By Kayla Carter
Johnson County resident Debbie Copeland was one of 11 hikers to scale one of three peaks on Roan Mountain’s Grassy Ridge for the park’s first hike of the year on Wednesday.
While it was the second year the park has offered a guided hike on New Year’s Day, Copeland was with her friend Louis Honeycutt for their annual hike on Roan Mountain.
“It’s our New Year tradition,” Copeland said.
“We hike the Roan every year on New Year’s Day,” Honeycutt said.
Although the two have made several trips to Roan Mountain over the years with their hiking club, Honeycutt said it was the first time they participated in the holiday group hike offered by the park.
“We just love the Roan Mountain area,” Copeland said.
Guiding the hike to Round Bald, a 1.2-mile round trip, was Tennessee State Parks Ranger Meg Guy.
She said she was excited to start 2014 out with one of her favorite hikes at the park, and said the event was more successful than she anticipated.
“We had an excellent turnout for this year,” she said. “It’s the biggest turnout we’ve had for this event.”
Guy was ecstatic to provide an opportunity for other people to kick-start the year with new friendships and a sense of accomplishment.
“It just got people up and moving on what might otherwise be a lazy day,” she said. “People seemed to be really involved and enjoyed it. I got a lot of positive feedback.”
Guy shared many bits of information along the hike about plant life, landscape and geography.
Even though he lives in the area and knows much about Roan Mountain, Honeycutt said he was impressed with the educational aspect of the hike.
“She shared a lot of information,” said Honeycutt, whose father used to pasture cattle on the mountain. “She was very knowledgeable.”
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