2014 is almost a memory and soon 2015 will be here. As with each new year, many people will look at their life, take stock of everything and decide what changes need to be made in their life. According to Statisticbrain.com 45% of Americans will regularly make New Year’s resolutions. Some of the top ten resolutions for 2014 were:
- Lose Weight
- Enjoy Life to the Fullest
- Staying Fit and Healthy
- Spend More Time with Family
One step to accomplish these or similar resolutions would be to ring in the New Year with a First Day Hike. A first day hike is a hike on January First which promotes getting outdoors even in the winter. Hiking or walking is a great way to get exercise which will help with those resolutions to lose weight or staying fit or healthy. These hikes tend to be easy hikes which are good for the entire family, so they also promote family togetherness. And what is living life more fully, planting yourself in front of the TV or getting out and exploring nature on the trail?
One great start would be with our local State Parks. Several parks within 2 hours of Johnstown are offering First Day Hikes this year. The weather for New Year’s Day is expected to be sunny with a high about 28. There are some stiff winds predicted for the morning with winds between 20 and 30 mph. So if you go, bundle up. Dress in layers so that you can remove a layer or two if you get hot. Also wear good sturdy, warm hiking shoes or boots with clean dry socks. Don’t forget a hat and gloves and provide protection for your face. You can find a more detailed idea of dressing for winter outdoor recreation activities in my previous article, Dress properly for more fun winter outdoor recreation in Johnstown. Don’t forget to take water along as you can still become dehydrated in the winter.
Prince Gallitzin State Park near Patton is the location if you are looking for a morning hike. The hike will begin at 9:00 a.m. at the Point Trailhead off of Beaver Valley Road. The hike is one mile long along the easy hiking Deer and Forest Trails and is expected to last about an hour. This is the park’s first First Day Hike.
If you prefer to wait until the afternoon, then try Canoe Creek State Park near Hollidaysburg. Their First Day Hike will begin at the Wentz Education Center at 2:00 p.m. The route and length was not advertised but the hike should be over by 3:30 p.m. Come out early for some hot beverages before the hike provided by the Friends’ of Canoe Creek State Park. During the hike you will also learn about animal adaptations for the winter.
Another option for a First Day Hike is Black Moshannon State Park near Phillipsburg. The First Day Hike at Black Moshannon will begin at 1:00 p.m. at Boat Launch #4. During the 2 mile hike along mostly easy terrain, you will learn more about the park. Participants with dogs are encouraged to bring them along to participate too.
One other First Day Hike will be held at Bald Eagle State Park near Howard. The First Day Hike at Bald Eagle will meet at the Environmental Learning Center at 2:00 p.m. to drive to the trailhead for the hike. The hike is expected to last about an hour.
If you would like to get a jump on the New Year, then try a non-traditional way to ring in the New Year at Ohiopyle State Park. Join the park for a Last Night Hike beginning at the Sugarloaf Warming Hut at 11:00 p.m. This hike requires pre-registration which can be done by calling 724-329-0986 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other parks throughout the state are holding their own First Day Hikes. You can find these by visiting the DCNR Calendar of Events on the web.
So get outdoors Johnstown to start 2015 the right way. Even if you don’t join one of these guided hikes, try your own hike on Thursday. See you on the trails!