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Kick Off Your First Day with a Hike
Deanna Anderson | 12/29/2015
There is a belief that how you spend the first twelve days of the year predicts how you'll spend the next twelve months, so let...
There is a belief that how you spend the first twelve days of the year predicts how you'll spend the next twelve months, so let's all start the New Year off healthy and active with a hike on January 1st. Originating twenty years ago in Massachusetts at the Blue Hills Reservation, State Park 1st Day Hikes were designed to promote healthier lifestyles and bring awareness to state parks. Over the years, they've become part of a nationwide initiative led by America's State Parks to get people outdoors, according to the American Hiking Society. And, every year brings more participation with recent years seeing hikes in all fifty states.
In South Carolina, with over half of our state parks participating, there is no shortage of options. Hikers can spend the New Year in the mountains of the Upstate, our capital city, the wetlands of the Low Country, or anywhere in between. Many of the parks are offering other activities too. Among them are cold water plunges (Aiken, Paris Mountain, Hunting Island, Sadler's Creek, and Devil's Fork), a 5K Race (Devil's Fork) and mountain bike rides (Poinsett, Santee). Park volunteers and staff may be discussing topics such as outdoor or nature photography, wildlife, or park amenities and history. Hot chocolate and refreshments after the hike are also being offered at many locations.
The state parks are not the only ones getting involved in 1st Day Hikes either. The South Carolina Wildlife Federation (SCWF) will be hosting a 1st Day Hike at Camp Discovery in Blythewood. Participants will be led through meadows and woodland habitats by the Midlands Master Naturalist Association and learn about flora, fauna, and our natural heritage. Prior to the hike children will make their own trail mix and afterwards everyone will partake of deliciously warm hot chocolate. The hike is free but the SCWF does ask for a $10.00 cash or check donation.
All the hikes take place on January 1st but start times, difficulty levels, and age restrictions vary and park admission fees or registration may apply, so always call ahead to the location of your choice. Hikes are designed to encourage everyone to get out and get healthy, and they typically average one to three miles with easy to moderate difficulty levels. However, more difficult or strenuous hikes are also available such as a 7.2 mile hike at Table Rock.
Wear comfortable clothing appropriate for the weather and dress in layers. Choose durable hiking boots or tennis shoes with closed heels and toes. Also pack water, snacks, bug spray, sun screen, a small first aid kit, and a camera. For more information on hikes or activities at the state parks, visit the South Carolina State Parks website at southcarolinparks.com. To sign up for the Camp Discovery Hike, visit the South Carolina Wildlife Federation website or contact Sara Green, SCWF Director of Education at 803-609-4778 or email Sara. To learn more about 1st Day Hikes visit the American Hiking Society or the Americas's State Park website.
VIDEO: 17 Miles of Biking and Hiking at Croft State Park
Croft State Park overview from MoreView Media on Vimeo.
Croft State Park is a big park with lots to do. A green retreat in the...
Croft State Park is a big park with lots to do. A green retreat in the heart of Spartanburg County, the park offers more than 17 miles of biking and hiking trails, a playground, picnicking and camping, as well as fishing and boating in two lakes, including 165-acre Lake Craig. The diverse park was once an Army training base and covers beautiful, rolling, wooded terrain that also provides habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna just five miles from downtown Spartanburg. Check out the video below then make plans to visit Croft State Park soon!
Go Outside and Take Your Medicine
By Ned Barrett, Trails Coordinator for Partners for Active Living
I had the great fortune of getting to spend three weeks ba...
By Ned Barrett, Trails Coordinator for Partners for Active Living
I had the great fortune of getting to spend three weeks backpacking in Colorado this summer. I hiked several sections of the Colorado Trail through some of the most remarkable mountain landscapes in the world. Nine days alone in high mountains allowed me to gather some perspective and fed my soul. The simplicity of living on a backpacking trip reduces the definition of needs to a minimum and multiple days out allows for the comfort of routine to set in.
I won’t say that my trip was a once in a lifetime adventure, but I won’t get to do anything like it again for some time for sure. I am grateful to have had the opportunity afforded me by my colleagues and especially my wife, and I tried to make the most of it by having more fun than I should be allowed to have. I’ve already bored my friends and colleagues with photos and stories.
I have always had a need for outdoor adventure, and I feed it on a regular basis. I run at Croft State Park two or three times a week, and with the Pisgah National Forest, Jones Gap State Park, Table Rock, the Linville Gorge and other amazing places within a couple hours drive, there’s no shortage around here of places to get away for a morning or a day or two.
Here in Spartanburg we have many places nearby to make even daily adventures possible. Besides Croft State Park, we have the Cottonwood Trail, owned by the Spartanburg Area Conservancy (SPACE); several sections of the Palmetto Trail, our mountains-to-the-sea trail being developed by the Palmetto Conservation Foundation; the Wadsworth Trail on the westside; trails at Duncan Park, Glendale Shoals, along the Chinquapin Creek, and at the Milliken Research Center; many of the County parks have trails that allow for doses of nature. Even my two-mile bike commute to work gives me a microdose.
In some ways my sense of adventure is a matter of attitude as much as location. No matter how well you know an area, if you pay attention, you notice the little changes, like the rise and fall of the creek after a storm and the effects of the setting sun on the tree canopy.
Evidence is piling up—from the education, mental and physical health folks among others—of the value of being outside. Spending time in nature makes us healthier, happier and smarter. There is growing demand in Spartanburg and around the country for places for us to fill our prescriptions.
Partners for Active Living is proud to run at the front end of the field: we facilitated a shared use agreement between District 6 and District 7 Schools and the City of Spartanburg to open up schoolyards to their communities on weekends and in the summer. We coordinate new trail implementation to connect existing trails across the county. We work with schools to develop comprehensive wellness plans to effect health improvements in students, staff and families. We encourage getting outside through our bike-sharing and bike-lending programs, and promote healthy outdoor activity through events large and small.
Now go outside and take your medicine.
Ned Barrett is the Trails Coordinator at Partners for Active Living and works as a consultant to help other communities achieve their goals. To read more from Ted and to learn more about PAL, visit their site at www.active-living.org