I start every year with a First Day Hike. In my household, hiking on January 1st has become a tradition. In 2017, we strolled our local neighborhood trail. In 2018 and 2019, we hiked J.R. Alford Greenway in Tallahassee. This year, we’ll venture out to Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park.
We love historic sites and the park’s three miles of trails meander around an old Grist mill, Native American mounds, and native flora and fauna. I can’t wait to visit.
Last month I visited Letchworth Love Mounds Archaeological State Park near Monticello. These mounds were built by the Swift Creek Culture, a group of Native Americans who lived in North Florida between 200 and 450 C.E. The stillness frames visions of a once-thriving hub of political and religious mounds, homes, and markets. Restored spans of grasses and pines whisper in the wind. On our 2020 First Day Hike to Lake Jackson Mounds, we’ll visit what is known as the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, a cultural and religious center that flourished between 1100 and 1500 C.E. Visiting mounds is peaceful and reflective, and its almost as if a silent, reverent fog floats in the area. I feel the best way to build a stable future is to learn from the past, and historic sites provide insight that inspires.
Traditions are important, as are new beginnings. In 2020, my goal is to take 20 hikes. Whether it’s in my neighborhood or at a national forest, a strenuous hike or a simple stroll, I will prioritize outdoor time this year. This is my self-care. I find peace in the shadows of the trees. I find myself as a venture down a dirt trail. I find my purpose in the wide-open spaces of sprawling prairies.
In 2020, I hope you’ll get the luxury of visiting your favorite parks and places. I hope you’ll put your toes in the sand, run your hands through cool spring waters, and continue to learn about this land we love. I look forward to updating you, readers, of my natural adventures and I hope you’ll not only follow along but feel inspired to witness Florida’s beauty first hand in our parks and special places. To learn more about Florida State Parks, visit their website for a map and Find A Park feature. The U.S. Forest Service has a neat Interactive Map to find trailheads and other amenities in National Forests. FloridaHikes.com is also an excellent resource.
Cheers to 2020!