12/31/13 — Open the new year with a hike

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Open the new year with a hike

By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on December 31, 2013 1:46 PM

Leave the hustle and bustle of 2013 behind and walk into 2014 Wednesday with the First Day Hike at the Cliffs of the Neuse State Park.

A tradition for the last four years at Cliffs of the Neuse, the First Day Hike, which begins at 11 a.m., will feature a mile and a half to two miles of easy to moderate hiking through some of the newly opened trails.

There will also be a few stops along the way where park rangers will teach short presentations on New Year's traditions connected with nature.

"As the holiday season draws to a close, First Day Hikes are an excellent way to relax, lose the stress and connect with the outdoors and the rich natural resources that distinguish North Carolina," Brad Ives, assistant secretary for Natural Resources at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said in a press release.

Despite the rainy weekend, the trails are expected to be relatively dry and the weather is looking to be sunny with a slight chill.

The state park is expecting about 30 to 50 people to attend the hike depending on the weather. If it rains, then turnout is expected to be much lower. Last year's event, which saw rain, attracted three dedicated hikers for a first day hike.

Park Ranger Crystal Lloyd said the flora may not be blossoming at this time of the year, but visitors will still be able to enjoy the fauna, the many squirrels and birds -- cardinals, kingfishers and, "if you're lucky," owls -- native to the park.

Hikers attending the Cliffs of the Neuse event should meet at the visitors center at 11 a.m. and be prepared with weather-appropriate gear and hiking footwear.

Dogs on a leash are also welcome.

For more information, contact Cliffs of the Neuse State Park at 919-778-6234.