A Really Cool Day

Hey! My name is Amber Kavie, and I am a freshman on the Detroit/Chicago HILT, and I am a Vocal Music Education major. I was interested in going on one of the HILTs from the first time I got an email about them. At that point, I was in Dr. Steinwand’s Oil Boom Inquiry, so environmental justice and social activism were big things on my mind. I’ve always been pretty passionate about living sustainably and advocating for the environment which made the decision to apply to one of the trips super easy. I can’t wait to see what this trip has in store for the next 8 days.

So, Day Two. With an unanticipated night in Kalamazoo behind us (thank you snowstorm in Wisconsin) we drove the final leg of our journey and arrived at the St. Paul Dearborn Church around noon. We were immediately greeted by the warm couple who had so generously offered to house us for the next few days. It just so happened that one of them had a friend that had gone to Concordia, and she very kindly wrote us a little welcome note on their whiteboard (and even included Kernel Cobb). We got the grand tour of the church but had to dash as we had a hike to get to. One hour later (and perhaps one or two missed turns) we pulled into the parking lot of the historic barn at the Highland Recreational Area in White Lake, MI. Although we had previously anticipated it being warmer in Michigan than Minnesota, the cold weather (and Fargo wind) followed us. Eager to get the blood pumping, we joined up with the Sierra Club and started on the 5 mile hike. It was super cool to talk to this awesome group of hikers and tell them about our trip, our school, and our passions. We learned so much about Edsel and Eleanor Ford (Fun Fact #1: Edsel was the son of Henry Ford and became the youngest president of the Ford Motor Company at the age of 29) and their getaway on Haven Hill. The hike was beautiful (even with the cold and wind), and the time went by quickly. We regrouped back at the barn and learned a little bit more about the history of the area over cups of coffee and cider. In the end, I was eager to get back into a warm van, but went away with a feeling of contentment and accomplishment. After being in a van for 14 hours, it was delightful to get out and actually burn some calories. This hike was an excellent introduction into the area. I could just tell that the people going on this hike loved the area and loved nature, and that is so important. We need to find ways to preserve land like this so that we can appreciate it. This park, along with many others, create a ring around Detroit. It just goes to show that even in a city founded on the automobile, recreational space and nature can still be valued. I think we can all take a page out of Detroit’s book on this one. (Oh, and if you are ever in Dearborn, I highly recommend Brome Burgers and Shakes. Phenomenal.)

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Fun Fact #2: This is one of the two fireplaces on either end of the Ford’s lodge.
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Fun Fact #3: This park has all of the types of trees that can be found in Michigan within the park’s borders.
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Fun Fact #4: Cattails are an endangered species, but they were flourishing here.
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