With a gloomy forecast projected for the weekend, a clear, star-filled sky came as a joyous surprise to the Outdoor Adventures Club who went camping over fall break.
The annual Sleeping Bear camping trip hosted by the Outdoor Adventures Club took 26 Hillsdale students to Lake Michigan at the Sleeping Bear Dunes. Most of the campers spent the entirety of their fall break on the trip.
“That night while we were making dinner the sky just cleared and the moon became really bright,” junior Danae Sollie said. “We thought it was going to be rainy all night but then it was the most beautiful night.”
Freshman Sonya Wirkus said the evening was the best moment on the trip for her.
“You’re laughing with your friends but then you become quiet and you’re just looking at the stars,” Wirkus said.
Students were at liberty to do as they pleased during the trip, whether hiking or exploring the nearby Traverse City.
“It was really nice to not have a schedule,” Wirkus said. “You can do what you want and put aside school-related things.”
This freedom lent itself to community bonding on the trip. Days usually began with one individual telling the rest of the campers their plan to go on a hike or scenic drive, and an impromptu group forming.
Cooking by the campfire also proved to be a way of bonding.
“Not everyone knew each other but by the end there was definite community,” Sollie said. “There’s something about making food over a campfire that is really bonding.”
Time around the campfire was spent experimenting with a Dutch Oven, making apple crisp, cooking chili, and telling stories.
“We were just trying to figure things out,” Sollie said. “It was an adventure just to make dinner.”
For junior Ella Williams, the trip provided a chance for a break but also a different way of living.
“It was nice to get away and be in nature,” Williams said. “We watched a lot of stars and sunsets.”
Sollie said the motivation behind the trip was to give relaxation and rest for the students, as well as an adventure.”
“It’s kind of cool because people are from so many different areas of the country,” Sollie said. “For a lot of people, it was the first time seeing Lake Michigan or a Great Lake.”
For some, adventure was the opportunity to live independently.
“Nothing is ready for you in camping,” Williams said. “You have to do everything yourself. It was a different way to live.”