Chris Dunlap, Glenn Achey, and Fred Richter have always loved the challenge of a good hike, which is why they are proud members of the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown Hiking Club. Since its establishment in the spring of 2022, the club has planned and completed monthly hikes all over Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, and York counties.
But this isn’t about those hikes. One day while enjoying a nearby hike, Fred approached his friends with a striking question and a big smile: “How would you two like to go on a road trip?”
Soon after, the trio sat down and organized a 2-week adventure ranging across Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Each day was planned, with camping reservations made, places to visit and possible hikes to do, but also with plenty of time to take advantage of any intriguing possibility that presented itself.
“The desire behind the trip was to eventually visit the Northwest Angle,” Fred said. “This was always a goal of mine, but we also are history buffs and wanted to visit different historic areas.”
To visit the Northwest Angle of Minnesota, the trio had to enter Canada, drive 40 miles through Manitoba and then re-enter the U.S. at the Northwest Angle (a small bit of U.S. territory surrounded on all sides by Canada or water). To top it off, while there, they visited the Lower 48’s northernmost golf course, post office, school, bar and phone booth (that was actually coin-operated and boasted a real phone book).
Other memorable trip destinations included River Raisin National Battlefield Park near Detroit (the only National Battlefield marking a battle in the War of 1812), Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Lake Superior), Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (Lake Superior), the headwaters of the Mississippi River near Lake Itasca in Minnesota and the highest points in Michigan and Wisconsin. While visiting these destinations, the group averaged over 7 miles/day hiking, with the longest day being 12 miles.
“Our total mileage hiked came to 108 miles,” Chris said.
Along the way, although they battled swarms of mayflies, mosquitoes, bull flies and even a turtle trying to nest under one of their tents, they also enjoyed pristine beaches, coastal “sea” caves, historic shipwrecks, lighthouses, monumental battlefields and four of the five Great Lakes.
“And it wasn’t just the sights that were memorable.” Fred said. “I’ll never forget, or try again, that mashed potato-covered pizza Chris and I had in Michigan. If you journey out farther like we did, you go places and try things most people don’t. You get to see the natural beauty of these sights and have it all to yourself.”
While the trio is satisfied overall with their 4,100+ mile road trip, the adventures may not be over.
“We will most definitely go on another trip. I know Fred probably has a few ideas in mind that we will end up doing,” Glenn said.
They agree that the astonishing sights they viewed, the kind and interesting folks they met and the memories they made, make another trip almost inevitable. After all, they’re out to prove that adventurous spirits only get better with age.
About the author: Camdyn Lehman is a public relations associate at Masonic Villages. She is majoring in business administration and minoring in marketing at Eastern University.