CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Whether it's for a New Year's resolution or just the joy of hiking, hikers have packed Kanawha State Forest over the past two years for the park's First Day Hike on New Year's Day.
This year, Kanawha State Forest Assistant Superintendent Kevin Dials will lead the third annual hike along roughly three miles of trail.
"It's something offered; something to do," said Dials, who has been in his position for more than six years. "A lot of people view it as an opportunity to act on a New Year's resolution."
Last year, the hike had about 115 participants, up from about 90 the year before.
With the National Weather Service calling for partly sunny skies and a high of 45 degrees Wednesday, Dials said he wouldn't be surprised at a large crowd.
"We could get a pretty good turnout," he said.
For those who have been on the hike in previous years, this year's route will be completely different.
"It's definitely different trails," he said. "We pretty much stuck to the same thing for the first two years."
One segment of the hike will include the Crabapple Trail, which was not passable just a few years ago, but was re-blazed by a group of volunteers.
"It was an older existing trail that was heavily damaged by a storm 15 or 20 years ago," Dials said. "We reopened it about two years ago."
The hike will begin at 2 p.m. at the pool parking lot -- about a mile from the park's main entrance. From there, the group will follow the relatively flat Davis Creek Trail north before crossing the park's main road to the Rattlesnake Trail. The hike route follows the Rattlesnake Trail west as it climbs a few hundred feet west above Davis Creek.