It’s hard to believe that the first day of 2020 is already here! The start not only of a new year but also a new decade, this is your opportunity to move forward with a clean slate and a bright future. While many people worry about how they are going to celebrate on New Years Day, there is one trend among outdoor travellers that focuses on welcoming in the new year in a fresh, positive way – the First Day Hike. Yesterday we kicked off 2020 with our dogs at the Maidstone Conservation Area.
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Each year our social media feeds are flooded with posts about New Year’s resolutions and annual goals. For some, this is focused specifically on their careers and professional lives while others highlight aspects of their personal lives and well-being that they believe could be improved upon. Unfortunately, most of these goals and intentions will be forgotten in just weeks as the buzz surrounding the arrival of the new year fades away. It is for this reason that I have made the personal choice not to focus on setting any resolutions this year (or in years past).
Instead, I have used the new year (and new decade) to kick off a new tradition in our home – the New Year’s bucket list. This isn’t about changing ourselves or our lives. Instead, it’s about identifying things we would like to do or experience and finding the motivation to make it happen.
The first item on my 2020 Bucket List involved a growing tradition among outdoor travellers – I wanted to make a point of starting my year with a First Day Hike. The concept is simple. On New Year’s Day, rather than spending the day sitting indoors in front of the television, hit the trails. It doesn’t matter where you go, just go!
Rather than travelling to one of the Provincial or National Parks in the area, we opted to take the dogs somewhere local. There are many small trails around the Windsor/Essex area to choose from, but our pack has come to love the Maidstone Conservation Area.
Located not far from Highway 401, this is a great option to stop and stretch your legs if you’re on your way through the Windsor/Essex area. The trail itself is relatively short, estimated by the AllTrails app to be approximately 1.6km. However, the closed-loop design of the trail makes it incredibly easy to length your time out and about by simply repeating the loop once again. Navigating through a wooded area, we regularly see a variety of wildlife including squirrels, birds and even deer. You will also pass the Puce River, adding to the scenery.
The trail itself is well-groomed and cared for. Boardwalks have been installed, improving the accessibility of the trail for everyone. While we generally visit the trail with the dogs, I wouldn’t hesitate to bring my nieces and nephews along (strollers and all).
Whether you live in the Windsor/Essex area or are simply passing through, the Maidstone Conservation Area is a great place for a quick stop, picnic lunch or family outing.
Did you hit the trails yesterday for a First Day Hike? If so, what trails did you visit? If not, how did you welcome in 2020 in your household?