About 200 welcome 2016 with First Day Hike on Mount Greylock

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Photo Gallery | New Years hike on Mount Greylock

LANESBOUROUGH — In what's becoming a growing tradition, about 200 hearty souls, ranging in age from toddlers to senior citizens, welcomed in 2016 on Friday with a hike on Mount Greylock.

According to the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the First Day Hikes began in Massachusetts in 1992, and over the last quarter-century have been adopted in all 50 states.

Dawn Klein, her 5-year-old daughter Estelle and their dog, Sammy took to the approximately 1.8-mile Bradley Farm trail to celebrate the first day of a new year.

Klein said she and her family hadn't hiked that particular trial before and welcomed the opportunity to try out a new path.

"It had all of the usual trappings of Berkshire beauty," Klein said. "I was charmed for sure, we'll do it again."

"I hope this is one of many hikes to come, I think it's a great way to start the year." she said.

Klein said she learned about the event while looking for cross-country skiing opportunities for her and her daughter, but, due to the lack of snow, began hunting for other activities before stumbling upon the First Hike information.

"We're totally hooked (on hiking), it's amazing," said Klein.

Jude Stull, visitor services supervisor, said part of the success and popularity of the annual event may be the fact it happens on Jan. 1, a day when many people don't have other obligations or plans.

"I think of it as a dead void in most people's planning. There aren't usually a lot of other things to do," said Stull.

"It's a powerful way to physically step into the new year," he said. "We see it grow every single year."

"The best part of it for me is being a vital link in creating this occasion, this event," Stull said. "I believe in this event."

The relatively mild weather may have also convinced more people to participate this year. The hike kicked off at noon with temperatures reaching the mid-to-upper 30s and no precipitation fell until most hikers had made it back to the Visitor's Center about 90 minutes later.

Hikers were alerted that, while there wasn't much snow to speak of, there was a notable amount of ice covering parts of the trail and to make preparations.

Many brought ski poles and other affixed traction devices to their boots. Some of those who brought neither, got by using pieces of fallen timber as hiking staffs.

Some of the younger hikers, apparently trying to squeeze as much out of the last few days of their school vacations, took advantage of the slippery conditions, sliding across some of the ice-glazed slopes on their backsides.

After nearly two miles of trekking through reticent, snow-touched woods, however, Estella Klein said her favorite part of her First Day Hike was, "the end."

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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