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Thirty seven people attended the first Outdoor Adventures Club hike. Emma McCormick | Courtesy
Thirty seven people attended the first Outdoor Adven­tures Club hike.
Emma McCormick | Courtesy

Sophomore Emma McCormick is thrilled about the number of stu­dents — 216 — who showed interest in a new Outdoor Adven­tures Club on campus this year.

“I’m so excited that this is hap­pening and that people are also excited about it,” she said.

McCormick was dis­ap­pointed to find no out­doors clubs upon coming to Hillsdale, so this year she started her own club which is open to anyone and does not require fees or official mem­bership.

McCormick plans to host a few events throughout the year, some of which will be over breaks so that stu­dents can travel to more distant loca­tions. Back­packing, camping, skiing, climbing, caving, kayaking, and mountain biking are among McCormick’s many aspi­ra­tions for the club.

“Whatever people are inter­ested in, I want to see it happen,” she said.

The club hosted its first event Sept. 10 at Lost Nations Trail, a 15-minute drive from campus. Despite the misty, gray weather, 37 people attended the event, including two prospective stu­dents and the club’s advisor, Asso­ciate Pro­fessor of Eco­nomics Charles Steele.

“Being outside really recharges people,” Steele said. “I think being out­doors and doing these kinds of activ­ities is really important for the way people develop, and it’s just good to be outside.”

Steele, an active out­doorsman, is very excited about the new club and said he will try to attend as many events as he can. During his time at Montana State Uni­versity, he would some­times take a 30-minute hike around 10 or 11 p.m. just to get outside and let the fresh air reju­venate him after many hours of studying.

The Lost Nations Trail hike was about 6 miles long, and on the way some of the stu­dents found a cave that sup­posedly used to be a hideout of one of Jesse James’ gang members. Several of the stu­dents were able to climb inside the cave at one time.

Future events will include camping at Sleeping Bear Dunes over fall break, and at some point the club might get to hike the Appalachian Trail.

Sophomore Lydia Hall also attended the hike at Lost Nations Trail. An Oregon native, she said she misses the moun­tains and the many hiking oppor­tu­nities pro­vided there.

“When I came to Hillsdale in the first place and I was looking at the clubs, I was really upset that there wasn’t an outdoor club … espe­cially coming from the Pacific Northwest in Oregon [where] … nature is every­where,” she said.

As the club’s trea­surer, Hall will use antic­i­pated club dona­tions in order to pur­chase camping equipment, help stu­dents with travel expenses, and buy t‑shirts.

Part of what inspired McCormick to start the club was her many outdoor adven­tures in her home state of Idaho, as well as her hiking trips abroad in places like Ireland and the near the Mediter­ranean Sea. What sealed the decision for her was seeing a film from an inter­na­tional film com­pe­tition in Banff, Canada.

The Banff Mountain Film Fes­tival films include incredible mountain culture stunts, including skiing, biking, climbing, and hiking long dis­tances. This past spring, McCormick saw one of the Banff films in Ann Arbor with friends and she wants Outdoor Adven­tures members to par­tic­ipate as well, whether that means going to see the film or even hosting it at some point in Hillsdale.

“After seeing the film I really wanted to start a club,” McCormick said. “It’s always super inspiring and makes you want to go outside.”

McCormick said she found photos of a Hillsdale out­doors club in year­books from 1997 and 1999, but  she does not know if any other outdoor clubs have existed since.

Even if stu­dents don’t con­sider them­selves to be extremely out­doorsy but are inter­ested in the club, she encourages them to get involved.