On New Year’s Day, my family joined about 600 other people at Eno River State Park, near Durham, N.C., for an annual hike. We were blessed with good weather — it was about 50 degrees and overcast but mostly dry. A heavy rain prevented me from doing it last year, but I did it for the first time in 2012 with my son. This time I was joined by my husband, and our grown daughter and her boyfriend.
After checking in, participants waited for the event to start at 2:00. There were families with young children, leashed dogs, and people of all ages gathered at the picnic shelter.
We waited around for a bit, then the four of us decided to start ahead of the crowd so that we could go at our own pace rather than walk leisurely with the big group.
There were two options, two miles or five miles. We had intended to do the two miles. But we didn’t have a map, we had gone ahead of everyone so we didn’t have a leader, and the two routes were not differentiated on the trail, so we just kept following the paper arrows. Turned out we were on the five mile trail. We didn’t mind, though. It was a great walk and since it’s mostly flat (well, at least compared to the mountain trails we normally do) it was not a problem to finish. It took us about an hour and 15 minutes.
However, if I’d known I was going to walk five additional miles that day I wouldn’t have done my usual four miles in the morning. Nine miles in one day — I’m pretty sure that is a personal record! I took the next day off from my regular workout as a recovery day.
First Day Hikes have become a New Year’s tradition, and are offered in all North Carolina state parks. It is a growing trend among state parks nationwide. Have you participated in one, or would you like to? Please share in the comments!
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