun, close, and offer different terrain and enjoyment.
In addition to the enjoyment hiking offers, it also provides many health benefits. Hiking improves mental health by releasing endorphins which help with depression, anxiety, blood pressure, and tension. While everyone on campus may not experience all of these conditions, many of us experience a few of them from time to time and hiking can help reduce their effect on our bodies. Additionally, hiking and regular moderate exercise can increase our body’s defenses against the cold and flu bugs, a common problem this time of year. With these and other health benefits, it’s hard to not want to get out and experience all the outdoors has to offer right here in our area. So take my word for it, Get Out and Go Hiking!