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Parks Offer Free Hikes To Start 2014

State park in Hillsborough overlooking the Eno River, forest, trees
Laura Candler
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North Carolina's state parks will offer free hikes on New Year's Day, along with educational opportunities for children and adults alike. More than 40 outings are scheduled, rain or shine, as a healthy way to ring in the new year. Some hikes will be only a couple of miles, while others will run as long as 5 miles.

It's the third year the state parks system has offered free First Day Hikes. Park officials expect thousands to attend across the state.

Eno River State Park began the tradition more than a decade ago, and remains the gold-standard of First Day Hikes. The park offers hot chocolate and activities for kids, and guided hike throughout the park for the more experienced saunterer.

Most hikes are scheduled to begin in the late morning, when the temperature begins to peak.

You can learn more at www.ncparks.gov/Education/first_day

Eric Mennel prepares the afternoon/evening "drive time" newscast on WUNC. Previously, he was a producer for The Story with Dick Gordon. Eric has reported for All Things Considered, This American Life, 99% Invisible and other radio programs. He covered protests and security measures at the 2012 Republican National Convention for WUSF Tampa and NPR News. One day, he hopes to own a home with a wrap-around porch.
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