The holiday season is full of meaningful traditions, but there’s certainly room for one more: get outdoors and enjoy nature on New Year’s Day.
The first-ever First Day Hikes a year ago was a success in North Carolina state parks, with 1,392 hikers walking a combined 4,573 miles. We’re even more excited about the event for this year. There will be First Day Hikes led by rangers or volunteers in every one of our state parks and state recreation areas.
The state parks have always been open on New Year’s Day with many visitors discovering the sense of rejuvenation that a winter hike can bring (not to mention the sense that they might burn a few holiday calories). It has long been a poorly held secret at Eno River State Park. The Eno River Association began guiding Jan. 1 hikes more than 40 years ago, and last year’s event attracted more than 800 hikers.
There will be at least 40 guided hikes in North Carolina’s state parks, ranging from easy to challenging. At Falls Lake State Recreation area, a scavenger hunt will be part of a kid-friendly hike, and Hammocks Beach State Park plans an “Early Bird Hike” at 8:30 a.m. Hanging Rock State Park will present the “Five Overlooks Challenge, a 10-mile excursion across the park’s scenic peaks, while hikers at Weymouth Woods Historic Nature Preserve will visit the world’s oldest known longleaf pine.
Truly, here’s a hike for every taste and you can find details about them here. Traveling? The event is being staged in all 50 states by America’s State Parks and you can get details on more than 600 hikes throughout the nation here.
So, on New Year’s Day, along with watching the parades on TV, stirring the black-eyed peas and waiting for college bowl games, take a few minutes to get to a state park for fresh air and a fresh perspective on the New Year.