We received many encouraging stories from our First Day Hikers and compiled a few here "After the Hike." Then Susanna Cox wrote us and we knew you would have to read this!
2014 was a year of discovery
My daughter and I hiked at Grayson Highlands State Park for the very first time and began a journey that had us purchase an annual park pass so we could return for an additional 21 visits from Spring until late Fall. A recent cancer survivor, my health improved significantly as we walked, not just from the miles we logged but because the beauty of the parks revived my soul.
As fall transitioned to winter, the days were shorter and colder. We stopped visiting and I wondered if I would be as eager to start again when the warmer spring weather arrived. Then I happened to notice a post from VA State Parks in my Facebook feed
“36 Different Options for First Day Hikes January 1”
I had never heard of the First Day Hikes but once I read the article, I knew that we had to use this opportunity to start 2015 out on the right foot!
I challenged my daughter and my sister to join me as team SWVA Explorers, to visit and hike at three of our local state parks that we had not visited or been to in a while. Living in Southwest Virginia, we have so many incredible options within an hour’s drive. We normally visit Natural TunnelState Parks.
Despite the extremely chilly temperatures, we enjoyed a jaunt around Big Stone Gap and the SWVA Museum, a small hike around the historic buildings of the Indian Ridge hiking trail at Wilderness Road, and the rather steep hike from the visitor’s center to the mouth of the Natural Tunnel. Even though the normal amenities of the parks were not operating, we were able to see the opportunities for education and adventure that gave us a reason to start planning our return visits for spring.