Monday, July 22, 2024

FSPW opens guided winter hikes season

| January 7, 2023 1:00 AM

Winter in the Scotchman Peaks area means a return of snow — lots of snow. And the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness is ready to take advantage of it.

FSPW staff and volunteers are once again leading snowshoe trips up the trails in the Scotchman Peaks in 2023. We have a variety of hikes posted on our website, from easier family friend hikes in the Ross Creek Cedars to challenging adventures on the flanks of Star Peak. Our volunteers have a wealth of information about the area’s history, flora and fauna and bring a sense of enthusiasm and wonderment to all of our guided snowshoe hikes. Check out the schedule at

“There is an often repeated saying, ‘Snowshoeing creates great memories. Memories that make for great stories,’” said Joel Thompson, FSPW program manager. “In my experience, that is definitely factual. I have climbed to the summit of many Cascade mountain peaks and have reveled in the joy of winter exploration on snowshoes. The sense of freedom, solitude and peacefulness is unmatched in this winter recreational activity.”

Have you ever wondered about the origins of winter travel on snowshoes? The “shoeski” was invented in 400 BC in Central Asia. It was a solid piece of wood with a crude binding used by the first people who migrated over the Bering Land Bridge into North America. The Athaspascan and Algonquin tribes perfected the laced frame snowshoe design, with modification made by other tribes depending on snow conditions in their areas.

This was the basic design until Gene and Bill Prater introduced the Sherpa snowshoe in 1972. An aluminum frame with neoprene decking and traction cleats, this is the general premise that modern snowshoes are still built around. Traction rails, lightweight crampons and adjustable bindings have made the snowshoe easier to manage for most people regardless of the conditions. In 2021, there were an estimated 3.18 million snowshoe participants in the United States alone.

This is the kind of knowledge that just deepens the experience of a wintertime outdoor trek, and it’s signature to FSPW guided hikes. Sign up for one or several of them online. If you don’t have snowshoes, that’s OK — we have some you can borrow. Just bring plenty of food, beverages, extra clothes and a sense of adventure. Our amazing volunteers will help you create some memories that you can turn into your own great stories.

Keep an eye on for more great hiking and volunteering opportunities.