Hikers gather with their backpacking gear in the parking lot at Hayden Park
Courtesy | Charles Steele
While many students snooze their 7 a.m. alarms on Wednesdays, a small group of economics professors and students trek through Hayden Park.
The group has hiked with light packs, since Sept. 22.
“It’s a lot of fun,” freshman Anna Coln said. “I really enjoy hiking, so it’s nice to get out with other students and faculty here.”
The size of the hiking group fluctuates every week. Last week’s outing included 10 people. Yesterday, just four set out on the hike.
Associate Professor of Economics Roger Butters and Chairman and Associate Professor of Economics Charles Steele spent time hiking together when they organized an economics conference and hiking trip in Montana this summer. The day after gathering in a room donated by Montana State University for the conference, they took off to hike with a group of 16 people, each associated with Hillsdale.
“We thought, ‘That was a lot of fun,’” Butters said. “‘We should do that all the time.’”
After returning to campus, they decided to organize a group to continue staying in shape. After inviting students, faculty, and the Outdoor Adventure Club, their first group came together for a short prayer and convocation before heading out in pouring rain for their first Wednesday hike.
Despite Hillsdale’s mostly flat terrain, Butters said the single track mountain biking trails remind hikers of the mountains. Steele said many places to backpack in Michigan aren’t different from what they have available in the park.
“I definitely want a mountain to be built. I’ve insisted on that ever since I got here,” Steele said jokingly. “You make do with what you have.”
The group isn’t training for a particular event, and there’s no particular skill set or goal required to join the group. Steele, an avid ultramarathon athlete, finds this type of workout to be a …….