Thursday, January 11, 2001

Annual hikes to observe Martin Luther King Day

By Jenny Callison
Enquirer Contributor

        Paul Daniels explains the significance of the hike he leads on Martin Luther King Day simply: “He walked, therefore we walk.”

        Each year, observing the birthday of the famed civil rights activist, Mr. Daniels guides other nature enthusiasts on an 11-mile trail around Acton Lake in Hueston Woods State Park. Mr. Daneils, a retired professor of zoology at Miami University, hasn't forgotten the reason for the holiday.

    Both hikes are open to anyone. The 17K group will depart at 9 a.m. from the Hueston Woods Lodge. Participants may buy breakfast at the lodge beforehand. The 10K and 5K walks volksmarcher walks will start from the nature center between 9 a.m. and noon. Lunch and refreshments are available in the nature center.
    For information about the longer hike, call 529-3220. Volksmarch information is available by calling 868-7471.
        “When we started this, we did it because it was a holiday and we had a full day to hike,” Mr. Daniels said. “But then I started thinking, we have a holiday because of what one of the greatest Americans of this century did.”

        So each year, there's a moment of reflection before the hike begins.

        Mr. Daniels was a supporter of the civil rights movement. He was involved — in a minor way, he said — with the Freedom Summer training activities that took place at Miami University in 1964.

        As in years past, the Miami Indian Trekkers “volksmarch” group also will hike around the lake, although their trail will be slightly shorter than Mr. Daniels'.

        “Most of our walkers do a 10K rather than a 17K. We also have a 5K,” said Pat McCormick, president of the Trekkers. “Afterward, we will have free drinks and cookies for all walkers, and will serve chili for a suggested donation of $1.”


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