Whether it’s climbing an old fire tower to get a better view of the Appalachians with your cousins, hiking through Austria with your geology class while studying abroad, or simply From a weekend walk with friends, Kenzie Looney dabbled in hiking for at least a few years.
Experiences like these inspired a psychology major from Clarkston, Michigan to help found the new Saint Mary’s Hiking Club, Beautiful of the trail, last July.
The club plans to provide local hiking opportunities every two weeks for community members on all three campuses to socialize and enjoy the outdoors.
“The purpose of the club is to get out and explore nature with other people who love to explore nature and just appreciate the land God has given us,” Looney said. “We have a really cool nature campus trail, and people don’t know much about it.
Bringing more hikers to the trails in the College’s 100-acre natural area is one of its primary goals. Last Sunday, Trail Belles hosted its first event, a three kilometer “get to know” hike through the natural area.
“It went pretty well,” Looney said. “We had quite a few freshmen there who were really excited. “
In addition to continuing to explore the campus trails, the club hopes to offer a variety of local excursions to state and city parks.
“Lexi [the other co-president] and I researched many different hiking sites around campus and in the area, ”Looney explained. “At the moment our goal is to increase the numbers and go to Potato Creek sometimes. In the spring our main goal is to have a dune hike meeting and hike the trails there. Lexi also mentioned St. Patrick’s Park, so this is also a possibility.
Bridget Starner first met Looney when she was RA in Starner’s dorm last year. Starner – a young psychology student from Hershey, Pa. And vice president of Trail Belles – added that South Bend’s Rum village park is another potential hiking destination for the club.
Growing up in central Pennsylvania, Starner spent his teenage years hiking and admiring the northeastern waterfalls. She got involved in Trail Belles to continue enjoying the outdoors during the school term and to meet new people.
“We created the club because we wanted people to get out and enjoy nature, especially with the pandemic going on,” she recalls. “We wanted them to be able to take a break from schoolwork and be outside with others who like me have the same interests as them.”
Being a new club, she added that the officers have been active on their personal Instagram pages, in an SMC Facebook group and at the College Involvement Fair earlier in the semester, gauging potential members’ interest and their favorite hiking outings.
“Everyone is welcome,” Starner said. “We just want to let people go out and have a carefree time. ” To learn more about Trail Belles and get involved, SMC students can visit the Belle Tour club portal. Members of the Notre Dame and Holy Cross communities should email Co-Chair Kenzie Looney at [email protected] for more information.