While most normal people may be dreading the upcoming cold of the winter season, I sit here on the other side of the fence with a giddy grin on my face and butterflies in my stomach, knee bouncing, toe-tapping, anxiously awaiting the first big snow dump of the season. I don’t consider myself normal in any way whatsoever. I understand that I am one of those so-called diamonds in the rough.
When the deep freeze hits and the fluffy white stuff covers the land, I’m not at all one of those who bundles up in the house on the couch and becomes a hermit. Nope, I layer up and head outside as often as I can take advantage of the opportunity. Winter is my wonderland, and I take it on with gusto in my belly and snowshoes strapped to my feet.
I can hear my Yukon Charlie’s crying, pleading for me to take them out of storage and introduce them, yet again, to the thick snow covered hills that welcome them with open arms every year at this time. This year will be very exciting for me as well, as I got my wife her own pair of Yukon Charlie’s for her birthday this past January. However, once she opened them up, I could see the excitement in her, but it failed to snow again in our area. So, her snowshoes still go unused and virgin to the powdery hills to this day.
I’m eager as all get up to take her out to experience this winter wonderland and continue our hiking adventures well into this winter season. Abby, my 7-year-old, has already been exploring the trails on snowshoe adventures with me. I’ve even gone ahead and asked Santa for a pair of Yukon Charlie’s this Christmas for little Allie, my two-year-old. Making snowshoeing our family winter tradition would be spectacular.
What makes snowshoeing so exciting for me, you may be asking? Well, it provides a different perspective on some of the areas we have grown to enjoy during the warmer seasons on our family hikes. We can still enjoy getting outside in these areas even with many inches of snow on the ground. The snowshoes allow us to walk well above our typical vantage point, on top of the blanket of white powder that covers the ground. Abby has even told me,
“It’s like walking on the clouds.”
If you’re in Michigan when the snow is deep, make sure to check out the multitude of trails that our wonderful mitten has to offer. Most people think that you need to head up to the Upper Peninsula to snowshoe in Michigan but are misinformed in this aspect. There are many places to enjoy a grand snowshoe adventure in lower Michigan with at least 6 inches of snow on the ground. I may look to take both my girls and my wife back to Lost Lake, where Abby and I snowshoed last year. You can read the storyhere.
You would be pleased as pie to know that you can find many groomed trails in any of the multiple County Parks, Metroparks or State Parks and Recreation Areas. However, the great thing about snowshoeing is that trails aren’t required. You are not bound to stay on any trails and are free to explore and blaze your own trails. Make your own adventure and take to the woods. Just don’t forget to bring a friend and plenty of water and snacks, as you will break quite a sweat and build up a good size appetite with this winter activity.
If you don’t have your own pair of snowshoes, you can find that many places rent out snowshoes for you to use. I would recommend just utilizing Google to search for snowshoe rental locations in the area you are planning on since they aren’t easily found without the use of the internet. If you do plan on purchasing your own, I highly recommend Yukon Charlie’s brand. Check out their website here and you will see that they have quite the selection for all ages and sizes, as well as different designs and builds for any type of snowshoeing you can think of. I even have a deal for you if you are in the market. Just use promo code YUKONLOVE-RK1819 at checkout on the website to receive 35% off plus Free Shipping, good through 3/1/19. Get yourself a pair.
So, you may be asking what locations I may recommend for snowshoe adventures in lower Michigan? Well, I hear that Ann Arbor and Jacksonville have some great spots such as the Nichols Arboretum on the U of M campus or the Falling Waters Trail. I personally am looking forward to staying a little closer to home with my little one by exploring Stony Creek Metropark in Shelby Township. My neighbor has also recommended the parks along the coast of the thumb such as Caseville or Harbor Beach. I have also heard great things about the Waterloo State Recreation Area as well. However, you may just want to follow the blue blazes of the North Country Trail through the Huron-Manistee National Forest, and rack up some miles toward the NCT Hike 50 or Hike 100 Challenge and gain your badge. I hear that the trails of the NCT are well-groomed, challenging, yet gorgeous.
Wherever you choose for your Michigan snowshoe adventure, as long as you have some inches of snow under your feet, I’m sure you will enjoy yourself. Just remember to bundle up, stay safe, and have fun. We only usually get a short window of opportunity every year for this, to be able to adventure in new territories that may be impassable by foot during the warmer times. Enjoy your winter wonderland this winter. Don’t let a little snow stop you from taking your soul outdoors. It’ll thank you.