by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL
If you were sleeping in New Year’s Day morning in order to recover from late-night New Year’s Eve festivities, then you missed out on a great way to step into 2010.
Another record crowd turned out for the annual Friends of the White Pine Trail (FWPT) New Year’s Day Resolution Walk. Gathered in and outside of Rockford’s downtown Rotary Pavilion were members of the Friends and others, many who have made these New Year’s morning walks an annual tradition for the past eight years.
This was a hale and hearty group of walkers who chose not to believe the previous night’s weather predictions on local TV outlets of four more continuous days of additional snowfall. One station even hinted at an additional 18 inches of new snow accumulation before all was said and done.
Apparently Mother Nature didn’t buy into the hype and rewarded the Resolution Walkers with a bright sun and blue skies to add to the crisp air and light winds. Perhaps because of the uncommon winter sun, a common salutation by everyone present that morning was a resounding “Happy New Year.”
Promptly at 10:00 a.m., Dave Heybour, chairman of the FWPT, welcomed and thanked everyone present for attending. He went on to say, “This year, folks, we are walking south instead of north. The turnaround point is a short two miles, just south of House Street, where you will see and appreciate one of two covered metal picnic tables that were installed this past fall. Wolverine World Wide funded the tables and, on behalf of the Friends and all Fred Meijer White Pine Trail users, we would like to thank Wolverine World Wide for this most recent contribution.”
An annual group picture was taken and the four-mile round-trip trek commenced. The trail had been cleared in the early morning hours and all of the walkers—young and old alike, accompanied by more dogs than ever—returned in about an hour to the cozy confines of a heated Rockford Rotary Pavilion.
Refreshments were then the order of the morning. Waiting was hot coffee and cocoa, along with cookies and energy bars. But best of all, again for the third year in a row, was Jennifer “Coney Girl” Idema with her original Detroit Coney offerings. Served from her stainless steel downtown Grand Rapids pushcart were hot dogs along with Polish and Italian sausage on buns. Toppings? You name it. Available were the usual mustard, ketchup, pickles and onions plus cheese, chili, sweet and hot peppers, and sauerkraut. Everything provided was free of charge, but donations toward the good works of the Friends were gratefully accepted.
Everyone left that morning with a full belly and a sense of having started a new decade on the right foot (or maybe the left)! See what you missed?
Happy New Year from the staff at The Rockford Squire.