For many people, New Year’s Day is time to start on a resolution, or embrace some superstition or tradition. Black-eyed peas, anyone?
For me, it’s a chance to take a hike. After whatever occurred, or didn’t occur, the big night before, a brisk walk on the first day of the year feels right. And unlike most of the country, it usually can be done in fairly moderate weather rather than in frigid conditions.
The last few years, I’ve sprinkled my New Year’s hikes around the area. My pick is to take a coastal getaway, do all or part of the Steep Ravine and Matt Davis trails that are part of Mount Tamalpais. You can park at Stinson Beach, do a wide circle up and into the hillside and return on the Dipsea Trail to the beach for a beautiful sunset and toast to the end of a terrific day.
I’m clearly not the only one who’s out for a walk. Not many early-bird risers are out, but by midday you’ll have company on whatever trail you’re trekking.
In fact, there’s an official First Day Hike movement that promotes hiking on New Year’s Day. It started 20 years ago in the town of Milton, Mass., and has since spread. The goal is to encourage outdoor recreation and healthy living, at least on the first day of the year.
Two state parks in Sonoma County are participating by sponsoring hikes that day.
Meet at 11 a.m. at the Visitor Center at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve in Guerneville for either a 0.8 mile or a 2-mile hike. Dogs and bikes aren’t allowed, but children over 6 are encouraged to attend with their families.
Or, for a more rugged setting, Sonoma Coast State Park is the site of a 1 p.m. moderately difficult hike. Meet at Goat Rock Beach parking lot at the end of Goat Rock Road
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and walk on the beach to the mouth of the Russian River, where education will ensue, thanks to some dedicated volunteers.
Across the state, 25 different hikes are planned at 20 state parks. Other Bay Area parks participating include Mendocino Highlands,
Fort Ross, Angel Island and Big Basin.
First Day Hikes.