Winter Hiking

Winter Hiking

If you’re like most outdoor enthusiasts, winter hiking usually doesn’t make it to the top of your list of activities. But according to a study from the University at Albany in New York, people who hiked in temperatures of 15 to 23 degrees burned 34 percent more calories than those who hiked in comfortable mid-50s weather. The reason?  In cold weather, your body burns extra energy just to keep your internal furnace roaring. While chances of 15-23 degrees on Whidbey Island are rare, that certainly doesn’t mitigate the chances of your burning more calories, and let’s face it, there are just too many good reasons to get outside and enjoy the views.

Another study by David Strayer, professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Utah, finds that ”the environment heavily influences the human mind we’re in," and "it’s not useful to become a slave to technology." Disconnecting from social media, cell phones, computers, and stress allows your prefrontal brain circuits, which are associated with creativity and higher-level thinking, to be restored.

Several years ago, Ebey’s National Historical Reserve opened Admiralty Inlet with 2.5 miles of trails that start along Engle Road. If you are staying at Camp Casey or our sister property, Ft. Casey Inn, just walk out straight from the Inn, take a left and the trailhead is easily accessed. As you approach the top of the hill on Engle, be sure to turn around for some stunning views towards the Coupeville Ferry Landing and Crocket Lake.

As you enter the trail, you’ll have a choice of two routes (see trail map at×11.pdf) .

Camano Land Trust describes this area as an “old-growth forest, rare prairie lands, birds, and stunning views of the beach.” And when they say “old-growth forest,” they aren’t kidding. The Douglas fir trees that twist and turn are estimated to be more than 250 years old; while the average age of the grand fir, western hemlock, Pacific yew, Sitka spruce, and red alder trees are more than 150 years old.

Add this fact to your reasons for hiking Admiralty Inlet Reserve: the preserve is home to two rare prairie remnants with a population of the golden paintbrush. Also described on the Trust’s website, “two of only a few sites in the world where this endangered prairie plant can be found.” 

For more information on the preserve: . And the “stunning views” described are just that with several stopping points along the way to look out over the water.

For some informative takes by bloggers, see the following links. But whatever you do, be sure to take advantage of the mild weather in the Pacific Northwest and take advantage of all the options for hiking around Camp Casey.