A New Year’s Day Tradition
New Year’s Day marks the end of the holiday season. It is the perfect time to start reaping the benefits of nature to help us let go of that holiday stress and get back to the balance of life. That’s where First Day Hikes come in. What started as a local movement in Massachusetts in 1992 grew into a nationwide program in 2012. On New Year’s Day, State Parks in all 50 states offer free, guided hikes and walks within their park boundaries. The intention of these hikes is to provide a means for individuals and families to celebrate the New Year by getting outside and connecting with the nature and history of their area. According to America’s State Parks website, “People are invited to savor the beauty of the state 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.” You can use their interactive map to find a First Day Hike at a State Park near you.
Regardless of how you plan to hit the trails on New Year’s Day, check out these tips to help you have a successful First Day Hike:
Just like you would schedule a doctor’s appointment, schedule a hiking appointment with yourself to start the year off right. Whether you use your phone calendar to send you reminders or you prefer to write it down in a planner, inputting it into your calendar will help you stick to it.
Lower Your Expectations
Holiday burn-out is a real thing, and just getting out the door on the first day of the year is a huge win! Rather than aiming for high mileage, you can choose a “togetherness” goal, such as talking about your hopes for the new year or reflecting on the past year with your family.
Choose a Motivating Destination
Whether you choose a trail with a coffee shop nearby or a mountain peak you have been dying to reach, choose a location that speaks to you. One that will give you that extra incentive to get you out the door.
Go with a Group
You can make it a family outing, hike with your local Hike it Baby branch, or choose a first-day hike from this interactive map. Whichever you decide, going with a group helps to keep you accountable and less likely to cop out or forget about it in the holiday frenzy.
Dress for the Weather
You don’t want your family to be miserable on the trail by choosing the wrong clothing layers. Here is a guide you can consult to make sure your family is dressed for anything Mother Nature has in store. In addition, check out this in-depth guide on winter coats and jackets from L.L.Bean to make sure your outer layer is suitable for your current climate.
Check out these blog posts for additional inspiration:
About Hike it Baby
Hike it Baby is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to getting families outdoors and on trails across the U.S. and internationally, supporting, educating and inspiring families through their more than 300 communities across North America. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 in Portland, Oregon, Hike it Baby is now a growing community of 270,000 families and 500 volunteer branch ambassadors hosting more than 1,600 hikes per month. More information, as well as daily hike schedules, can be found at HikeitBaby.com, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Images courtesy of Stephanie Jacobson and Arika Bauer
American Hiking Society First Day Hikes, accessed 12/11/2019, https://americanhiking.org/first-day-hikes/