New Year's Walk: First Day Hikes

Greet the next 365 days with some nature, sunshine, and big aspirations.

JANUARY 1 TRADITIONS: For a holiday that many people have off, January First is pretty chock full o' stuff, to-dos, happenings, and traditions. It's National Bloody Mary Day. There's a whole lot of football going down, and parades, too. Certain foods are consumed during the day, and particular errands and tasks undertaken. And, yep, the Christmas tree sometimes comes down, and, if we're ambitious, the lights lining the roof, too. But what if we chose, instead, to spend the first day of the year having a nature moment? Not just in our own yard or with the trees on our street, but out in a state park, or at a beach, or in the big trees? Many people forgo all the other shoulds and musts swirling about the holiday and opt to go on a First Day Hike, a stride-and-breathe-and-think-and-bask-in-the-sun event that takes to dirt paths and sandy bluffs and twisty roads around the country.

FINDING YOUR FIRST DAY HIKE: Nearly three dozen California State Parks'll see some forty First Day Hikes take to the trails on Wednesday, Jan. 1. Red Rock Canyon State Park in Kern County is the scene for a "vigorous" nine-mile hike, while an easier two-mile rounder'll toodle at Asilomar State Beach in Monterey County. And the hike, in some places, isn't even a hike. A First Day Paddle is set for Humboldt Lagoons State Park, but note: You'll want to show with your kayak.

EVEN IF... you can't commune with other hikers -- and paddlers -- at the forty-some First Day Hikes, you absolutely can take your own stroll in nature come Jan. 1. Football and appetizers and Bloody Marys will wait, and still be there, once you're back home and kicking your boots off, but a gorgeous New Year's Day out in the fresh air is a fleeting and beautiful thing.

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