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Many people simply create their own outings to kick off the new year. Lincoln Fuller of Yarmouth, Maine, has been hiking up Mount Washington in New Hampshire each Jan. 1 with two friends for more than 10 years. He said they usually encounter dozens of others on the cold, windy mountain.

“It’s always surprising to me how many people go up on New Year's Day to say, ‘This would be a good way to start the year,’” he said.

Mr. Fuller said he’s often asked by people why he would do such a thing in the middle of winter. His standard reply: “Well, there’s no bugs.”