The way was clearly marked from the parking lot.
Twenty-five years ago, we were told, the original “First Day Hike” was held at Blue Hills Reservation in Massachusetts with approximately 325 hikers turning out, and as of January 1, 2016, these hikes have been held in all 50 states. The DCR workers were proud to have originated this healthy way to start the new year, and by the end of the day, I felt the same. What a great time it was.
I got there just before noon, and incorrectly assuming there would be no spaces at the main parking lot, I went directly to the “additional” parking. I was glad I did because as I walked to the main buildings I caught these young men doing their version of the “L-Street Brownies” with New Years’ dip in Houghton Pond. Those of us watching in our bundled up clothes laughed, smiled and shook our heads; it was 40 degrees.
A chilly dip in Houghton’s Pond.
When I got to the visitor’s center area, I saw people warming themselves by the bonfire and went in search of the “free soup” that was promised. They were still getting it ready, but I found my friend Jenna, who was volunteering for the day. She lent me $5.00 to buy one of the “First Day Hike” hats. I received a free poster for the event and a map. Hmm…I didn’t want to carry them on the hike, so I went back to my car; I had time because the actual hikes did not start until 1:00 pm.
Fire Day Hike souvenirs
Walking back to my car, I saw this lovely lady dressed for the occasion. She happily provided me with a photo.
Dressed for a holiday hike?
Back at the visitor’s center, I got in line for my soup, and snapped this photo of Jenna handing some out.
Jenna handing out free soup.
After eating that I wandered around looking at the sights and snapping photos.
Rangers on Horses.
A representative from the Trailside museum was there giving a talk about this beautiful owl!
A representative of the Trailside Museum introduces people to a beautiful owl.
People were at the bonfire getting their pictures taken…I asked someone to take mine.
A souvenir picture
Warming up at the bonfire
Just before hike time, there was a brief program with a brief history of the event and an awards presentation to the man who came up with the original idea. There were certainly more than 325 people there today!
Crowd gathered for the presentation
After the presentation, we broke off to do our chosen hikes. There were four hikes set up of different levels and distances, each led by a ranger. I chose the longest and most difficult, the Buck Hill hike. There were over 100 hikers that made the same choice!
Our group on the trail.
It was a bit slow because there were so many people, but we all found our pace and strung out along the trail. And this was the wonderful view at the top!
View from the top of Buck’s Hill
When we returned from our hike, there were very few people; most had come back from their hikes long ago and gone home. But I did see a few girls toasting marshmallows on what was left of the bonfire.
It was a great time. I can’t wait to do it again next year.
Toasting marshmallows on what was left of the bonfire.