I heard a quote somewhere that basically said that however you start the year is an indication of how your year will go. I have no idea where I heard that, or who said it, but I like it and for the past few years we've tried to take that to heart and spend January 1st doing something that we hope we'll get to continue doing all year long. For us that means something outdoors, even though the weather in Central NY doesn't always agree with us. For the past 2 years we've participated in the NYS Parks First Day hike at Taughannock Falls (last year we missed the official guided hike, but this year we made it on time!)
We do this because we love our parks and we hope that we will be able to spend as much time as possible exploring not only our state parks, but the National Park System as well. Last year I had the chance to live and work in the Adirondacks for the summer and this summer, if all goes according to plan, we will be embarking on a road trip of epic proportions, and hitting up 17 National Parks. In other words- we want to continue enjoying the outdoors and the parks year round, so it made perfect sense that we join in on the First Day Hike initiatives.
The American Hiking Society has a great description of the First Day Hikes Initiative over on their website:
First Day Hikes are part of a nationwide initiative led by America's State Parks to encourage people to get outdoors. On New Year's Day, hundreds of free, guided hikes will be organized in all 50 states. Kids and adults across America will be participating in First Day Hikes, getting their hearts pumping and enjoying the beauty of a state park. Last year nearly 28,000 people rang in the New Year, collectively hiking over 66,000 miles throughout the country.
First Day Hikes are led by knowledgeable state park staff and volunteers. The distance and rigor vary from park to park, but all hikes aim to create a fun experience for the whole family. People are invited to savor the beauty of the states park's natural resources with the comfort of an experienced guide so they may be inspired to take advantage of these local treasures throughout the year.
We visit the State Parks quite a bit already, so for us it was more about supporting the park system and its great initiative!
The New York State Parks System had several options for us to pic from this year, but as the weather took a turn, many events were cancelled or postponed. Luckily, one of our favorite spots to hike, Taughannock Falls was still hosting their event, so we bundled up and headed down. It was a great time. The event was run really well, with snacks at the start and with fire pits set up along the trail so you could stop and warm up as you hiked. At the falls we took a huge group picture and they did some raffles for Parks Passes and other outdoorsy stuff. Overall it was a really fun time and I'm glad we bundled up and enjoyed the day outside!