Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Help Yourself to Sun Valley’s Medicine Cabinet
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It’s easy to self-isolate while snowshoeing around Sun Valley.
 
Sunday, March 22, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

The coronavirus and its mandatory isolation order may have put a crimp on a lot of the things we enjoy in Sun Valley from downhill skiing to lectures at the library.

But the one thing it hasn’t squelched is the opportunity to get outdoors.

Outdoors boasts nature’s medicine cabinet. A chance to recharge from all the grim news that keeps coming our way. And there may be no better place to enjoy winter wellness than Sun Valley, which is blessed with plenty of sunshine, light breezes and few extreme weather events.

And you don’t need to take the subway to get there. If you can’t get there by walking out your back door, you can get in your car and drive to a trailhead where you can get out, enjoy, and get back in and go home without ever having to touch a thing except the ground you’re walking on.

You can even wave at your friends from a distance.

Here are a few ways for Wood River Valley residents to nurture their health while enjoying the first days of spring in Sun Valley’s outdoor playground:

SKINNY SKI TO SKINNY:

It’s said nothing primes the pump like Nordic skiing. In fact, a study reported in the Journal of Applied Physiology shows that skiers have twice the cardiovascular and muscular fitness of non-skiers and their mortality rate is lower.

You can credit the fact that Nordic skiers get a full-body workout. Nordic skiers use their poles with nearly every stride. They often find themselves charging uphill, not just coasting down like downhill skiers. And, when it’s all said and done, they burn more calories than other sports--from 700 to 1,100 calories per hour according to some calculations.

All without the pavement-pounding impact of running.

Just ask Charley French who at 93 and three-quarters was out double poling around the tracks at Lake Creek on Saturday.

The Blaine County Recreation District has graciously made use of its Nordic trails and snowshoe trails free in face of the coronavirus. Those who would like to thank them for that effort can do so by leaving a donation in the trailhead fee boxes or visiting www.bcrd.org/donate.

While Galena Lodge is closed, trails are still being groomed for both classic and skate skiing from SNRA north of Ketchum to the trails around Galena Lodge. Quigley closed at the end of the day on Saturday and it looked on Saturday as if they’re getting ready to button up Lake Creek. But there’s still plenty of good skiing to be had.

And this week’s fresh snow didn’t hurt.

Dogs are welcome at the Durrance and North Fork loops behind SNRA and on the Harriman Trial between SNRA and Cathedral Pines. They’re also permitted on Titus Creek, North Wood River and Cabin Loop at Galena Lodge.

Please don’t walk or jog on the trails while they’re still being groomed.

GET YOUR VITAMIN D FIX WITH DOWNHILL

Yes, Sun Valley Resort cancelled lift-serviced downhill skiing as its part to help stymie the spread of coronavirus. But the resort is allowing skiers to skin up and ski the slopes on Bald and Dollar mountains.

It’s a great way to get your Vitamin D fix during winter, especially in places like sunny Sun Valley. And talk about mental health benefits—who can’t look out at the tops of white-capped mountains from the top of Bald Mountain and not feel grateful to be alive!?

Downhill skiing helps strengthen your quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings. It provides weight-bearing exercise that can help ward off osteoporosis. And it hones balance—something that can be particularly helpful for older adults.

SNOWSHOE ON A CUSHION OF SNOW

Snowshoeing can burn up to a thousand calories an hour, particularly if you’re dashing through fresh powder. It’s easy on the knees, with the snow acting as a cushion. And there’s no experience needed--if you can walk, you can snowshoe.

If you like, you can follow a 4-kilometer path that’s been stomped down by BCRD’s Nordic patrol near Billy’s Bridge 17 miles north of Ketchum. The 4-kilometer North Fork trail behind SNRA wanders along a beautiful creek festooned with mounds of snow. And Galena Lodge has 11 different snowshoe trails offering snowshoers a world of exploration and adventure.

Or, strike out on your own. Head uphill across the snow at Adam’s Gulch near Ketchum. Set out across the fields at Greenhorn Gulch. These popular trails take on an entirely different look in winter.

Just please don’t snowshoe on groomed Nordic trails.

PEDAL YOUR WAY TO FRESH AIR

What better way to exorcise the hangover from coronavirus news than to pedal as hard and fast as you can go?!

The Blaine County Recreation District plowed the Wood River Trail bike path a few weeks ago and there’s smooth sailing for bicycling from Bellevue to Hulen Meadows.

WALKING FOR HEALTH

Suck in the fresh air as you stroll or briskly walk along.

The walking paths along Sun Valley and Elkhorn roads are plowed during winter, meaning that you can  find a clear path to clear your head while walking. You can walk from Ketchum all the way out to Trail Creek Cabin on this path, soaking in the scenic wonder as you walk.

And the walking path along Elkhorn Road, which starts at the traffic light at Highway 75, forks at Morningstar Road, offering you a choice of two paths to follow to wind up at Dollar Mountain.

NATURE’S SPA

Take a relaxing soak in the Warfield Hot Springs, also known as Frenchman’s Gulch. The natural hot springs is located out Warm Springs Road 11 miles west of Ketchum—look for the left-hand bend in the road.

Just be sure to exercise social distancing, maintaining at least six feet apart from others.

BIRDS AND BUDS

The Wood River Chapter of the Idaho Native Plant Society announced on Thursday that it was canceling its Birds and Buds outing planned for Silver Creek Preserve on Saturday due to the increase number of cases of coronavirus in the Wood River Valley.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t get out and look for these signs of life yourself. Silver Creek Preserve is visited by more than 150 species of birds annually, boasting bald and golden eagles during winter and trumpeter swans and sandhill cranes during spring.

Look for evidence of early spring blooms on south-facing hillsides south of Bellevue.

REEL IN A BIG FISH STORY

Fortunately, Gov. Brad Little’s stay-in-place order hasn’t cancelled fishing. Wood River Valley residents have one week to hit the river—six feet apart—before fishing closes until Memorial Day.

And feel free to touch the fish—at last word, no fish have caught the COVID-19 virus.

TAKE THE NIGHT SKY TOUR

With no school lunches to pack, you have more time to look up and enjoy Sun Valley’s Dark Sky—part of the nation’s first Dark Sky Reserve. If you’re not familiar with Ursa Major, Leo, Cancer, Virgo and the other spring constellations, now’s the time to learn them.

Want some help? Start with such apps as SkyView.

SKIP THE PLAYGROUNDS

With all the great things to do in Sun Valley, the one thing you do want to avoid is the playground.

The virus can live up to three days on hard surfaces. Do you really want your kids’ paws on the same playground equipment dozens of other little grimy hands have been on? Especially now that Blaine County has had a confirmed case of someone under 20?

Think tricycles, nature walks and a game of kick the can for now. Or, take your young’un sledding on Lower River Run. Keep it all in the family, though. Best not to have play dates right now.


 

 

 

 

 

~  Today's Topics ~


Albertsons Employee Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Blaine County Students to Return to ‘School’ with a Fluid Plan

Whole Lot of Shaking Going on at Shake Creek
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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