Hiking in the new year

It wasn’t too cold to start the year outdoors.

Six people came out for the First Day Hike held at Dolliver Memorial State Park Wednesday afternoon, where Naturalist Erin Ford led them on an hourlong trek down the Copperas Bed trail.

Hikers all across America were doing the same thing, through America’s State Parks First Day Hike program, Ford said.

“Supposedly the thing you do on the first day affects what you continue to do,” she explained. “Hopefully if you spend it out exercising, out in nature, you’ll keep that up throughout the year.”

This is the third year Webster County has had a hike, Ford said. It was held last year at Brushy Creek Recreational Area, and the year before at Dolliver. This was as cold as it’s ever been.

“The first year there was no snow,” she said. “The second year there was snow, but it wasn’t very cold.”

Tim Reece, of Boone, and his family don’t mind the cold, and have come every year to the hike.

His son Kenton Reece, 17, noted how much easier it was to hike through the snow without a gun.

“Me and my sister deer hunt, so this is normal,” he said, as he held the leash on one of the family’s two dogs.

The hikers kept their eyes open for wildlife. Deer were here and there throughout the hike, even running by a slope near the parking lot. Hikers also saw eagles, hawks and woodpeckers, plus lots of animal tracks.

“I should have brought my bird book,” said Helen Meehan.

Meehan enjoyed the hike, though this may not be her favorite weather.

“It’s pretty here in the spring, when the flowers are blooming,” she said, as she came down one of the slopes.

She’d also dressed well for the weather, with some new gloves.

“I’m not too bad actually,” Meehan said. “The temperature was 5 degrees when I left home.”

Keith Gelder, of Kamrar, found out about the new year’s hike for the first time this year. He came prepared, with some wool pants and long johns underneath.

“I like hiking. Summer or winter,” he said. “Especially in the winter, there’s nobody else around.”