The 2nd Annual Snowshoe Hare event took place at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge on February 4, 2023 with a slightly overcast sky and temperatures holding steady at 9 degrees for most of the day. The schedule of the day included a 1.5 mile adult snowshoe race, a 100 meter dash kids’ race, a “History of Snowshoeing” presentation from Iverson Snowshoe owners, Jim and Victoria Baker, a traditional snowshoe demo, and a “Snowshoe Hare” presentation by local MTU ecologist, Tom Oliver. An in-house, German influenced Rabbit Sausage Stew with homemade croutons, served with a chilled Blackrocks Grand Rabbits Ale was served throughout the day in the Little Cabin Cafe.
Jim Baker, one of the owners of Iverson SnowShoes, discussed the history of snowshoeing across North America, beginning with models developed by North American Indigenous people. Jim and Victoria discussed the intricacies involved in making hundreds of pairs of snowshoes by hand each year as well as the different materials used for production. Currently, there are 7 different styles of traditional snowshoes on loan from the Iverson SnowShoe Company for guests to use during visits to the Outdoor Activity Center at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge.
Tom Oliver, of the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach at Michigan Technological University (MTU), led an informative lecture on the snowshoe hare, its habitat, and lifecycle. Participants learned about the differences between hares and rabbits and the influencing factors leading to the drastic decline in hare populations across North America in recent years.
To close out the event at 8pm, Amy Oestreich, Chris Guibert, and Max Collings led a 22 person group on a wilderness, moonlit snowshoe hike. The moonlit hikes are a chance for guests to venture into the undisturbed winter wilderness by moonlight and stargaze without the disruption of light pollution and maybe even have the chance to spot some wildlife, such as the rarely seen snowy owl.
To round out the Snowshoe theme, the Little Cabin Café offered rabbit sausage soup, as a lunch special, to help warm snowshoers coming in from the cold. The flavors of the sausage in the soup were complimented by those of kale, root vegetables, and chickpeas. The restaurant at the lodge offered Hasenpfeffer (marinated, slow-cooked rabbit), served with broccoli and jeweled rice. The Hasenpfeffer was tender and delicious and accented perfectly by the dried fruits in the jeweled rice. Grand Rabbits Cream Ale by Blackrocks was also available – and on theme.
The Keweenaw Mountain Lodge partnered with Iverson Snowshoes for this event. Iverson Snowshoes provided promotional materials as well as a variety of their snowshoe models which could be used by patrons, free of charge.
Amy runs. See Amy run. Run, Amy, run.