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Trekking on New Year's Eve: A short history through email (Thanks Dawn!)

Trekking on New Year’s Eve: A short history through email The beginning: 2002

Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2002 14:44:15 EST Subject: Re: Run around Ann Arbor

Heather writes: Charu lives out by Meijers off Carpenter road. Could we walk out there? The party starts at 7. I bet it would take us about 3 hours. Maybe 8-10 miles. That would knock off a bunch of streets for you (and maybe me too)! We could stop at Banfields on the way home (if we got there before 2AM) for a drink. Thus we could go out on Washtenaw and back on Packard. Would it count if you started the AA streets on the 31st? Anyway. Heather

Date: Wed, 1 Jan 2003 12:11:52 EST Subject: Re: Charu's address

Heather writes: Yup. Well done. The FBI could use you. H

In a message dated 1/1/03 12:03:15 PM, Dawn writes: << Is this the right one? I just looked up the St. in Ypsilanti. I remembered that the address was a 3 then all even numbers. From ???@???

Wed Jan 01 19:54:58 2003 To: heather From: Dawn, Subject: Taxes question Hi Heather, I hope you guys had a good new year. My other friend Heather and I went to a dinner party across town. We trekked over there and back -- 7+ miles each way (about 2 hrs walk). People tried to offer us a ride home but we thought it was a crazy and fun way to start the new year. We got through downtown when people were just staggering out of the bars. It felt good to be sober and active instead of having sat in a smoky bar drinking all night long. Dawn

2003: P.A.R.T.Y.: "Picnic Adventure and Resolutions Trek to Ypsilanti." From: Heather Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2003 00:42:05 EST Subject: New Years P.A.R.T.Y. Information To: Dawn HISTORY: Last year for New Years, Dawn and I trekked (hiked/walked) from our houses in the Old West Side to a party in a neighborhood east of Carpenter and Elsworth. It was an 8 mile journey. Then after midnight we trekked home! All year we talked about how wonderful it was to start the new year with a long winter's trek.

Invite your friends, relatives and neighbors to join YOU and us for a 15 mile trek across Ann Arbor all the way to Ypsilanti! We have mapped out a route that will take us through Ann Arbor's best parks and green spaces. We will meet at Heather's house The Eighth Street Trekker's Lodge Bed and Breakfast 5:00 PM, December 31

>From the Eighth Street Trekkers’ Lodge, we head north to Bird Hills, then far east through Island Park, the Arboretum, Gallup Park, Washtenaw Community College, Eastern Michigan University campus and finally to Depot Town in Ypsi. This is between 12 and 15 miles. We will stop at three or four designated rest stops on the way where we will eat and drink. It is a winter picnic! If you are NOT interested in trekking, we will meet you in Ypsilanti.

Our goal is to arrive at the Ypsilanti Jubilee in Depot Town by 10-10:30PM. We will celebrate, then after midnight we will take the bus (or a designated driver) back to Ann Arbor. It could be the best New Year yet! Sincerely / Heather & Dawn ____________________________ P.A.R.T.Y. PACKING LIST General: Taxi/bus money Small backpack Water bottle/water (1 liter) Headlamp/flashlight Toilet paper/tissue for runny nose Lip balm Depending on the weather: Boots/running/hiking/trekking shoes, well broken in, comfortable, warm and waterproof if conditions are wet Down jacket 2 Fleece layers Wind/waterproof layer with hood Long underwear, fleece pants/ski pants Warm socks Warm hat Mittens Neck gaiter, scarf, ear muffs Hand and toe warmers Camera? Food Ideas (this will be dinner): One dish to share (gourmet yet simple snacks/appetizers, soup or a warm drink in a thermos, must be easy to carry and easy to share and eat on the trail) A beverage of your choice Trail Mix Chocolate and/or more sophisticated desserts Also Bring: Fork, spoon, knife Plastic plate and bowl/mug Paper towels Trash bag Plastic bag for dishes Tips and Notes: If it's raining or wet, put everything in Ziploc bags inside your backpack.

From: Heather Date: Fri, 9 Jan 2004 11:43:50 EST Subject: Adventure Journal New Years Trek Dear Adventurers, I had to share the story of the first of many local TREKS to come. We had such a wonderful time on New Years Eve. I imagine one hundred people will join us next year! This story (below) was written by Odile Hugonot Haber, a neighbor and friend who joined the team for the 14 mile trek from Ann Arbor to Ypsilanti on December 31.

Article -- In Current Magazine (Ann Arbor), there is a new column on the back page titled "In Other Words". Amy Kuras, who was also with us on the New Years Trek, is the featured writer for January. I liked her essay very much and encourage you to read it. Also, YOUR travel stories and adventures would be great to see there in the months to come! _____________________ Adventure Journal New Years Trek from Ann Arbor to Ypsilanti 14 Miles December 31, 2003 by Odile Hugonot Haber Visiting the Himalayan Bazaar in Heather's garage on the corner of Washington and Eighth Street, I heard that Heather was organizing a Trek from Ann Arbor to Ypsilanti on New Year's Eve. Heather usually leads treks through the Himalayan Mountains in Katmandu, Nepal. I was very excited about the idea of trekking in my own back yard. So I responded to the call and there we were at 5 o'clock on New Year's Eve, assembling ourselves at Heather's house. Our bags seemed heavier than they ought to be! We were gearing up, ready to brave the elements, so far five women. We were awaiting two more. We had to remind ourselves that we were not going to be spending months and months in the wilderness. Chapstick anyone?

Then we took a picture of our courageous group for posterity. We, Karin Elling, Amy Kuras, Susan York, Dawn Tillbury, Rachel Forringer, Heather O'Neal and I started up Pomona Road at a pretty good pace. In fact to be honest, I, the senior in the group, had to work hard to keep up. It is at moments like this that one realizes one has aged! In our sedentary society it is hard to notice otherwise. So we went up Sunset and down towards M-14. Then we crossed the highway on an overpass to enter Bird Hills Park.

It is especially exciting to be walking in the woods at night with seven women! It made me think of Take Back the Night and legendary folk tales. The woods were silent. The half-moon lit the countryside, and the tree shadows webbed the ground. On top of the hill we paid tribute to one ancient tree, and we walked down the hill arriving on the shore of Barton Pond. The water was partially frozen and reflected the moonlight. All the stars were out too. We had our first brief stop and shared Chai tea, chocolate and cookies.

Invigorated, we continued towards the dam. I especially enjoyed crossing the river and hearing the water roar under the bridge. It reminded me of the sound of a mountain torrent I had crossed often as a child growing up in the French Alps. Then we followed a new trail along the Huron River towards Argo Dam which was recently completed by Amy who works for the City Parks Department. We walked two by two. Often groups interchanged. We shared stories and discovered who we were along the road. Soon we were near the Broadway Bridge. We were now back in town, and we could see the city lights in front of us. We crossed the road and hiked toward Island Park.

At the park we huddled around a table near the river. Rachel's headlamp fixed in a tree gave a festive appearance to our picnic. The sight was a little peculiar. Here we were sharing delicious baked Brie, mulled wine, delicious food and recipes in the night, in the wilderness, in front of the hospital -- my work place! But the air was cold, and we were getting cold rapidly so we repacked everything and continued towards Gallup Park. Two men joined the party: Kurt Gardner and Ed Brewer, and we were moving swiftly through the park. Somewhere there I became aware that the tongue of my heavy hiking shoe was painfully squeezing my right foot. This was slowing me down considerably. I was pretending that my foot was not connected to my body, but to no avail, the soreness was increasing. I stopped a few times to readjust my shoe but this did not improve the situation. This is the first wisdom one learns from hiking: take a pair of well broken in shoes. We stopped and shared some smoked salmon.

Then Heather, as a good leader, offered to carry my pack. I was a little ashamed but tired and did not refuse. By now we were crossing Washtenaw Community College, among the buildings and through the woods. We ended up on Clark Road. At this point, I could have called my husband to come and pick me up, but I was not willing to give up yet. I pressed on with the group.

We walked along Eastern Michigan University's stadium and cut across toward the EMU campus on a tiny little pedestrian road between two neighborhoods. A new trekker, Don Ottens, joined us. At the other end of the little road, we stopped to rest and had some dessert.

I remembered that my wise husband had encouraged me to take along my jogging shoes so I switched. I took back my pack since I now felt as if I had wings. I could walk without pain! The help Heather gave me allowed me to regain courage and confidence enough that I could take care of myself again. A good lesson in trekking: help goes a long way.

Then we arrived on the EMU campus which we crossed diagonally. We marched on towards the river along Forest and into Depot Town, our final destination. When we arrived at the Farmer's Market Building, Heather changed and put on a shinning top and some dancing shoes.

Inside a man was guarding the entrance and Heather explained: "We walked all the way from Ann Arbor. Can we have a look around to see if we want to stay?" He was taken aback and looked at our group. I remember I had my heavy trekking shoes tied around my neck and a big smile on my face. The nice man invited us all in free of charge! It was 11:30 almost midnight.

We were extremely proud of our accomplishment, and we danced late into the night. I was happy to see my husband, Alan, and a friend, Harry Clark, who had come to join us along with a few other friends.

At home that night, I realized my pack was full of things I had forgotten, filled grape leaves, rice and dried pineapple. I was sure that between all of us, we had packed enough food to keep us going a couple days more.

I was sore the next two days but what a nice way to start the New Year!

New Year’s Eve 2004 From: Heather Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2004 13:58:40 EST Subject: New Year's Eve Weather Report Hello Trekkers, The weather report for tomorrow, Friday, December 31, New Year's Eve, looks pretty good! 50! high, 34 low 14% chance of rain Partly Cloudy 65% cloud cover 9-13 mph winds Food: Bring a snack, appetizer, main dish, side dish or dessert to share. I

will carry as much as I can. My backpack is big. Wrap food in plastic bags or other disposable light weight containers. Think simple and be creative. I will bring paper plates, napkins, cups and plastic ware for everyone so you don't need to worry about that.

Drinks: Water is a good idea. You will carry your own drinks. A thermos of hot chocolate or coffee might be nice on the trail.

Trail Conditions: Most of the way we'll be on paved trails that have been plowed. However, some of the bike lanes have not been plowed so we will be walking through snow in some places. We will walk across a snowy field at one point, too. Your shoes should be waterproof. At least bring an extra pair of socks in case your feet get wet. Plastic bags over your shoes can be useful when going through the snowy areas. It is supposed to rain tonight so I'm not sure what that will do to the snow on the trails. It's pretty well packed down in places so it could become slick or icy. Good tread will be helpful in slushy snow and on ice. I plan to wear my running shoes AND a pair of over-boots.

Train Tracks and Streets: We will be crossing the train tracks and a few busy streets. When walking in a big group it is easy to walk into traffic without paying attention. BEWARE of cars and the occasional train. Always look both ways!

Clothing: Layering is good. Bring an extra jacket. Fleece is good. When we stop to eat and rest it can get cold. Mittens/gloves, hats, etc., will be good. Also if you have a small seat, like for the football stadium, we will be sitting on the ground in places and at cold picnic tables. A plastic bag works pretty well too.

Ride Home from Ypsi: You should arrange your own transportation back from Ypsilanti. I plan to take a car there in the afternoon tomorrow (leaving here around 3:30PM). I will leave the car in the Frog Island parking lot just near Depot Town. My car will fit 4-5 people. If friends are going to meet you in Ypsilanti, we should be trekking into the Sidetrack Bar and Grill (56 Cross St in Ypsilanti) around 11PM. I will have a cell phone with me.

Cancellation: If you need to cancel, please let me know. I am making a reservation at the Sidetrack for 20 people.

I look forward to meeting you and seeing you tomorrow. We will meet at 5:00 PM sharp. We will try to get the food organized quickly so we can leave by 5:15. :) Sincerely, Heather O'Neal Of Global Interest LLC Adventure Travel Serving your need to experience the world.

From: Heather Date: Sat, 1 Jan 2005 15:00:02 EST Subject: Happy 2005! To: Dawn Hello Trekkers, I hope you have seen the article on the FRONT page of the Ann Arbor News today, January 1, 2005 ( Well done! Thank you so much for participating in this year's New Year's Eve Gourmet Dinner Trek. I am amazed and inspired once again. Thank you for a wonderful trek!

John Frame was wearing a pedometer which he said read 16 MILES! You can pat yourselves on the back a few more times.

Did anyone loose a head lamp at the Sidetrack?

Thank you for your enthusiasm and your endurance. I am proud we started the new year with a fifteen mile hike. Congratulations to us! Happy 2005! Sincerely, Heather Of Global Interest LLC Adventure Travel

Dinner Trek 2005 From: Heather Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 21:13:32 EST Subject: Weather Report for New Year's Dinner Trek to Ypsilanti Hello Trekkers, Here is the Weather Report for tomorrow, December 31, 2005: It looks like snow in the morning that may become a bit wet as the temperature hovers around freezing in the afternoon. Then in the evening the temp drops 2-3 degrees to a low of 28 and the cloud cover goes from 90-85%. The sprinkles (if they last) may freeze so we should be prepared. Bring rain gear. :) The places where we stop to enjoy our gourmet dinner are covered so no worries there. Later in the early evening, the probability of precipitation goes down so it should be good.

I checked parts of the trail today and the sometimes-muddy spots are OK. The old snow could be somewhat icy under the new snow which could be slushy later in the day tomorrow. Be prepared for wet conditions, snow, possible ice and possible mud. We will also cross a snowy field if any snow accumulates tomorrow morning.

Good tread, waterproof - well broken in - hiking/walking/trekking shoes are essential. Bring extra socks and an extra warm layer. A hat, mittens and a wind/rain layer will be essential. I like having something to sit on like a magazine or one of those stadium cushions. And don't forget to bring a good attitude too! Any and all challenges mean good FUN and adventure!

Please pack whatever snacks, gourmet dinner items, desserts you bring in reasonable carrying dishes. I am happy to carry all the food. I will bring plates and utensils and a secret remedy for blisters. We will also have a cell phone with us.

While trekking WATCH for cars (though we won't be on/near roads most of the time). PLEASE pay attention at all times and watch out for each other, too. We will meet here at my house in the Old West Side neighborhood. Look for the rock sculpture on the corner marking the trail. We will assemble quickly(!) and then be off. I will be giving away a GRAND prize to ONE special trekker. To qualify you have to start at the Lodge and end at the Sidetrack - in other words, no cheating and getting in your car part of the way. :) I look forward to seeing you tomorrow at 5pm sharp. :) Sincerely, Heather Of Global Interest Adventure Travel Ann Arbor, Michigan

New Year’s trek 2006 From: Heather Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2006 10:28:50 EST Subject: New Year's Gourmet Dinner Trek to Ypsilanti - Update To: undisclosed-recipients:; Hello Fellow New Year's Eve Trekkers, I am looking forward to the New Year's Trek to Ypslianti. I hope you are as well. Let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to seeing/meeting you!

Sunday's Weather Forecast: The other day the weather report said "chance of light rain" and yesterday it said "likely light rain" and now it says "likely rain". :) It went from 40% to 60% to now 70% probability of precipitation. No problem. There are places in the parks that are covered where we can stop to eat. At least it won't be too too cold. High of 42 low of 38. Wind looks like 13-16 mph. I think it's manageable...

What to Bring/Wear: In addition to the suggested items from the list on my website, a wind and rain layer will be a good idea. Quick drying clothes (jeans are not so good), an extra pair of socks, waterproof or quick drying shoes.. A seat is a good idea. I carry a small square of an Ensolite pad to sit on. A magazine also works (but is heavier and may not hold up so well). An extra layer of warm fleece is a good idea too.

Cell Phone: If you arrive after we have left the house or want to meet us on the way, you can call my cell phone to get our coordinates. If I do not answer on the first few rings, please call again. (It means I am struggling to find the phone.) The times below are estimates. We may arrive a little earlier or a little later. Our goal is to be at the Sidetrack in Depot Town BEFORE midnight. This means we need to move along. No dilly- dallying. :)

5:00PM: We will leave the Trekkers' Lodge SOON after 5pm on the 31st. 6:30PM: Appetizers at Barton Dam or at Bandimere shelter if it's wet. 7:30PM: Dinner at Island Park. 9:30PM: Dessert at Washtenaw Community College 11-11:30PM: Sidetrack Bar and Grill in Depot Town

You can leave a car at any of these stops. You can meet us on the way and walk to the next stop, etc. We are flexible. Meet us at Dixboro Dam if you want to walk the last (roughly) five miles. We should be moving through that intersection from Gallup Park to WCC around 9PM.

I Will Bring: Plates, silverware, table cloth, salt & pepper, candles, etc. I will have a basic first aid kit and a blister remedy. If you are injured or feel a blister coming on -- we need to stop and fix/solve the problem before moving on. Such things only get worse. We can call a taxi if you decide not to continue. I am happy to carry the food. Please try to bring easy to serve dishes packed in light weight containers.

Leaving Cars in Ypsi: If you need help leaving a car in Ypsilanti, meet Dawn and I at the parking lot behind the businesses - opposite the Sidetrack in Depot Town in Ypsilanti at 3:30pm on the 31st. Turn left on Rice Street, just after crossing the bridge as you enter Depot Town. There is a parking lot there on the left near Frog Island Park. Dawn and I will have a car there at 3:30pm if you need a ride back to Ann Arbor. I will bring my cell phone in case you don't see us. If you want to drive to the parking lot in Ypsi together, we will leave the Trekkers' Lodge at 3:00pm. Dawn and I will wait at the lot in Ypsi until 3:30 before driving back to AA.

Trail Conditions: I have checked most parts of the trail. The route looks good. It is a wee bit muddy in places - but not too bad. With rain there could be more mud. Wear sturdy boots or running shoes that are well broken in. Bring an extra pair if you are worried about blisters. There are roots, twigs and branches in the trail at times so watch your step.

Always keep an eye on the trekkers behind you so that the front of the group does not get too far ahead. Always watch for traffic when crossing roads. Wear reflective gear if you have it.

I hope a little rain won't dissuade you. I am looking forward to a long walk Sunday. See you here at my little yellow house with a wraparound porch. There's a rock sculpture on the corner marking the trail. Happy New Year! Sincerely, Heather Of Global Interest Adventure Travel The Eighth Street Trekkers' Lodge Ann Arbor, Michigan From: Heather Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 13:42:56 EST Subject: New Year Adventures Happy 2007! To: undisclosed-recipients:; Hello Adventures, Happy New Year! I hope your midnight celebrations last weekend have you in good spirits for the new year - even if you were only reading a book and watching your digital clock shift from 11:59 to 12:00. Perhaps at that point you were not thinking about me and my adventurous comrades. You might not have noticed the torrential downpour that was occurring outside any Ann Arbor, Michigan window - as we (myself and 20 others!!!!) were heading out on a 15 mile trek from Ann Arbor to Ypsilanti.

And if you weren't thinking about us at all, you wouldn't have known that we spent the evening completely drenched - head to toe and especially during our time in the muddy, dark woods of Bird Hills. It was raining harder than I've seen in a while. It was December and should have been snow! Global warming perhaps?

At many times during the journey, my feet were one-hundred percent sloshy-wet and the trails were composed of thick goopy mud in places with random slick spots!! I took a wrong turn on the trail but didn't think anyone noticed until I read one trekker's report online. We went a little out of the way and made our way back to the route without anyone falling at least. Then I fell and changed the rules of our New Year's game: "Whoever gets to Ypsilanti with the most mud wins!"

It was hard to see in the dark. People had lights which I fully endorsed and recommended, yet I found the lights to be distracting and confusing - especially in the fog - since one only looks where the light is and unfortunately cannot see all around. I learned from an attempt on the Grand Teton that real outdoor people adjust their eyes to the place and do not rely on flashlights...

We had a very hearty group of 21! trekkers who started from the Trekkers' Lodge B&B. We ended at the Sidetrack in Depot Town with 15 in the group. We arrived about 2 minutes before midnight. :) We were happy to sit down. Then the waitress said that the former mayor of Ypsilanti, Cheryl Farmer, had called and would like to buy us a round of drinks!! That was so nice of her and totally unexpected. It was great.

Here is a map of the route we took. It's not exact, but you'll get the idea. If you are interested to walk to Ypsi along this path, I'll lead the way anytime! If you trekked this route with us on New Year's you can post a review

Dawn's photos will be posted on my website soon. I was completely surprised and amazed by our group. Everyone was a good sport. No one fell in the mud (except me), and everyone said they had a good time. We are very proud of ourselves. I feel good though my shoulders are still a little sore from that huge backpack. We ate well. Yum! If the weather had been good I am sure there would have been 60 more trekkers with us! Maybe next year. Tonight starts my "Travel Thursdays" series. Trek on over to the Lodge if you can. Hope to see you. Happy New Year! Heather

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