First Day Hike at Saratoga Spa State Park
Happy New Year! I began 2020 with an invigorating 3 mile guided hike organized by the Saratoga Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs. Last year’s First Day Hike got postponed due to high winds and I couldn’t make the make up date so I was determined to be there on January 1, 2020.
When I arrived at the Creekside Classroom there were about a hundred eager adults and a dozen kids checking in for the hike . A few were lining up to use the restroom, and others were fueling up with hot chocolate. Environmental Educator for Saratoga Spa State Park, Allison Schweizer and a mini helper, greeted and checked in participants, handing out beautiful First Day Hike bandanas.
Guide Ken announced there were going to be two distance options. Guide Zac would lead a 1 mile hike, and the other guide would lead a longer hike (approximately 3 miles) depending on the gumption of that group. Since I dragged my self out of bed on this freezing day to be there and was feeling energetic, I went for the longer hike.
And off, we went! It wasn’t a relaxing meditative walk for me as there were quite a few icy patches to walk over in the beginning of the hike. I stayed in the back and copied what the more experienced mountaineers were doing, grabbing onto branches and using their balance and buddies (teamwork!) to deal with the icy spots. Luckily, I was wearing my trusty winter booties that have good traction. I’m glad I stuck through a few icy inclines because the rest of the hike was dry or only a little muddy from the recent snow.
As often happens when I attend an event solo, I end bumping into an acquaintance, a former fellow Toastmaster. She is fitter than I am so she left me in the dust once we began. Still, I’m happy I can check this off my Saratoga County bucket list. Looking forward to more park adventures in 2020, especially my favorite ritual, the first swim of the season at Victoria Pool. Only in a little more than 4 months away!
If you want to learn more about these guided walks and other nature events, including volunteer events in Saratoga Spa State Park, visit the park’s Facebook page or sign up for their newsletter.
“’I’ve lived here my whole life and never knew this existed!” I often hear this from our local patrons, and I enjoy introducing them to the park’s many amenities so they can return with the confidence to keep exploring,” says Allison Schweizer, who guides hikes as well.
Where is your favorite place to hike in Saratoga County? Happy Hiking!