Dubuque County Hikers Enjoy "First Day"

by Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

DUBUQUE, Iowa - On New Year's Day, hikers in all 50 states took part in what's called the "First Hike".

It's a nation-wide an effort to get people to use state parks in the winter, especially on cold days.

In Dubuque County, hikers took a guided stroll through the Mines of Spain. That state park sits just south of Dubuque.

In the quiet, still of nature, birds don't know it's the beginning of a new year. But a group of hikers understand and they're ready to start the year with solace.

Andi Sheehan said, "I haven't been outside in a long time. It actually feels good to be outside. "

The Pine Chapel Trail at the Mines of Spain serves as a pathway in disconnecting from technology.

Cassie Sheehan said, "as a college student, I spend most of my time on the computer to begin with so it's nice to get out and actually enjoy some of the natural world. "

A rediscovery of nature, and a reconnection with what matters.

Andi said, "It's really nice because you get to spend time with your family instead of being cooped up or on your electronics. "

Rangers say very few people experience this park after the leaves have fallen and the snow sets in.

Park Ranger Wayne Buchholtz said, "all of a sudden the rocky cliffs are exposed and in some ways it's just a totally different park."

More exercise. More family. Fewer distractions. The promise of a new year.

Three other Iowa communities held first hikes today as well.
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