Mother-Daughter Backpacking Weekend


MAY 1-3, 2020



This trip is designed to encourage and empower mothers and daughters to enjoy time together outdoors.  Led by a mother-daughter duo, this weekend trip follows the Mason Tract Pathway along the banks of the AuSable River.  Whether you’re a backpacking veteran or a first-time hiker this trip offers the perfect opportunity to create new memories and deeper connections.  No prior experience is needed, just a willingness to learn and give it a try.  Trip leaders will coach participants in packing, outdoor cooking, setting up and tearing down camp, and other necessary skills.  Participants may bring their own gear, but tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, and stoves can be borrowed from camp.

Participants begin the weekend with an overnight stay in cabins at Camp Timbers to finish preparing and packing.  Saturday will be spent on the trail, with overnight rustic tent camping following a 2-3 mile hike.  Optional extended hikes will be available on Saturday for those wishing to explore more miles of the trail.  Participants will hike back 2-3 miles on Sunday morning before returning to Camp Timbers by bus.


Friday: Mothers and daughters arrive at Camp Timbers between 6:00-7:00pm. The evening includes an introduction to the trip, time for sorting and packing group supplies and food, and a campfire.

Saturday: After breakfast the group will travel to the trailhead by bus (35 minutes from camp).  Participants will hike 2-3 miles along the pathway, with scenic views of the AuSable River.  The hike is at-your-own pace, with one trip leader at the front of the group and one at the back.  A rustic campground, Canoe Harbor State Forest Campground, will be the destination for lunch and overnight tent camping.  Following lunch, participants may choose to set up camp and enjoy a peaceful afternoon or continue their hiking adventure along the trail.

Sunday: Participants will be picked up by bus after breakfast for the return trip to Camp Timbers.  Time will be spent sorting gear, cleaning up, and enjoying lunch – with a closing session of “next step” suggestions for future backpacking adventures.  The weekend concludes between 3-4pm.


Ellie and Tina are excited to share their passion for the outdoors and backpacking!  As trip leaders, and a mother-daughter duo themselves, they have developed this trip to empower others  to feel confident in taking on trails together.

This is Ellie’s 3rd year leading trips for YMCA Camp Timbers.  She has extensive  backpacking experience, both within our state, country, and internationally.  She is certified as a Wilderness First Responder and well versed in Leave No Trace practices.  Ellie is currently studying education at Northern Michigan University.  She loves “being part of the strong group connections, watching the growth of campers, and making lifelong memories.”  This summer she will lead adventure trips for teens to South Manitou Island, the Au Sable River, the Pictured Rocks, and Isle Royale as part of YMCA Camp Timbers’ trip program.

Our other trip leader is Ellie’s mom, Tina.  Tina also has extensive experience backpacking and hiking in our state as well as other parts of the country.  She is an educator with experience teaching students in pre-K through high school.  She currently teaches elementary special education and Nature Based Young 5s.  She loves sharing her knowledge of trails, hiking, and backpacking with people new to these adventures as well as hearing stories from other experienced hikers and backpackers.


Participants must be able to hike up to 3 miles unaided, while carrying up to 35lbs in a backpack.  The trail is relatively flat, but contains sand, exposed roots, and other minor obstacles.  The  recommended age is 7+, and all youth under 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult.


The cost is $165 for each mother-daughter pair.  This includes Friday lodging at camp, all meals (Saturday breakfast through Sunday lunch), camping fees, and transportation between Camp Timbers and the trail.  Additional daughters, aunts, and grandmothers can be added for $75 per person.


Please feel free to Brian Miller, Camp Director, with any additional questions regarding this weekend trip.  He can be reached at or 989-345-2630.


Register Online