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Bitter Cold Doesn't Faze First Day Hikers At N.H. State Parks

Annie Ropeik

Dozens of bundled-up hikers tromped onto the snowy trails of five New Hampshire State Parks Monday, marking the frigid start of 2018 with the parks’ eighth annual First Day Hikes.  

The forecasted high at Wellington State Park in Bristol was only 3 degrees. Park workers handed out beanies, face buffs and hot cider as hikers headed into the woods.

Even the wind chill warning didn’t stop Kathy Bishop and Martha Doelle – both teachers from Enfield – from strapping on snowshoes for a trek up into the park's higher elevations.

For Bishop, this marked the start of a year of bucket list plans.

"This is gonna [be] the year of me,” she said. “I'm going to take care of myself, I'm going to do all kinds of adventures, and Martha is going to help me navigate these lands.”

She moved to New Hampshire from Arizona, and said scuba diving and surfing in warmer climes were next on her agenda.

But Doelle said she liked the cold. She’d hiked with her daughter every day of the holiday break, and said she thought the New Year’s Day weather was beautiful.

“There's no wind, the sun is shining,” she said. “We live in New Hampshire, we might as well enjoy the snow and the cold.”  

Park staff said the inaugural First Day Hike at Wellington, last year, felt much warmer. Temperatures then were in the 20s.

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