January 15, 2022: Moonlit Snowshoe Hike Recap

“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake,”
— Henry David Thoreau —

Last night’s moonlit snowshoe hike felt like a dream – it was truly a magical night for all.

About a month ago, the Outdoor Activities team at the Lodge was discussing different adventures to do this winter season and that would be special and unique for guests. Night time snowshoe hikes was one of the ideas. A great idea, especially with our drive to foster the night sky activities in the Keweenaw. Upon further discussion to hash out how the hikes would go and what dates would be good, someone suggested doing the hikes during the full moon!

We checked the lunar calendar and picked three Saturday nights that were close to a full moon: January 15th, February 12th, and March 19th. Yesterday, January 15th, was our first scheduled hike.

Our group met at the winter Outdoor Activities Center (OAC) at 6:30pm and prepped for our 7:00pm departure. We readied our snowshoes and poles, checked our lights, layered our clothing, and discussed the route. Some people brought their own snowshoes, others rented and some took advantage of the free snowshoes available to lodging guests. For some this was their first time snowshoeing, and for others this was their hundredth time. Regardless of experience, all that was needed was a sense of adventure. At 7:10 we headed out the door and began our trek. Mother nature gifted us a beautiful night. The moon was bright and we barely needed to use our flashlights.

The snowshoe trail was recently packed, so it was easy to follow in the moonlight. We traversed across the golf course and worked our way onto the Dancing Bear Trail. The moonlit shadows waltzed across the snow. Walking through the woods felt like a waking dream. We trekked under the cliffs glowing in the moonlight.

The group gathered for a moment on the edge of the woods and OAC guide, Tom Oliver, tried calling to a barred owl. He brought with him a small speaker with a prerecorded owl call. The group was silent, hoping to hear a call back; however, all we could hear was a gentle whisper of the night (there was hardly any wind). We trekked on, traversing back across the golf course. We snowshoed our way towards the main entrance of the Lodge on US Hwy 41. We crossed the driveway and started to climb the Blue Trail, a historic legacy trail built by the National Youth Administration (NYA) in the late 1930’s. We stopped one more time for Tom to try to get a barred owl to call, however, still no luck for a returned call by a creature in the wild. The Lodge was soon in our sights and the group made one final push up the last hill to the warmth of the historic Lodge building.

When we originally planned this adventure, we had no idea what the weather would be like. The Keweenaw receives over 200 inches of snow a year – let us just say it is SNOWS A LOT! We were gifted a beautifully clear night for our first ever Moonlit Snowshoe Hike at the Lodge. Fifteen of us had a magical experience that will be hard to forget. A dreamlike trek under the moon and the stars with friends old and new. It was truly fun, joyous and adventuresome.

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