Kimberly, Day Hiking Ambassador
After waiting an entire year, and then some thanks to El Nino, the snow finally arrived in Michigan riding on the back of Winter Storm Goliath. The best part? The storm brought enough snow to our area to enable us to snowshoe straight out our own back door. We couldn’t wait to get outdoors to explore this beautiful gift that Mother Nature had given to us just in time for the holiday season.
Our first tracks took us to the Mission Point Lighthouse and Park. Having lived here most of our lives, we have visited the Mission Point Lighthouse often, but were especially excited to explore the area via snowshoes. We couldn’t wait to see what it looked like under its fresh new blanket of snow. The park is known for its spectacular views, spacious beaches, deep wooded forest trails and of course the Old Mission Point Lighthouse.
Arriving at Mission Point Lighthouse we drove around the loop and found a place to park in the main parking lot, located next to the lighthouse and directly across from the main trailhead. There were many visitors coming and going, some returning from the lighthouse viewing area while others were heading out to the trails to enjoy the fresh fallen snow with their pups leashed up and leading the way. We grabbed our gear and headed over to the main trailhead bench to strap on our snowshoes. My husband strapped on his FLEX RDG snowshoes (Winter 2015) quickly using the (easiest-to-use) CustomWrap™ binding and one-step Boa® Closure System. It took me just a bit longer to get familiar with my snowshoe binding system, being the very first time out with my new Boundary Peak snowshoes. However with the REACT LTD™ binding system it truly ended up being a SNAP! Off we went!
We weren’t far down the trail before we were met by another visitor whose pup greeted us enthusiastically coming off from an obviously enjoyable adventure. We stopped for a brief and kindly greeting then continued on into the woods. The snow was pristine and glistened off of the trees as the sunlight peeked through the dark evergreen forest.
We trekked down the trail through the woods, looping around towards the lighthouse and beaches. The trails were well marked with rustic trail markers and a few reflectors making it easy for us to find our way. My new Boundary Peak snowshoes made it easy too, being lighter weight than I had expected and holding my foot securely making it easy to trek through a variety of conditions that we encountered from well traveled packed areas to the deeper more powdery snow.
We continued to meander along the wooded shoreline noting along the way, many large trees were toppled over and uprooted from the 100mph winds that had occurred during the big summer storm in August.
Later, arriving to another bench area at marker #4 we decided to follow the short path out onto the shoreline to take in the wintry views of East Grand Traverse Bay. (Of course, if you know me, you know that I love a good hike and especially one that includes a “Water Feature”) Even with its icy shores and snow covered beaches, the view was completely breath taking.
As our winter days are much shorter now and the sun was beginning to set, we decided to round out our adventure at the old fire trail road. Then we headed back the way we came, taking a slight detour. On the way back we decided to venture back out onto the shoreline to be able to pass by the front of the Mission Point Lighthouse. Because a visit to Mission Point would not be complete without a visit to the Mission Point Lighthouse and we couldn’t resist the opportunity to see her all lit up in her holiday glory.