New Year’s Day hike starts off year on healthful note

Cub Scouts take part in national New Year\'s Day effort First Day Hikes. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

Kathy Stewart, wtop.com

WASHINGTON — A new battle cry is ringing out across the county this New Year’s Day — go take a hike.

The battle cry is part of an effort by “First Day Hikes” to encourage people to begin the New Year on a healthy note. And although the effort began 20 years ago in Massachusetts, this is first year that all 50 states are taking part.

On Sunday morning, hikers at state parks nationwide hit the trails. At Mason Neck State Park in Lorton, about 50 hikers, including members of the Hayfield Farms Cub Scouts pack in Alexandria, enjoyed an hour long hike.

Frank Watkins was hiking with his son Logan, a cub scout.

“If not the region, the whole country is trying to do this. I think it’s great,” Watkins says. “It gets people together and gets kids out of the house.”

The weather could not have been more incredible for taking a hike on Jan. 1 — clear blues skies and warm temperatures.

“It’s way better than snowpocalypse,” Watkins says, referring to the region’s bad winter weather two years ago.

Ricardo Hoyos, a park naturalist, headed the hike. He says the hikers were treated to seeing two adult bald eagles, which are a popular sight at the park.

Jess Lowery, Mason Neck State Park manager, says that he is hoping this is one of many “First Day Hikes” at the park.

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