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Start 2013 with a hike at Claytor Lake

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

Those who resolve to get more exercise or lose weight during the coming year will have a perfect opportunity to put their resolution into practice by taking part in a First Day Hike at Claytor Lake State Park, Jan. 1.

Claytor Lake is joining Virginia’s 34 other state parks in taking part in the America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative.

Activities at Claytor Lake include two leisurely mile-long hikes with park rangers.

The first hike begins at 1 p.m. Participants are asked to park at the Claytor Lake beach facility, then walk up the hill to the amphitheatre. Everyone will gather at the amphitheatre to identify some of the interesting edibles that will be encountered along the hike and discuss how they have been consumed historically and culturally.

A second hike at 2 p.m. will focus on the park’s wildlife. Participants will gather at the amphitheatre, then begin a leisurely stroll to investigate which of the state park’s wildlife have chosen to stick around and weather the winter. Rangers will help scan the bare trees, water and land for signs of animal homes.

For more information on these First Day Hikes, call 643-2500.

Last year, 3,708 people hiked 5,583 miles during First Day Hikes in Virginia’s state parks. Nationwide, more than 14,000 people hiked more than 30,000 miles.

“We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our parks,” said Virginia State Parks Director Joe Elton. “First Day Hikes are a great way to cure cabin fever and burn off those extra holiday calories by starting off the New Year with an invigorating walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks.”

Hikers are encouraged to bring cameras and share their photos using social media sites. A weekend cabin stay will be awarded for every 200 photographs entered. Winning photos will be determined by the most votes on Facebook. For more information on the contest, visit   http://bit.ly/V1gmVp.

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