Hiking ranks right up there with running in my book. And when I say ranks right up there - I mean it in the sense that I'll never do it and think that it's fun! Actually, I can do a hike with a group of people and be a good sport about it. I guess that's the difference between the two - there will never be a day where you'll catch me running just to run. If you see me running it's because I'm playing a sport, I'm late for something, or somebody is chasing me!

I know, I know.......to each their own. Plenty of people enjoy hiking for fun, for exercise, or whatever other reason someone would want to huff & puff up the side of a mountain. So to those sick individuals (I kid, kind of) I offer up the details on Montana State Parks and their annual First Day Hikes. They'll happen at a bunch of different locations around the state, and country, on January 1st.

The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website has the details on participating parks in Montana. See the info below on the one that is closest to us.

Travelers’ Rest State Park – 10 a.m. to noon (Lolo/Missoula) The annual First Day Hike at Travelers' Rest State Park will be self-guided in 2021. On Jan. 1, stop by Travelers' Rest State Park between 10 a.m. and noon to take part in a self-guided walk along the main Lewis and Clark loop trail to discover winter animal adaptations. Along the way, interpretive signs will guide you and your family to look for special clues along the park trail. Take photographs of your family participating in the event and share one interesting thing you found along the park trails and email them to maci.macpherson@mt.gov.  For more information, please call 406-273-4253.

The FWP website suggest hikers wear weather-appropriate clothing, bring a water bottle, and bring appropriate of footwear for snowy or icy conditions. Participants are also urged to follow social distancing measures by staying 6 feet apart from others or wearing a mask or face covering if you can't keep an acceptable distance.

The Fish, Wildlife & Parks website also gives the history behind the event:
"First Day Hikes" is an annual, nationwide special event co-sponsored by America's State Parks, which originated more than 25 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation – a state park in Milton, Mass. Last year, more than 33,000 people participated on guided hikes that covered more than 70,500 miles on 1,100 hikes across the country. All 50 states will be participating in the ninth annual national event that encourages everyone to celebrate the New Year with guided outdoor exploration."

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