It is officially the last day of 2012. Have you made your New Year’s resolution yet? Does it involve a healthier lifestyle or losing weight? Does it involve getting outdoors more? Or are you looking for a resolution? Well try a First Day Hike.
The First Day Hike is an opportunity to help you keep some of those New Year’s resolutions. Hiking is good exercise that will help keep you fit and can help you lose weight. The First Day Hike occurs on the first day of the new year and provides you with an excellent chance to reconnect with the outdoors. The First Day Hike is being promoted by America’s State Parks alliance as part of an effort of the National Association of State Park Directors. Last year over 14,000 hikers turned out for First Day Hikes across America according to Priscilla Geigis, president of the National Association of State Park Directors
For 2013 there are over 650 First Day Hikes at state parks in all 50 states. And that includes our very own Pennsylvania State Park system. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard Allan said, “We are excited to join in hosting these hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our parks. For the second consecutive year, First Day Hikes offer a great cure for cabin fever and a chance to burn off those extra holiday calories.” For January 1, 2012, over There are four Johnstown area state parks that are holding First Day Hikes. This year, Mother Nature has provided a beautifying blanket of snow across the Johnstown area and the state to enhance the experience.
Keystone State Park in Westmoreland County is offering the Resolutions Ramble from 2:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. Along the way you will learn about funny and common resolutions and learn about resolutions of some of the famous. Keep an eye out for wildlife in the park. This hike will be about one and a half miles along easy trails and begins at the Park Visitor Center. They do request that you register by calling the park at 724-668-2566 or by emailing Pam McQuistian at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keystone State Park is located about 55 minutes west of Johnstown in Derry, PA.
Canoe Creek State Park is also offering a First Day Hike from 2:00 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. Join the park naturalist for an easy hike through the fields and woods of the park and learn about what you see along the way. The hike at Canoe Creek will be about one and a half miles and will leave from the Wentz Education Center. Registration for this hike is not required. Canoe Creek State Park is located near Hollidaysburg just off of US-22 about an hour east of Johnstown
Ohiopyle State Park located about an hour and thirty minutes southwest of Johnstown will be offering a First Day Hike from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. The park has planned a hike of 2 to 3 miles over easy to moderate terrain. To add a sense of adventure, they are planning to hike with snowshoes if sufficient snow is available (I believe that they should have plenty for the hike). There is no registration required for the hike at Ohiopyle State Park. This hike begins at the Meadow Run Slides Parking Lot.
Bald Eagle State Park in Centre County will be having a First Day Hike from 1:00 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. The hike will be about 2 miles over easy terrain. During the hike participants will also be participating in one of America’s oldest wildlife counts, the Christmas Bird Count. No registration is required and the hike will begin at the Environmental Learning Center. Come out a little early and join them for the Christmas Bird Count Open House at noon. Bald Eagle State Park is located about 2 hours northeast of Johnstown north of I-80 in Howard, PA.
If you go to any of these hikes, dress for the weather. Wear warm clothes, but dress in layers and carry a backpack to put extra clothing in. Dressing in layers, allows you to remove layers of clothing as you hike and warm up. Also wear a hat and gloves. Wear sturdy, comfortable hiking boots that are water proof for the snow. Bring a change of clothes for your drive back home in case you should get wet.
So come on out Johnstown to one of the First Day Hikes at our Pennsylvania State Parks. Take that first step in keeping that New Year’s resolution or just start a new family tradition. Call ahead to check on possible cancellations in the event of severe weather.