Snowshoe adventures at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

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Kim, Day Hiking Ambassador

Life is good and life is blessed living near the Most Beautiful place in America. We’ve always felt very blessed to live in this beautiful place, where family and friends look forward to visiting, usually during the warmer months. We love taking them out on long hikes, exploring, especially our favorite trails at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This is where you will find us most weekends until autumn arrives, and life slows down and most begin to hunker down for the winter. That was until we discovered Snowshoeing!

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Snowshoeing opened up a whole new world for us during the long winter months in Michigan. Gone are the days of hunkering down and staying indoors. Now we look forward to weekend micro adventures! Getting outdoors, exploring the beauty of nature without the masses of people, the peacefulness and solitude for only us to enjoy.

Just recently, for example, we had a wonderful weekend visit by our daughter, home from college. It was a short but sweet weekend, as usual, but we decided to make the most of it and being a Tubbs Snowshoes Ambassador made it even better by having extra snowshoes for our daughter to use. So we packed up the truck, our yellow lab Bear and headed out to Sleeping Bear Dunes. It had been some time since our daughter had been there and she had never seen it during the winter. What a great adventure to share with her, to make a memory, and a chance to show how much our fitness and endurance level had increased. Better to keep up with her now. Something we attributed to our previous snowshoes adventures while she was away. 😉 This would be fun!

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We arrived at the trailhead and parked along the road where there were many other cars. This caught us by surprise as this was not a well known spot. Then we noticed an official looking emblem on the side of one of the trucks. Ah ha! It was the National Park rangers guided snowshoe group! Apparently they had chosen this trailhead for their weekly Saturday snowshoe tour. We weren’t too sure about having so many extra people out on the trail. But what the heck, the more the merrier, right?! So we headed out anyways!

We strapped on our snowshoes and headed up the trail winding through the woods. Halfway up the trail we met up with the guided snowshoe tour. Of course Bear had to stop and greet everyone, as if you know Bear it is always ALL about him. So everyone said hello, gave Bear a pat on the head and off went again on our way leaving the park ranger to finish the local history lesson she was presenting.

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We continued to trek on up the trail to an old farmstead with several out buildings next to a large meadow. I pointed to the very large hill across the field. “See that hill way over there? We’re going to climb that!” Our daughter glanced back at me quickly. “Really?” Once again we had surprised her. “Yes! We climbed that hill before, once with our mountain bikes and once with our Tubbs Snowshoes”. Daughter: “COOL!” She seemed a bit surprised.

We crossed the snowy field and then after lifting and locking in our heel bars we began our climb. The hill was steep but we climbed with ease all the way to the top! Both my husband I and were wearing the Tubbs FLEX RDG and our daughter was wearing the Tubbs Mountaineer snowshoes. Both snowshoes had aggressive carbon steel toe crampons and side rails which enabled us to climb the icy snowy hill with great traction and ease. Our daughter completely impressed announced “These snowshoes are amazing! I want some next year!”

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At the top the view was spectacular! We peered out over the pure blue icy waters of Lake Michigan and the frozen sand dunes. The dune cliffs were covered in a wintery mixture of snow and ice, sprinkled with the wind whipped sand. We stayed for a while to enjoy the view, catch our breath and to snap a few photos before we headed back down to the trailhead below. It was an easy and flat trek back across the snowy meadow to the farmstead. We were barely winded! The snowshoes made it easy in the deep packed snow. As we came to the beginning of the woodsy trail our daughter broke away in a snowshoe sprint. We followed, chasing her downhill, laughing and playing until our truck once again came into view. I turned to my daughter and suggested she take a photo before we leave. Just then she stopped, grabbed at her pocket and realized, her pocket had unzipped somewhere along the way and the brand new iphone that she had just gotten for Christmas was GONE!

Oh no! Where on earth had it fallen out? On the cliff? On the trail? Who knew?! Panicked my husband and daughter trekked back up the trail retracing our footsteps while I stayed with Bear frantically dialing her number with hopes that they would hear it ringing. As luck would have it, the guided snowshoe tour group just happened to be on their way back down the tail at the same time. They heard the phone ringing and quickly put two and two together when they spotted my husband and daughter searching frantically in the snow. The group spread out and with great team work they located the iPhone buried beneath the snow still ringing, and not broken. Wow! Amazing! A great lesson learned! Always secure your iPhone in a safe interior pocket and we highly recommend investing in a good quality waterproof, bright colored case if you plan to take your phone along with you while snowshoeing. Plus never leave it on mute! The iPhone was saved and so was our special day and we will always be forever grateful for meeting new friends out on the trail!

 

Happy Trails!

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