Vol. 22    August 2019


Come along as we look at events that have happened with the SOLAR club, and join us for our next adventures!


Yellowstone National Park

SOLAR member Rob Mairled a group of sixteen to the USA’s first national park in August 2002. Excerpts from his trip report in the club’s newsletter, the SOLAR Ray:  ‘We saw every corner of the park…Most of the time we stayed in the backcountry…Daily hikes varied from 3 to 17 miles…People usually slept under tarps or just under the stars. The weather varied greatly from highs over 90 degrees to snow and lows in the 20s…No one saw a bear. We did see Old Faithful erupt through a blizzard…Group members did see: wolves, elk, pronghorn, bison, mule deer, pikas, golden and bald eagles, osprey, bighorn sheep, coyotes, fox, white pelicans, trumpeter swans, magpies (and) moose…Tom Oloffo had the most dramatic experience when he watched wolves hassle a healthy bison and feed on an earlier kill…We saw as much as time allowed and marveled at the wonders…Bull elk in the campgrounds at dawn…Osprey diving for trout…Fording large rivers…Watching a 2-week old geyser…Cold beer at the end of the trail. Deep, starry skies.’


Editor’s note:  Thank you to my friend Kathy for allowing me to share her beautiful photo of Yellowstone.


SOLAR members have been enjoying the outdoors for over 40 years. You will find us on trails, lakes and rivers in metro Detroit, the state of Michigan, and throughout the country. And sometimes we travel outside the USA.


Digging into the past…literally


From the SOLAR Ray, August 2001: ’SOLAR wrapped up its first archaeological field season with a weekend of sweaty digging in the trenches of the Metate site outside Milton, Ontario on July 21-22’, according to Laura James. Dr. William Finlayson, from the London (Ontario) Museum of Archaeology, spoke at SOLAR’s June membership meeting. He talked about his 32-year study of the occupation of the Crawford Lake area by Iroquoian peoples from A.D. 1000-1650, with highlights of excavations at the Metate site, a village that was occupied about A.D. 1550. SOLAR members had the chance to not only hear Dr. Finlayson but to participate in a dig, and 22 ventured to Canada to do that. ‘With transit accuracy, each SOLARite unearthed dozens of Iroquois artifacts dating to 1400 A.D., including bits of animal bone, pieces of decorative pottery as big as five inches across, arrowheads, stone axes, and the like. Perhaps the most impressive finds were a large bear’s-tooth pendant found by Pete Lamb and a stone pipe bowl found by Roger James.’


Photo:  Pete Lamb and Shal Singh make a discovery


More chances to participate in digs at the same location occurred that year, and the following year. From the August 2002 Ray: ‘Over the past winter, Dr. Finlayson discovered the origins of the design on an intricate pot found by a SOLAR member last year. Three sections of the pot totaling several square inches were found in the chief’s midden (garbage dump). The pot has a high collar, making it quite different from most of the other pottery found in the village, and a distinctive pattern of lines around the top. The design on the pot is, as it turns out, the same design used by Iroquois in New York at the time. Dr. Finlayson theorizes that the woman who made the pot was either traded in or kidnapped and after joining the tribe (and moving into the chief’s longhouse?), continued to make pots the way she learned how…Thanks to the 28 people who enjoyed this year’s field season.’


Only a few SOLARites had participated in a dig before the opportunities arose with Dr. Finlayson, and Laura helped make things happen so that many were able to participate. SOLAR provides a means to share your interests and talents with others.


This photo (from the website www.wildernesswanderings.net) is of a local trail, the Penosha Trail, located in Brighton Recreation Area. You’re invited to join members of SOLAR for a five mile hike here on Saturday, September 7, at 10 AM. We will meet in the Trailhead parking lot, off Brighton Lake Rd. You can use this address to get you close to the road that leads to the parking lot: 5914 Bishop Lake Rd, Brighton MI. Any questions about the hike may be directed to me (Bill) at:  solarhistorian@solaroutdoors.org


EROM THE SOLAR RAY, SUMMER 1995…great news for two of the group’s trailblazers

And the Ray included a For Sale column. One of the entries got my attention…


Slumberjack Sleeping Bag,   zero degree, $75 or best offer. Call Matt Dalton if interested.

I doubt the sleeping bag is still available, but if it is, I suspect Matt would give you a good deal if you want it!




The clip you just read shows you part of the very first article from what might be the first SOLAR Ray. An event that has any of the activities listed A-H sounds good, but all of them at once? Wow! The event was the Rattlesnake Summer Celebration Weekend, held August 9-10, 1976. ‘If you only make one SOLAR weekend trip this summer…this is the one to attend!’ So read the trip description. ‘Rattlesnake’ was a popular event for years. A write-up in 1995 had this to say…


‘Every month from May to September SOLAR rock climbers go to (Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area, in Ontario) to climb.  However, in August the rest of SOLAR goes to Rattlesnake to partake in unusual ritual activities.


The Buffalo Shuffle, which is a walk (or run, whichever your preference) on the Bruce Trail until you see a buffalo (and there really is a buffalo). There’s also the Hill of Climb which is a steep grade paved hill which must be ascended by bike. And of course the famous Cook-Off. Anyone can enter this competition with a dish which must be entirely prepared in camp. The resulting Saturday night meal is a feast you’ll not soon forget…There’s also lots of other things to do at Rattlesnake, such as hiking, biking, volleyball, rock climbing, etc, etc. So come one come all to the August Rattlesnake!’


I have not been to Rattlesnake myself but it sounds like a great place for outdoor fun, and numerous SOLARites have had wonderful times there. There is no reason we can’t visit Rattlesnake some time…let’s go!!



If you want to know more about SOLAR…

Come to any of our monthly membership meetings, held the last Tuesday of each month (except December) at 7 PM, at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, 27475 Five Mile Rd, Livonia MI (just west of Inkster Rd). Though our meetings our held at a church, SOLAR is not affiliated with St. Paul’s or any other religious organization.

Check our website:   www.solaroutdoors.org

If you’re interested in becoming a member, you may contact Elaine at solarmembership@solaroutdoors.org




NEXT MONTH:  More titillating tidbits from SOLAR’s archives. Stay tuned!





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