Wednesday, December 15, 2010

#21: Deerfield Park, In Memory of Richard Bolton

On an overcast morning Andy Mytys pulled up and I hopped into his car for the drive to Mount Pleasant, Michigan to join dozens of others for the memorial service for Richard "Dick" Bolton. I was part of the small contingent of people who knew Dick through hiking activities focused on the North Country Trail and through the Great Lakes Hikes email group (hosted at Yahoo Groups as "greatlakeshikes"). We arrived not long before the service was meant to start and so were settled down in the basement (undercroft as the church pastor refers to it) amongst a couple dozen other people. The nave was full of everyone else. This modest sized, oldest continually used building, 1882 I believe was when it went up, was a fine place for the memorial service.

After the service people scattered to regroup at a nearby school for a nicely put together lunch. This was where people really had a chance I think to talk and perhaps share memories of Dick. I can't say if that really happened or not but I hope it did. For those of us from Great Lakes Hikes though the highlight of the day was after the lunch. We drove over to Deerfield Park (in Isabella County) to spend a few hours wandering through a perennial favorite place of Dick's throughout the years. This was the first time I had been to this 591 acre park and that added an extra special bit of pleasure for me. I can fully see why Dick enjoyed visiting the park and strolling the few miles of trails that wander through forests of beech, oak, and pine as well as along the banks of the Chippewa River. The afternoon weather had not cleared but when within the forest none of us really noticed the breeze. It was fun to talk through the woods and past things like Bailey's Rock which all have meaning for those of us who either talked with Dick about Deerfield Park or read his numerous missives about the park.

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