Spending an hour Thursday strolling around the lake at Sesquicentennial State Park was the right way to start 2015 for Debbie Caskey of Elgin.
“It’s my second home,” Caskey said of the park in Northeast Richland County. “And it’s fun, a great way to start out a new year.”
Caskey and her 6-year-old grandson, Michael Phifer, were among more than 80 participants in the two-mile walk, celebrating the new year.
New Year’s Day walks are becoming an annual custom at many of the state’s 47 parks, including Dreher Island along Lake Murray.
“It’s become a great initiative,” said state parks Director Phil Gaines, who joined in the Sesquicentennial walk after participating in another one earlier in Aiken. “It gets folks out.”
Some walkers called it a way to enjoy being fit and healthy with friends and family.
“I love the trees, the birds, the bats and nature,” said Constance Durrett, 67, of Elgin. “This is beautiful.”
The length of the walk wasn’t a problem for Kasey Branham, 23, of Forest Acres, who said she regularly covers that distance walking her dachshund, Tiki.
“This is a different way to do it,” Branham said, as she and Tiki walked a path winding around the park’s 30-acre lake. “This is easy for her.”
The stroll gave others the chance to explore unfamiliar sections of the 1,400-acre park.
For Angel Sbardella of West Columbia, it was a chance for her family to see more of a 75-year-old wooded oasis she recently discovered after living for 14 years in the Midlands.
“This is something I wish I’d learned about a really long time ago.” Sbardella said.