Nearly 40 Detroit hikers headed to Oregon this year. Here, they’re taking a break on the trail.
Nearly 40 Detroit hikers headed to Oregon this year. Here, they’re taking a break on the trail. (Ross Hotz)

The 2021 hiking adventure in the Bend, Oregon, area was the Detroit Hikers 19th hiking trip.

After a year’s hiatus due to COVID, a group of 39 Detroiters were happy to reconvene for their annual hiking trip in September. The 2021 hiking adventure in the Bend, Oregon, area was the Detroit Hikers 19th hiking trip.

Hikers learned about each area’s geography and wildlife.
Hikers learned about each area’s geography and wildlife. Ross Hotz

The trips are organized by Richard Stoler, D.O., Bloomfield Hills, who says that there are now more than 140 alumni of the group. They enjoy the camaraderie, outdoor beauty and physical exertion of hiking for four to five days in national parks around the U.S. 

Participants choose among three levels of difficulty. Hikes vary from about 6 to 15 miles daily, depending on the terrain. Local naturalists hired for the group provide detailed information about each area’s geographic characteristics, wildlife and vegetation. 

The Detroit, Oregon, mayor met with the Detroit Hikers to talk about the town’s plans to rebuild after a recent fire.
The Detroit, Oregon, mayor met with the Detroit Hikers to talk about the town’s plans to rebuild after a recent fire. Ross Hotz

This year’s trip to the area around Bend, Oregon, on the edge of the Cascade Mountains featured spectacular panoramas of mountains, forests and lakes. A special feature was a trip to Detroit, Oregon, a tiny town established in 1891, which was named for Detroit because of the large number of settlers from Michigan. The town suffered a massive fire last year and local officials, who met with the hikers, are trying to raise funds to replace some of its buildings.  

Stoler says that 90 percent of the Detroit area hikers are Jewish. Due to the large Jewish component, most days the group gathers a minyan so that participants can say Kaddish for their relatives. He anticipates a return to a larger group — 90 participants — for the 2022 trip. 

The hike passed clear mountain lakes.
The hike passed clear mountain lakes. Ross Hotz
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