first_imgBATTLE GROUND LAKE — There are many ways to begin the new year: a Champagne toast, fireworks or maybe just going to bed early. For many who love the outdoors, however, the start of 2017 was marked with a hike.“The idea is starting your year off right (by) getting outdoors,” Washington State Parks Ranger Tom Riggs told a group of about 25 people who had gathered Sunday afternoon under a covered area at Battle Ground Lake State Park. They were about to head out on a First Day Hike, which has become an annual tradition for some.There were perks to going hiking at a Washington state park on New Year’s Day. The vehicle fee was waived, and at some locations a ranger was on hand to lead the adventure.That meant wildlife interpretation from an expert. As Riggs guided the group, he told them about the available camping and hiking amenities at the 280-acre park, including rental cabins with electricity, 10 miles of trails and a camping area for equestrians. He also touched on the geological features of the lake and the park’s vegetation.The edge of the lake is also the rim of an old volcano. The eruption occurred roughly 100,000 years ago underneath a lake, which “super heated” the water and caused an explosion of steam and rock, Riggs said. Some of those rocks are visible today around the perimeter of the lake.last_img read more