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Get moving to burn off those holiday calories

Hike at Smithgall Woods aimed at helping you get re-energized

POSTED: December 29, 2010 12:30 a.m.

If you're thinking you may over-do it with the Christmas dinner feast, don't worry because the folks at the Smithgall Woods Conservation Park have come up with a way to help you burn calories.

From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, volunteer Wayne Barrios will lead a moderate, 1 ½-mile hike along the park's Martin Mine trail.

Participants will be driven by van from the park's visitor's center to the head of the trail. During the hike, visitors will not only be able to burn off a few calories, they will also be able to learn some the history of the trail, which is a former gold-mining site.

Park staff have also arranged another post-Christmas calorie-burning excursion later in the week. From 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, participants will be able to take part in a guided winter hike through the park's woodlands.

Both hikes cost $2 plus another $5 for parking. Due to limited space, participants must register in advance by calling 706-878-3087.

According to park staff, participants don't have to have any prior hiking experience. For the uninitiated, park staff offer the following safety and etiquette tips:

n Be prepared for unexpected weather changes by dressing in layers - avoid cotton. Try to choose materials that wick moisture, dry quickly or conserve heat. Many experienced hikers wear a lightweight shirt that wicks moisture, while carrying a fleece pullover.

n Always carry quality rain gear.

n Do not pick flowers or disturb wildlife.

n Protect the landscape by staying on trails.

n Invest in good hiking socks such as those found at sporting goods stores.

n Do not stray from trails. If you become lost, stay in one location and wait for help.

n Don't count on cell phones to work in the wilderness, but if they do, be able to give details about your location.

n Take a map, water, snacks, first aid kit, flashlight and whistle. Three short blasts on a whistle are known as a call for help.



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