Senior Ella Sloat tends to fall off of hammocks quite often.
“I am super clumsy,” Ella said. “If [the ground] is not a flat surface, then I will trip on a rock or a little root. I [do] that constantly, and it happens consistently. I have fallen out of hammocks quite a few times, and I have [eaten] sand from running down a dune and it going in my face.”
Though she may have clumsy moments once in a while when she is outside, Ella has always been one with nature.
“Just being outside is one of my coping mechanisms because it makes me feel grounded,” Ella said. “Whenever I have a bad day, something that [will] always cheer me up is feeling the sun or going on a walk [to let] everything go.”
Ella’s love for nature and the outdoors kindled when she was just a little girl. She would go on camping trips with her family, where her parents would teach her to appreciate nature.
This past summer, Ella and her family took a trip out west to Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park. It was Ella’s favorite trip because of the beautiful scenery that nature provided.
This spring break, Ella and her family are planning a trip to Sedona, Arizona. Her dad was doing a lot of research on the state and brought up the idea of going there to his family. With the help of COVID-19, the ability to travel has been very limited. Now that things are beginning to improve with the vaccine, Ella gets the chance to go out and travel, and she couldn’t be happier.
“We haven’t been able to travel for a really long time,” Ella said, “so this is the first time my family [and I are] going to be able to go out on a real trip.”
While Ella was talking to some of her friends, she discovered that seniors Audrey Sidebotham, Mina Siebert, and Anna Freihofer are also traveling to the same area as her. Ella and her friends have coordinated a way for all of their families to meet up in Sedona at the same time.
Traveling from the cool, dull spring days in Michigan to the sunny seventy-degree weather in Arizona is a drastic change for Ella that she is more than willing to experience.
“I’ve never been to [Arizona],” Ella said. “I feel like it’s going to be a really cool environment just to see how different it is from Michigan.”
What Ella and her friends are going to do in Arizona has not completely been set in stone; they have decided to play it by ear. Currently, the only thing they have booked is the Grand Canyon, but they are hoping to explore more places and do more things together. Something that Ella is really looking forward to on her trip is hiking, which is her favorite thing to do outside.
“[Hiking] is a good way to get exercise, considering that I don’t play sports anymore,” Ella said. “It keeps me active and out of the house.”
For Ella, it doesn’t matter where she is, all she needs is the outdoors. Whether it is the crisp, mellow spring days in Michigan or the bright, warm weather in Sedona, whether she is hiking or taking in the fresh air, Ella finds peace and tranquility anywhere that is outside.
“[Being outdoors] is really refreshing,” Ella said, “and it’s a lot better than being cooped up.”