Successful First Day Hike

Wednesday, January 4, 2012
New Year's hike Roaring River State Park's inaugural First Day Hike attracted 31 participants. Hikers traveled the Devil's Kitchen Trail, which is around one and half miles long. Photo by Kerry Hays/Missouri State Parks

Over 30 individuals took part in Roaring River State Park's inaugural First Day Hike on Sunday. Kerry Hays, park assistant superintendent, guided the hiking tour to Devil's Kitchen on New Year's Day.

"We were very happy with the turnout," said Hays. "The hike went very well. We ended up having one group, a family group, who participated by themselves, but we caught up to them throughout the hike and offered them information."

First Day Hike offered a guided tour, which gave participants information on the high points of the trail, said Hays. Each hiker received a brochure that offered additional information on the trail.

"Everyone enjoyed the event," said Hays. "We saw Devil's Kitchen at the end of the trail. We also saw a couple of caves along the way. The kids really liked playing on the rocks and going in the caves."

Around 10 children took part in the First Day Hike with their families.

"I really enjoyed getting out on the first and being able to do something that I love doing with a group of people interested in starting the New Year out right," said Hays. "It was a beautiful day, which I think increased the number of hikers interested in participating."

The First Day Hike to Devil's Kitchen took around an hour and a half to complete, said Hays. The group stopped several times along the trail to explore natural formations along the route.

"Everyone was very complimentary," said Hays. "They said they enjoyed the opportunity to get out and visit the local park on New Year's Day. Nearly 75 percent of the group hadn't visited Roaring River State Park before."

First Day Hikes originated over 20 years ago at Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Mass. The program was designed to promote healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year-round recreation at state parks.

This year's First Day Hikes were the first time that all 50 state park systems joined together to sponsor the program.

"Each year, over 740 million people visit America's state parks and contribute over $23 billion to the economy," said Hays. "State parks are a close to home resource and an important part of our country's fabric, enhancing our quality of life."

Nature enthusiasts who did not have the opportunity to attend the First Day Hike are encouraged to take part in one of Roaring River's other upcoming winter activities. The park will host eagle viewing events on Jan. 21 and Feb. 18.

For more information on First Day Hikes or other Roaring River State Park programs, call the park office at 847-2539 or the nature center at 847-3742.

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