A Cold Day’s Hike…

…and we got kissed by dogs 🙂 (Special thanks once again to the Beatles for the chance to bastardize a song!)

So last time I complained about how cold it was, and that despite the low mercurial level, we were getting on just fine.  After all, we are nothing if not determined. (Well, I suppose I have probably more frequently been called cantankerous, but that’s another post entirely.)  Feeling a bit trapped indoors  by my cold-weather aversion, we resolved to check out a winter festival yesterday.  There would be a chili contest, ice carving, and a snowboarding show.  We didn’t go.  We did, however, get excellent treats at Moka, a fabulous coffee and other stuff cafe in Bellaire.  Frankly, they had gotten significantly more snow than we had, and it was unsurprisingly significantly less cleared.  So, we are currently resolved to go the the Traverse City winter festival, to be held in about two weeks, featuring snow carvings.  If last year’s leftovers are any indication, it should be fun!

But I’m not writing to tell you about what we didn’t do so much as what we did.  Apparently the skies cleared so much that several cold-temperature records were broken overnight.  Accuweather reports that it was -10 here.  Less than 50 miles east of here, it was -35.  I can’t corroborate those, because it was too cold to bother!  However, because of the clear skies, we woke to an absolutely blinding and stunning morning.  After precisely no deliberation, we dressed for the apocalypse, and set off for the west coast.

Yep, that's me. Not even my nose is out 🙂

And that's Tony. Check out the snow shoes! (for the record, his nose IS out...)

We went to the beach in Empire first, because though the drive over was full of pristine, cloud-free skies, it looked like we would shortly lose the dazzling white and blue in favor of cloudy blue-grays.  I hopped up on the beach wall to take a shot:

View looking over the snow and ice-covered sand in Empire

The ice shelf was impressive, but ultimately we were too chicken to venture out very far on it.  That would’ve required scrambling over some large chunks of ice then over water we knew to be at least chest-deep.  We probably would have been fine, but when it’s just the two of us, and it’s 14 degrees and windy, I don’t like to stake my life on a “probably.”  I did, however, walk over to check out a new-to-me current flowing from along the sand out into the lake.  During the summer, this is a plain ol’ water-meets-sand kind of beach, but look how much cooler this is:

Awesome sand sediment - a study in geology

After tromping around a bit, we headed off to a favorite hike that overlooks the dunes and lake.  We had the snowshoes ready, but decided they could stay in the car – other hikers had made them unnecessary.  Swish, crunch, squeak…repeat.  It was the loudest hike I think I’ve ever taken.  Any time we wanted to talk, we had to stand still to hear over the rustling of our snow pants and compression of snow under foot.  And when we did stand still, you could hear…absolutely nothing.  When we weren’t busy compacting the snow, the snow was busy insulating all the forest’s sounds.  Utterly magical stuff, that snow!  And after nearly a mile, we were rewarded with magical views:

Looking north toward the dunes

Close up on the ice, as seen above

Looking south, oddly, toward the setting sun as it spotlights the ice on the lake

View of the trail we hiked out upon

We had originally decided to watch the sun set from this vantage point, but frankly, it was too cold to stand and wait for it.  So, we set off for the Platte River beach (you know, where we’ve taken many other sunset shots and done lots of kayaking…Oh, it sounds just like everywhere else?  Well, you’ve seen it here before ;))  On our way back to the car we were greeted by some cute (aren’t they all)  dogs bounding up the trail.  I even got a kiss from one happy guy 🙂  There were little tufts of snow gathered anywhere they could hang on, and I was thinking about how snow sits in places you wouldn’t think possible:

Cute evergreen, weighed down. Look at the right branch...

...and look at it now 😀

Magical, I tell ya! Anti-gravity snow, comin' right up!

Anyway, on down the road!  The clouds seemed to have held off for our hike, but we did catch a few flurries, so we weren’t counting on much of a sunset.  We were wrong.  Hey, it happens from time-to-time…you should be glad 😉

Sand-n-snow dune + Platte River reflecting sunset = beautiful

Climbed on a picnic table for this one, but now you can see the water of Lake Michigan

Looking over the dunes along the river...a little mellower, but also more true-to-life

We loved how the snow-frosted dunes were reflecting the sunset

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4 thoughts on “A Cold Day’s Hike…

  1. That’s a pretty sweet sunset. Gives Tahoe a run for it’s money. Yep, I just compared Michigan and Tahoe favorably. Now kiss my feet.

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