January 1, 2015 marked our best ever First Day Hikes in Virginia State Parks. It was maybe colder than previous years but the sun was shining and the enthusiasm really amazed me. I am still collecting the total figures on hikers for the day but did not want to hold up the announcement of the contest winners.
Grand Prize Winner by Donald Bowers. Taken at First Landing State Park
The Team Challenge was new this year but more than 300 teams signed up. This, at least was a random draw and the winners are, in order:
Two Girls and a Guy Who Walks Too Fast
Pupple the Great
Red Hot Chili Steppers
I also added two special awards. We had two teams that completed a Virginia State Parks Hat Trick (ok I am not a hockey fan but I know the term) or Threepeat if you prefer. Yes, they each visited and hiked in three parks on January 1.
That's All Fowlkes!
20 members of the Fowlkes Family hiked High Bridge Trail, Sailor's Creek and Twin Lakes
That's All Fowlkes! Team completed three parks
This three person team hikes at Southwest Virginia Museum, Wilderness Road and Natural Tunnel
You might notice that some folks had fun coming up with clever team names. I got a chuckle out of a lot of them. We will bring this contest back next year for sure.
As I sit here finalizing my picks for the winning photos (out of more than 600 entered), I am regretting my decision to pick the winners based on merit. It was hard and even with more prizes thrown in, I still wish I could give four times as many. So many cute kids, great poses and lovely scenery (even in winter) to decide on what it best, but I, alas, had to make the decisions.
Grand Prize Winner – Donald Bowers for best 3 picture set at First Landing
1st Place Winner – Ben Ramirez at Douthat
2nd Place Winner – Missy Rentz at Kiptopeke
3rd Place Winners (tie)
Dan Summitt at Kiptopeke
Victoria Dunbar at Westmoreland
Best portrayal of 2015 by Marissa Smith, taken at Fairy Stone
There were other photos of merit that I selected for special prizes as follows:
Best Selfie – Chad Shelton at Natural Tunnel
Youngest Photographer – Sebastian Cordisco, age 5, at Mason Neck
Best Branding – David Carryer at Lake Anna
Best Group Hiking Shot – Geoff Walsh at Claytor Lake
Best Caption – Rachel Greer at Fairy Stone
"We found a baby bear at Fairy Stone Park"
Best 2015 portrayal – Marissa Smith at Fairy Stone
Best Art Shot – Busy Bryant at Pocahontas
Here is a video of the winners