Sunday, October 4, 2009

Catch-up with Beginners

Finally, I am making the intent to blog today after many months and many ideas. I will catch-up if only to honor the 6 women who backpacked with me and my co-guide, LaRae, last weekend at Oak Openings Preserve Metropark west of Toledo, Ohio. Let me introduce this awesome group:

Marita Deitering and Nancy Moriarty

Marge McClellan and Linda Wetzel

Lin Snare and Joyce Rusch

Before they got to "rest" in those tents you see in the above photographs, they had to walk 9 miles with all the gear Saturday. Elsa, a volunteer who joined us Saturday, is pictured 3rd from left.

Marge, Nancy, and Linda are well rested after Saturday's lunch. They proudly wear their Swan Creek Daybreakers t-shirts with the logo of their walking group.

Linda and Marita are checking our progress on the 17 mile loop.

We had great weather, but foul weather would not have deterred this hearty group of beginner backpackers. Five of the six backpackers walk 6 miles starting before 7 a.m. several days each week; all year, all rains, snows, ice, winds, pre-sunrise moonsets, but all the time with one zesty attitude.

After dinner Saturday, we cook s'mores for dessert. Doesn't the moon fit right in like a roasted marshmallow?

Sunday lunch is a picnic, literally, with this group which you can see is sitting up. On previous trips, many of the participants are flat out on the grass.

OK, OK, so one of them is lying down. Let's give Nancy a break. She is 74 years old. She fell backwards with the weight of her pack while resting on a log!

We completed the 17 mile, 2 day walk in fewer hours than any of the groups I have led on the same trail. Their daily walking and camaraderie makes a huge difference in the quality of their lives. Two of the ladies who started walking less than 2 years ago with the Swan Creek Day Breakers have cut their cholesterol levels in half and brought their blood pressure into normal range. What a drug this nature stuff is!

I love the way they love their walks in nature. What impresses me most about this group though, is that they are older than me, that is they are in their 60's and 70's. Nor have I ever led another group where everyone commented in the morning that they slept well on the ground with the 1/4 inch thick foam core mats. I shouldn't admit this, but they had a wood fire going and hot coffee ready Sunday morning before LaRae and I even woke up.

These daybreakers are early but worth catching up with. They welcome new walkers. You will find them walking from 7 to 8:30 a.m. every morning on the longest, main trail at Swan Creek Metropark. Dare ya to catch-up with them, then join us next year on the Oak Openings trail!