The answer is simple: Join SOLAR Outdoors!
When my husband and I relocated to Southeast Michigan two years ago, I ‘lit up’ the search engines searching for different ways to meet people who share common interests. We enjoy camping, hiking, kayaking and simply prefer to be outside rather than cooped up indoors. When Google led me to SolarOutdoors.org, I couldn’t fathom how joining this club would have such a positive impact on my life.
General meetings are held on the last Tuesday of each month and consist of a business portion (where announcements of upcoming classes and activities are made) as well as a speaker portion. These meetings are always free and open to the public. The first thing I noticed when we entered the big room filled with people talking and laughing is a greeter immediately welcomed us to the group. It can be intimidating to walk into a room where you don’t know a soul, but SOLAR helped us feel invited to be there and share in the club experiences.
A few of the general meeting speaker topics that have stood out over the past two years include:
- Chris Hillier (“Wolverine”) spoke about his travels and being the first person to successfully hike the Baja trail in Mexico
- A discussion on Isle Royale from an intern who lived there for a summer
- A slide show on the lighthouse at South Manitou island from an employee who spends 6 weeks a year living there
- Club members talked about their long distance hike on the Camino de Santiago trail in Spain
- Information on the Michigan Sturgeon population, how the species is being protected and what we can do to help
Once we joined the club, we slowly started to partake in some activities, which helped us to meet people while doing things we love.
Our first project was to build an Outhouse for the Saginaw Outhouse Race. While, in the end, our team couldn’t compete with some of the more streamlined designs and younger-runner-legs, we had a great time laughing with new friends!
Soon thereafter, we signed up for the Beginning Backpacking course. This class teaches the basics for backpacking and includes 3 practicals to help apply learned skills. The culmination of this class is a two night backpacking trip to Pictured Rocks! From that class, we met several hiking companions and we meet up, as a group, to hike local trails at least twice a month. Our next class is ‘Basic Land Navigation’ where we will hone our map, compass and topography skills!
Whether you are new to Michigan or a life long Michigander (or is it Michiganian?), if you enjoy spending time in the outdoors, then you should come check out a meeting and see if this group is for you! You will be greeted by our welcoming committee and you can always look for me (I am generally easy to spot in my Ohio State gear – see what I mean? They really will welcome everyone!). I can’t wait to meet you and share some adventures together!