The idea that walking is good for you, not only physically but also mentally, has become so important in Japan that their government has endorsed it as a policy. They refer to it as “Shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing,” and it is the act of being in the forest and walking among the trees, which tends to reduce your stress levels.

You don’t actually have to walk among trees, just being in nature or different environments causes your brain to process the different sights, sounds, smells, etc.

It’s similar to what backpackers experience when they tell of hearing the coyotes and owls talking to each other in the night; to most it’s very fascinating.

And seeing a bear, well, that makes your brain go into overdrive. A good number of people are actually afraid of bears, but from what I have read there has never been an actual attack on a human in the state.

I have read that there have been times when a person has felt they were being attacked, when a bear puts on his “bluff-charge.” For the most part all you are going to see is the south end of a bear heading north, but even that is exciting to most. And lately there have been some elk sightings along the STS, so that adds even more adventure to your walks.

Last week I talked a little about the first STC Camporee held in 1971 at the Lewis Baker Campground. I should note that the Lew Baker Campground is on private property and not open to the public. Also there isn’t an actual campground there now, but plans are to resurrect it, but again for private use.

I don’t have all the locations where it has been held since then, but here are a few of the early ones: Patterson State Park, Prouty State Park, Ole Bull State Park, Parker Dam State Park and Cherry Springs State Park.

Attendances for those events ranged from 21 to 64 — our more recent ones attract 20-some to 30-some. These are not all campers but includes those who attend the Saturday evening dinner/meeting.

This is held in August so, hopefully by then, we will all be vaccinated and pronounced safe. But we still will need to pay attention to the science of it, as they say this virus won’t just be going away anytime soon.

Probably many in the state are shining up their cross-country skis or dusting off their snowshoes. I measured a foot of snow at my place this morning (Dec. 17) and it seemed to get deeper as you went east, with about 18 inches reported in the Galeton area, and 27 inches around Wellsboro.

But the prize goes to Binghamton, N.Y., with 40 inches. For sure the snowplows were in great demand today. I spent several hours just clearing my driveway and some around the house.

It seems too fluffy to be good skiing or snowshoeing now, but if it sticks around and settles into a good base, it will probably be much better. And with cold weather predicted, it may be here for some time.

Stay safe out there, and merry Christmas to all.

Bill Boyd is a member of the Susquehannock Trail Club. He can be reached at