by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL The unseasonably warm weather during the days leading up to New Year’s Day morning conspired to create unbelievable conditions for the 10th annual Friends of the White Pine Trail Resolution Walk. As a result, a record crowd of well over 300 people stepped off under a bright sun and blue skies to enjoy nature and a morning of good cheer and fellowship. Greetings of “Happy New Year” were the order of the day. To add icing to the cake, the temperature was 43 degrees and the trail was totally clear of ice and snow. It was almost surreal. The geese, along with the white swans and ducks on the Rogue River and in the air, were in total agreement. Their calls and honks could be heard joyously in the background. Believe it or not, we even saw a small frog hopping across the trail! So many people participated in the walk that Dave Heyboer, chairman of the “Friends,” had to rush to the supermarket to pick up additional hot dogs that were being provided with all the trimmings, free of charge, to all in attendance. The Friends, in appreciation to their many members and the peoples and businesses of the communities through which the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail passes, host the annual walk.
Friends of the White Pine Trail New Year’s Resolution Walk
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.