What we did on our summer vacation…

widIn homage to the inevitable first writing project assigned once school starts, we thought we’d write the story of our summer here at Sure Foot Adventures.

Our summer started in a exciting way with a camping trip along the Chattooga River with a group of Quakers from the Atlanta and Athens Friends Meetings. If you’ve been in the southeast this summer, you know that this summer has been REALLY hot and punctuated with heavy rain storms. dsc04688Our Quaker Camping Trip demonstrated that summer was here. Hot and muggy on Saturday, the rain held off and gave us time to swim in the river and relax in the sun. It rained during the night but we were able to have a dry breakfast. It was a great way to start the summer with an intergenerational group of people ranging in age from pre-teen to 70+.

After that camping trip (our fifth in as many weeks), we took a break from overnight trips and put our focus on day programs. Earlier, in the spring, we had started our Sure Foot hikers club. Then, in early June, our day hikes were the featured “Deal of the Day” on livingsocial.com. We spent the whole weekend before honing our website and making sure we had all the correct information posted about our day hikes and overnight trips. The deal offered one of our day hikes for $10 (usually $20/person) and we sold hikes to 272 people! The day of our deal was great fun for us because we received so many calls from new hikers and so many emails from new and old friends telling us how excited they are about our company.

dsc04929So all summer, we’ve been leading day hikes with lots of people who are new to Sure Foot Adventures. Though (as on any adventure) there have been some misadventures – a missing geocache on our Geocaching Day Hike, a short-lived wrong turn on our Blood Mountain Day Hike, and a bridge out on our Emery Creek Day Hike – the hikes have been great fun. Catie and Jonah, who have led most of the hikes, have really enjoyed meeting lots of new people. We’ve hiked at Amicalola Falls, Emery Creek, Raven Cliff Falls, Blood Mountain, Vogel State Park, and Anna Ruby Falls.

dsc04919Jonah also led a couple “custom” day hikes – one for a young man named Hunter who celebrated his 17th birthday with a hike and one for a group of Odsc04963rthodox Jewish young men and women who were doing a summer program at Congregation Ariel in Dunwoody. For both hikes, we visited the East Palisades Trail along the Chattahoochee River. Both groups had special adventures. Jonah and Hunter ended up bushwacking down a cliff and then climbing in a bamboo forest. The group from Congregation Ariel rolled up their pants and happily waded into the river, eventually sitting down and lying down in the water.

But our day programs weren’t just limited to hiking. On July 24 (one of the hottest days of the year), we teamed up with Bicycle Tours of Atlanta and the B*ATL Festival to lead a bicycle tour of the Civil War Battle of Atlanta.We had more than a dozen participants and completed an 8-mile ride, visiting the historic sites of the battle while Sure Foot’s Jonah told the story. We sweated a lot and consumed a great deal of water, but it was nothing compared to how soldiers from both sides must have felt marching endless miles while wearing wool uniforms and poor footwear.

spilly2_smallThen, in August, Jonah taught another Raising City Chickens Class & Tour. Ten hopeful chicken owners met Jonah’s chickens (including Spilly the Blind Chicken) and visited four other coops in the Kirkwood neighborhood. We are particularly happy with our chicken classes because so many of our participants have now successfully started their own coops. We’ve designed the class to be practical and hands on and we’re pleased that participants feel so confident afterward that they often order their birds that day!

dsc05046Finally, we ended the summer with two fun camping trips – the YouthPride Summer Camping Trip and then the Fall Family Camping Trip on Labor Day weekend. Both times, we camped near Dicks Creek Falls, hiked along the Bartram Trail, and were able to spend hours basking in the summer sun along the riverbank.

So, our summer was well-spent, successful, and lots of fun. In all, we welcomed more than 100 participants to Sure Foot programs. Dana took a Adventure-based Counseling class (as part of her masters program), Catie’s been running the Georgia Tech challenge course (her other job) as well as leading Sure Foot day hikes, Nancy has developed a seamless grocery-shopping system for Sure Foot and even joined us on our recent Quaker Camping Trip, and Jonah led lots of Sure Foot programs and was even hired to be a storyteller at a birthday party in his spare time.

So, what awaits us in the fall? More day hikes, camping trips with the Friends School of Atlanta and Arbor Montessori, a custom backpacking trip with the Garrett family, a nature-photography day hike with David Foster, and a new program – Cumberland Island camping trips.

We’ll also be working with schools doing environmental and outdoors education programs. Dana and Catie are developing a Sure Foot Challenge Course, and Jonah is always scouting new locations in the north Georgia for Sure Foot hiking and camping trips.

We hope to see you on an upcoming trip!