Hiking In The New Year - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Hiking In The New Year

Posted: Updated:

In an effort for Americans to start off the ew year with nature and exercise, state parks across the nation took part in First Day Hikes.

For Sneads resident Paula Quattlebaum and her family, there was no better way to start off the new year.

"My daughter and grandson and I do a lot of outdoor things together and they were in town," says Quattlebaum, "So I decided to ask them to join me also and so we could enjoy learning about all the various plants and trees in the state of Florida."

They weren't the only ones taking part in what America Sate Parks calls a First Day Hike, an opportunity for Americans to start their New Year connecting with nature and exercising at the same time.

"Just any opportunity to get folks out of the house and get out and enjoy nature," says Park Specialist Billy Bailey. "Listen to the birds, see the butterflies, and learn about what they have in their own backyard."

Bailey led Tuesday's nature walk. He says a First Day hike allows individuals in such a digital demanding world to 'tune' into something other than a favorite TV show.

"I think it's a great thing, because any opportunity people have to come out and enjoy nature, to get away from the video games, the radios, the television, to get out and hear nature you know?," asks Bailey.

Florida Caverns State Park in Jackson County offered two of the 600+ First Day hikes taking place across the nation in all 50 states on Tuesday.

"It was rather hilly and going over the rocks it was a little treacherous sometimes," says Quattlebaum. "But it was a lot of fun and it wasn't anything that anyone couldn't do."

While some hikers came from Pennsylvania, Destin, and Tallahassee, Quattlebaum is a frequent visitor to the park. She plans to spend much more time at Florida Caverns State Park in 2013. "I'm gonna buy myself a park pass which means you get in free for the whole year which means you come as many times as you want," says Quattlebaum.

More than 60 state parks in Florida participated in First Day Hikes, which is the most of any state.