Many Iowans start the new year with a "First Day Hike" - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Many Iowans start the new year with a "First Day Hike"

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DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) -

Many Iowans took to the cold winter weather Wednesday afternoon to kick off their new year with a health hike. It's part of a nationwide initiative called First Day Hikes, encouraging people to connect with the great outdoors at their local state parks.

Mines of Spain in Dubuque County has participated First Day Hikes for three years. It's one of four Iowa state parks that hosted the hikes.

"We are getting into exercise but at the same time you are out here enjoying nature which most people don't get to anymore. " said Park Ranger Wayne Buchholz. "I tell people any day is a good day for a hike, even if it's 8 degrees."

The hike Wednesday afternoon drew dozens from Dubuque County and surrounding communities. Karen Steffen looked at the hike as a way to enjoy the great outdoors, while getting some exercise.

"I normally hike in the summertime." She said. "I wanted to challenge myself in the wintertime and I like nature."

Steffen said she also hopes the hike will help prepare her for the program Get Fit Iowa which she does with her co-workers in January.

"We join Get Fit Iowa, which starts at the end of January. So I just want to be in shape for my team," Steffen said.

During the walk hikers were able to enjoy the quiet sounds of winter, while also learning facts about the park and Dubuque's history from park rangers.

Last year, 22,000 people nation wide hiked nearly 44,000 miles through America's state parks during First Day Hikes. For the third annual First Day Hike, all 50 state park systems participated in this years hike.

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