It’s long been tradition to welcome the new year with an athletic feat: a bike ride, a run, a dip in the ocean or other suitable frigid body of water. The most popular way — in the populist sense — has been to welcome the new with a walk in the woods. And for the last several years, North Carolina’s State Parks have been helping you do exactly that, by participating in the nationwide First Day Hikes program.
When I first started writing about fitness and the outdoors back in the early 1990s, there were a handful of ways you could welcome the New Year in most communities. There was usually a 5K run, a bike shop sponsored a casual ride, canoe clubs held members-only paddles, there was a hike or two, and some oddball group was jumping into a local lake (and jumping right back out again). You had options for welcoming the new year, but not a lot.
For me — and thousands of others in North Carolina — it’s as much a New Year’s Day tradition as black-eye peas and college football: the New Year’s Day hike. Make it a tradition for yourself as well, whether it’s to shake out the cobwebs from ushering 2010 out the door or, on a more progressive note, to get your year off to a healthy start. A walk through the woods can’t help but put you in a good frame of mind for the year ahead.