SOLE hikes to crash site and plans future events

Grace Jordan, Campus Carrier arts & living editor

This site on Lavender Mountain is were the 1991
crash occurred. There is no longer debris from
the plane, but there is a dent in the ground
where the plane used to be. Helaina
Epps | Campus Carrier

The Society of Outdoor Life and Exploration, SOLE, is an organization devoted to planning outdoor events like hiking, caving, biking and rock climbing. On Oct. 17, the organization hosted a hike on campus to an airplane crash site. 

According to the New York Times, the plane crash happened on December 12, 1991. The jet was carrying nine people in total, five of which were top executives of Bruno’s Inc. Bruno’s Inc was a supermarket chain, known most for their supermarket Piggly Wiggly. The crash site is only six and a half miles from where they had taken off. All nine passengers and pilots were killed. 

Junior Helaina Epps, vice president of SOLE, says the plane is no longer at the crash site and all of the debris has since been removed, but there is a visible spot where the plane once was. 

“They cleared that out for environmental reasons,” Epps said. “There is a dry, dead looking area that really destroyed the land there. You can see where the plane crashed into it, there’s a dent in the mountain and there’s still no trees growing there. It’s just grass and shrubs.” 

Junior Colleen Visser, president of SOLE, and Epps both went on the hike to the crash site of the airplane. They reported perfect weather conditions for the hike and said there was a good turnout. 

“The weather was absolutely perfect,” Visser said. “We had a great number show up, we had about 23 and it was a really nice hike.” 

Visser mentioned that the hike was one of the more challenging hikes they have done this semester. It is around four miles total and involves brush and multiple breaks. It takes around three hours to compete. 

“It is hard. It is definitely more strenuous,” Visser said. “It’s a lot of uphill, especially for a half a mile it’s just straight up. We had to take some breaks.” 

Epps and Visser said that before every semester starts they have a meeting with their officers and plan a tentative schedule based on what the club has done in the past and what the members of the club would like to do. The events also depend on the weather. 

“We just tell [students] to dress in layers,” Epps said. “And then they can take off what they need depending on how hot or cold they are. Our events typically start around 11 a.m. That’s usually when it starts warming up in the winter. We’re not starting around eight or nine in the morning.” 

On Saturday, SOLE is doing a collaboration with Public Animal Welfare Service’s animal shelter and they will take two dogs for the day and take them on a hike to the House of Dreams. They also plan on doing a s’mores event and a tree tour for the remainder of the semester. 

SOLE has events almost every Saturday. 

“Saturday’s are for SOLE,” Visser said. 

If you would like to walk a dog during this weekend’s hike RSVP in the Berry Events app. To find future events, check Berry Events and the Stall Wall. 

3 thoughts on “SOLE hikes to crash site and plans future events

  1. Several in accuracies about the crash in this article. If you want better information on the incident. Let me know. My bonofides are that I was a store manager at the food max in Rome. Had breakfast with the team. And later worked in the Birmingham corporate office until 1998.

  2. First of all, I am at a complete loss on the reason that your organization decided to organize a hike to the place where my father, Edward C. Hyde and other Bruno’s Top Executives lost their lives. I highly doubt any of you were even alive on December 11, 1991 when the accident happened. It was a very cold and foggy morning the morning the accident occurred. They had left Birmingham, AL very early on Wednesday, Dec 11 to fly to Rome as they were doing Christmas tours of grocery stores in Rome and eventually Huntsville, AL then back to Birmingham. I am extremely offended that you little organization has the gall to make this scared ground part of your little events. I am absolutely sickened. I really wish that you would please never do this again. 9 people died there and lost their lives and this accident destroyed families. There is nothing to say about it and there is no reason whatsoever to visit the site or try to find debris, etc. Again, I ask that you please leave this site alone and encourage other groups to do the same. I get so tired of Berry College thinking that students can just hike up there and walk around where my father lost his life along with 8 others. Maybe we can go hike to Gettysburg or Normandy or Pearl Harbor just for fun…I am beyond hurt and vilified that your group did such a disrespectful thing.

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