State parks in 49 states offered a “first day hike” to bring in the new year.
50 parks in Texas alone offered a total of 80 hikes..
“It’s become a Texas tradition in our state parks for people getting out and starting the new year off on the right foot by being outdoors and hiking,” said Josh Crawford, park interpreter.
Among them— Mission Tejas State Park in the small town of Weches in Houston County.
There were two hikes; a morning hike which was 1.7 miles just to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature, and an afternoon hike to learn about the history of the park.
The diversity of the forest and the history of the region draws a crowd year-round.
“We’ve been doing this for the past seven years,” said Joel Parker, a visitor. “Not always here, sometimes we go to Fort Parker and other state parks but Josh (Crawford) is the main reason we’re here.”
Through this event some were able to visit the park for the first time.
“I wanted to go some place I hadn’t been, Mission Tejas was pretty close and it sounded pretty good to me,” said Ryan Gaskin, a first time visitor to the park.
With the new year come a plethora of resolutions and some say hiking more is a great one because it really encompasses all the common resolutions.
“It allows people to get outside, exercise, take in nature,” said Crawford. “The more they’re out in nature the more they seem to become aware of it, the more they’re aware of it the more they seem to enjoy it then they start to take care of it.”
But everyone has their own reasons for hiking or just spending time outdoors
“I like to hike and hiking is pretty fun actually, it’s a really good thing to get you out in the woods and do what you love,” said Cade Parker, a visitor.
“See it a little bit closer than you would if you were driving down the highway at 70 miles per hour,” said Crawford.
“We just like to be out here as a family, we did it for the solitude we’d come out by ourselves,” said Joel Parker.