When is the last time you did something for the first time?

A group of seven hit the Jordan River Pathway earlier this summer and enjoyed a perfect weather weekend in the woods!  There were several ‘first time’ events this trip and it was a great reminder that you are never too old (or too young!) to try something new!

To kick off our fun weekend, a new SOLAR member joined in the adventure! It is always great to have new members join our trips! Darrell is a long time hiker and backpacker who camped with his sons until they moved away from home.  We were happy to hear his stories of past travels and discuss his extensive gear closet!  At the end of our hike, we met Darrell’s wife, who seemed interested in taking the SOLAR Beginning Backpacking class.  I hope this is the first of many trips we will take together!

Another SOLAR member brought her college-aged daughter for her first ever backpacking trip!  She did great and was our nominated ‘bear bag hanger’!  Her rock throwing skills combined with her energy and positive demeanor made her a wonderful addition to the group!  She even said she would like to join SOLAR once she returns to the area after college.

Personally, this was the first overnight backpacking trip that I took without my husband.  I knew everything would be fine because I was with my SOLAR friends. It felt empowering to pack and carry all of my gear for the weekend!  As is often the case, not all went perfectly, and I am embarrassed to say that I set up the tent poles completely backward!  I called over Leslie to discuss some kind of ‘quick fix’ for my error, but alas, I had to tear down the tent and start over (drat!).  Once the rig was properly set up, we all enjoyed a hot dinner while combating the bugs and tucked into the tents promptly at 7:05 pm!

A couple other notable moments included:

  • Leslie shared her birthday and wonderfully sweet treats from Gene – thanks, Leslie, for spending your big day with us!
  • Michelle and Anandhi pointed out beautiful and edible plants including lady slippers, ramps, morels and winterberries. I swear, if you are ever to be lost in the woods, you will want to be with them because you are guaranteed not to starve to death!
  • In addition to leading us all with a comfortable pace along the trail, Dave showed off his awesome wood gathering and fire building skills in an attempt to ward off the camp bugs (plus he told some funny ‘dad jokes’ to keep us thoroughly entertained)!

The trip was great and we enjoyed each other’s company while hiking this beautiful Michigan trail.  When is the last time that you tried something new?  If you haven’t joined us on a SOLAR adventure, then plan to come join in the fun!

The Jordan River Pathway is a 19 mile loop trail located near East Jordan, Michigan. You can read all about Dave Warnecke’s trip in 2018.

If you have an event or trip that you’d like featured on the SOLAR Ray Blog, please email solarcommunications@solaroutdoors.org

Photo Credits: Dave Warnecke and Anandhi Chandran

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