Four Trails Update – Rivers and Roads

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Tomorrow begins our 6th and final weeks of summer camp at Miniwanca. We can’t wait for all of our groups to finish out their adventures strong and for our oldest campers to join the in-camp community for some final closing days. Here’s the breakdown and a look ahead at the coming days:

Trailblazers are in camp this week after completing their adventures canoeing and hiking through the Manistee National Forest. They learned a lot on their adventures: how to build a mobile community and take camp with them on their travels, how to put up tents, purify water, and cook on a camp stove. This week they’ll dive into interest groups: sailing, paddle sports, crafting (of all kinds), and a variety of other fun and interesting things. They’ll also help us down at Graceland as our oldest campers all return in the coming days. They’ll help us welcome everyone back, gather their gear, and begin to clean it. We can’t wait to spend more time with them.

Explorers began their final adventure yesterday as they hit the roads for 5 days of cycling around coastal west Michigan. They’ll cycle north today, headed toward Hart and Ludington. In two days they’ll begin looping south again toward Pentwater and back to camp. The trip is short and sweet, but full of beach time, swimming in lake Michigan, and ice cream. They also have visits scheduled with David and I—we’ll surprise them by visiting them while they’re on trail. We’ll lead a fun evening reflection and bring them a special treat to celebrate their final nights on trail.

Adventurers have officially the halfway point of their trip and will cycle for three (or four for the adventurer girls 2 group) more days before arriving back at camp. Yesterday and today the groups ascended Arcadia Hill, a beautiful spot on the road where they reach the top of a huge hill overlooking Lake Michigan. They spent some time at the top reflecting on their adventure and the obstacles they’ve overcome along the way. Still to come: Adventurer ride-in at Miniwanca where we’ll celebrate their accomplishments as one  large camp community.

Voyageurs have passed through the McCoy Islands and are just three short days of paddling from their pickup in the Parry Sound. Though we haven’t been able to get many photos of their trip in the past couple of days, we have spoken to the groups and most are asking for more days on the bay because they have been having such a good time. One group asked us just to come up and resupply them with food so they could keep going! The bay is a powerful place and they’ve enjoyed waking up to the sunrise and dancing in the sunset each night.

After an incredible ride-in at Merrowvista, Odyssey is spending another day at Merrowvista. They had a reflection early this morning at the waterfall, a pristine and beautiful spot in the woods at MV. This afternoon the groups have an extended rest hour and will focus on planning the Evening Reflection for the entire Merrowvista community. It will good practice for the Odyssey Vespers ceremony that they will lead for the entire Miniwanca community. Tomorrow they’ll hop on a bus early in the morning and begin their journey back to Miniwanca, stopping first in New York for a night along the way. We’ll have one more blog post before ride-in but here are some details to keep in mind:

Voyageur and Odyssey ride-in happening from 9:30am-11:30am on Wednesday, August 7th. It’s a special day and for this reason we allow close friends and family of our Voyageur and Odyssey campers to join us for the festivities! If you wish to join us for ride-in we ask that you park in the Girls Camp (West Camp) parking lot and be in place at the Green Acre by 9:30 am. The trip groups will be preparing for their grand entrance at this point and will be riding and paddling in at around 10 am. Once all the trips have arrived back safe and sound with us there will be time for pictures, hugging, etc until around 11-11:15 at which point, both camp communities start gathering for the rest of the day’s activities.  We ask that all visitors depart by 11:30am.