First Day Hikes

Hikers make their way along the Choate Mine trail as dawn just breaks over the horizon on New Year's Day 2017
Ah, yes. The weather outside might be frightful, but the National Park Service has called upon the citizens of this fair land to get off their respective couches and out into the crisp, winter air at parks all across the country on the first day of each new year, in order that we might see (and better appreciate) what a truly beautiful country we live in. To that end, SDCI board member and volunteer ranger Mark Jennys organized a "First Day Hike" at our own beloved natural environment area, Soldiers Delight.

Unlike many New Year's days, this January First was forecast to be sunny and relatively mild. This was fortunate for Mark, since he chose to lead a "sunrise hike" beginning at the Soldiers Delight overlook at just the break of dawn. To Mark's great delight, he had quite a good turnout for his 7:15 a.m. hike, including families, couples and even the Maryland Department of Natural Resource's assistant superintendent, Lt. Col. Christopher C. Bushman, who took this photograph.

Later in the day, hikes were led at national, state and regional parks all across Maryland, including another at Soldiers Delight NEA in the afternoon. More than one hundred people attended the afternoon hike at Soldiers Delight, all wishing to start the new year off on a healthy, energetic foot, no doubt!  Ranger Jamie Petrucci and several Patapsco Valley State Park staff members, including volunteer Mark Jennys, strung the hikers out in a long, narrow band along the trail in an effort to minimize the detrimental impact of so many people traversing the fragile ecosystem at one time.

Volunteer Ranger and SDCI board member Mark Jennys snapped this photo of 129 people embarking on an afternoon First Day hike at Soldiers Delight

SDCI vice president Lynell Tobler also hiked on New Year's Day, traversing the McKeldin Rapids Trail at another of Patapsco Valley State Park's wilderness areas.  What a great way to start a healthy new year, by drinking in the breathtaking vistas provided by our nation's scenic natural places and burning a few holiday calories at the same time!firstdayhikeatmckeldin,01-01-17.jpg

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