Sun Lakes Hiking Club embraces Shinrin-Yoku

Roberta Arpan

Shinrin-Yoku, a term minted by Japanese researchers, translates loosely into “nature bathing.” This tidbit was included with findings about the therapeutic effects of being in nature that appear in a TIME magazine article written by Alexandra Sifferlin (“The Healing Power of Nature,” July 25, 2016). It is beyond the scope of this Splash article to include all of the benefits discovered by researchers in various parts of the world but here are a few of their findings. Being in nature has shown to lower blood pressure, promote a type of white blood cells that contribute to a wide variety of health advantages, help with depression and anxiety, and it may even increase attention span and short-term memory. These are all good reasons to begin or continue a steady diet of hiking.

The scheduled hikes for December are listed below. For a more complete and up-to-date description, visit the club’s website at Carpools meet at the Cottonwood parking lot east of the tennis courts at 7:45 a.m. for an 8:00 a.m. departure. New hikers must contact the hike leader at least a day prior to the hike and must successfully complete two hikes at the Mellow or Moderate level before submitting an application for membership.

Monday hikes:

December 5 (Mellow) – Brown’s Ranch Trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve North. Leaders Kandi Skrabala 612-3372 and Sherrie Conner 236-6818.

December 5 (Moderate) – Peralta Trail to Geronimo Cave in the Superstition Wilderness. Leaders Stu Frost 883-8539 and Greg Jewell 282-0061.

December 5 (Motivated) – Alta and Bajada Loop with optional in and out to summit of Maricopa Peak in South Mountain Park. Leaders James and Krissa Bolton 802-989-5922.

December 12 (Mellow) – Fraesfield Trailhead in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve North. Leaders Dick and Linda Metz 339-0313.

December 12 (Moderate) – Indian Mesa at Lake Pleasant Regional Park. Leader Greg Jewell 282-0061.

December 12 (Motivated) – Watson Lake Loop/Point of Rocks near Prescott. Leader Bud Tasch 802-2836.

December 19 (Mellow) – San Tan and Hedgehog Trails in San Tan Regional Park. Leader Ron Konopoka 313-402-8462.

December 19 (Moderate) – TBA. Leader Greg Jewell 282-0061.

December 19 (Motivated) – Lost Mine/Pyramid Loop in South Mountain Park. Leader Cheryl Verlander 883-2766.

December 26 (Mellow) – Dynamite Trail in San Tan Regional Park. Leader Ron Konopoka 313-402-8462.

December 26 (Moderate) – Hieroglyphics Canyon and Goldmine Loop in the Superstition Mountains. Leader Greg Jewell 282-0061.

December 26 (Motivated) – Bluff Springs Loop from Peralta Trailhead in the Superstition Mountains. Leader Marilyn Harkins 883-7173.

Wednesday hikes (all Moderate):

December 7 – Boulder Canyon in the Superstition Mountains. Leader Kathy Ivesdal 688-7183.

December 14 – Tortilla Flats in the Superstition Wilderness. Leader Gene Smestad 339-0216.

December 21 – Oakwood Paths and annual Holiday Brunch. Hosts Dennis and Marilyn Harkins 883-7173.

December 28 – Marcus Landslide in McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Leader Jim Reid [email protected]

The return of the R5: Rugged Ridge Resolution Rock Ramble is scheduled for December 31. Participants will have their choice of a moderate or motivated hike during which they will be able to write their New Year’s Resolution on a piece of paper and pass it through a special opening in the rocks. Dennis and Marilyn Harkins (883-7173) will lead this annual event.

Treasurer Mike Foerster would like to remind club members that dues for the 2017 calendar year will be $10 per member, as approved at the April 1, 2016 meeting. Dues can be paid at monthly club meetings or at club social events; dues may also be paid by mailing cash or a check (payable to Sun Lakes Hiking Club) to Treasurer Mike Foerster, 24650 S. Ribbonwood Drive, Sun Lakes, AZ 85248. Dues must be paid to the Treasurer no later than February 28, 2017.

Plan to attend the SLHC monthly meeting on Friday, December 2 in the Phoenix Room at Cottonwood at 3:30 p.m. For more information about the SLHC, visit the club’s website listed above or contact club President Cheryl Verlander  at 883-2766.