First Day Hikes: New Year's Day Fun

Take a lung-filler of a breath and get moving on the first of January.

FROM RAZZMATAZZ TO REFLECTION: No one is going to let the air out of the big, bright balloon that is New Year's Eve. Not every occasion goes so fully for opulence, and not every party embraces panache, but the last day of the year proudly embraces both. Whether that means indulging in top-shelf bubbly or a pair of shimmery shoes or a once-a-year dessert or all of the above (let's vote "all of the above," for New Year's Eve is about as "all of the above" as holidays come), revelers do it up, big time. But after the razzmatazz ends, and the last balloon has gently bounced upon the dance floor, it is time for the other major "R" of the new year, reflection. This might mean the making of resolutions, or the setting of intentions, if you prefer, but some nature, some quiet, and a little bit of sweat are part of this let's-get-the-new-year-going magic. Tempted? Say hello to the...

FIRST DAY HIKES, an annual New Year's Day tradition that's about pairing people with the world beyond the dance club, ballroom, and restaurant where they may have rung in midnight the evening before. The goal is simple: Find and join a "guided outdoor exploration" in a state park, one that will include some exercise, some fresh air, and, fingers crossed, some time to ponder the 365 days to come. The programs cost nothing to join, and the fact that some 55,000 people jumped into this nature-nice, joy-having happening at the beginning of 2016 should help coax first-timers deciding on their first First Day Hike. You'll want to find a park that's hosting one, and get the details, before lining up your boots, walking stick, hat, and water by the front door. Enjoy Dec. 31, and the bubbly and oysters and bands, but save a thought for the following day, and all of that aforementioned fresh air (and the fresh outlooks) you'll be savoring.

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