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Hiking into the New Year

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What’s a good way to improve your overall health and fitness as well as lift your spirits—hiking! Here are five docent-led hikes that will get you started out on the right foot in 2014.

NEW YEAR’S DAY

1. Butterfly Walk with Ardenwood Interpretive Staff. 11:30 A.M or 1:30 P.M. Wed, Jan. 1, 2014. Short, flat hike to see the monarch butterfly over-wintering site. "Discover the amazing migration of these tiny creatures and how they survive the long cold season in our eucalyptus trees. Visitors will use spotting scopes to see these magnificent creatures up close and personal." Meet at the Granary. Park entrance fee applies. Info: Ardenwood: (510) 544-2797. Ardenwood Historic Farm, 34600 Ardenwood Blvd. Fremont, CA 94555

2. Four Bridges Hike in Sunol with East Bay Regional Park’s naturalist Katie Colbert. 1-4:30 P.M. Wed. Jan 1, 2014. Step into the New Year on Sunol’s own Bridge-to-Bridge hike. Three and one-half miles, easy to moderate pace, with some uphill. Ages 6+ NOTE: Registration is required. Course #4546. Contact: www.ebparks.org or call 888-327-2757. Sunol Regional Park, 1895 Geary Road Sunol, CA.

3. Stepping into the New Year with Berkeley Path Wanderers Association. Leader Glen Lindwall. 1 P.M. Wed. Jan. 1. Meet SW corner of the Arlington and Coventry Rd., Kensington (at bus stop). Welcome the new year with BPWA to walk many stairs through the neighborhoods of the Berkeley/Kensington border. Well-behaved dogs on leash permitted. Medium difficultly, moderate pace. Free, no reservations required. Please be prompt. Info: walks@berkeleypaths.org

4. First-Day Hike! At Wilder Ranch State Park with docents Liz Ryan and Bill Perry. A Coastal nature walk. 11:00 A.M., Wed. Jan. 1. An easy 2.5 mile, easy to moderate hike, to explore the plants, animals, and geology of the spectacular coastal bluffs. Meet at the Wilder Ranch Interpretive Center at 11:00 A.M. for the two-hour guided hike. Bring a snack, water, binoculars, and wear good walking shoes. Rain cancels. No dogs.

The park is north of Santa Cruz, immediately west of Highway One, approximately 1.8 miles past the Western Drive stoplight. (831) 423-9703.

NEW YEAR'S DAY + ONE.

You couldn’t get up and out on the 1st? Try this short hike on Thursday, January 2, 2014.

New Year's Nature Walk led by “Trail Gail.” 9 A.M. – 1 P.M. Thu, Jan 2. Anthony Chabot Regional Park, meet at the Clyde Woolridge Staging Area at the top of Grass Valley Road in Oakland. Walk goes rain or shine, but mud shortens, bring water and a snack to share. 12+yrs. Info: (510) 544-2233.

Happy New Year!

Susan “backpack45” Alcorn

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