Starting the New Year with a First Day Hike

DENNISON TOWNSHIP -- State parks around the country hosted the annual First Day Hike.

Despite the frigid temperatures, a group of hikers braved the cold Monday morning at Nescopeck State Park in Luzerne County.

"First Day Hike is a national program. This is going on in state parks across the entire nation," explained John Jakoby, conservation volunteer for state parks.

The initiative is hosted by America's State Parks and aims to help people welcome the coming year by exercising outdoors and connecting with nature.

"Just to get everybody out and in the fresh air and get to be healthy for the start of the new year," added Jakoby.

According to theĀ America's State Parks website, last year nearly 55,000 people rang in the new year, collectively hiking over 133,000 miles throughout the country on these guided hikes.

"My sister and I did this last year, and we decided to do it again this year. It's a great way to start off the new year. It's a good way to feel good about yourself, and it's a beautiful day to be outside," said Cecelia Chmiola of Mountain Top.

If you're planning a winter hike, the American Hiking Society has a few suggestions on its website. Dress in layers, wear a hat, keep your water bottle warm, and don't forget your sunscreen.

"On a day like this, sunscreen is kind of important," Jakoby said.

The trail guide told Newswatch 16 that the sun can still burn you in these cold temperatures, especially when reflecting off the snow.

One hiker had some clothing advice.

"There's no such thing as bad weather. There's only bad clothing. Remember, do not wear cotton. Cotton keeps you cold. Wool keeps you warm," said Jan Lokuta of Milford.

If you want to learn more about winter hiking opportunities in our area, click here.