ESCANABA - A wool-sock weekend is a wondrous, wintry thing in Upper Michigan.
Everybody has their favorites - grey knee-hi, wool and cotton blend, striped hand-knit boot socks, or the elastic-topped Timber Man's sock - all are cozy and warm on a sub-zero day.
Woolen socks are a popular Christmas gift for almost every Yooper. You don't have to be a dyed-in-the-wool outdoors person to enjoy their soft warmth. Sometimes just back and forth to work on a wintry day requires a thick pair of socks. Toasty warm socks on your toes on snowy nights by the fire-place, reading a book or watching TV can be a most comforting thing.
The best thing about woolen winter socks, however, is the stories they can tell. Their stories are adventures in a winter wonderland. The deep-snow forests; the wind-swept, ice-capped lakes; the ski trails; and the hockey rinks call out to people clad in wool socks.
Nothing feels better than a foot swaddled in its favorite sock, laced into a warm felt-lined boot, and harnessed to a reliable pair of snowshoes. It is a recipe for fun and adventure. Whether you're snowshoeing into camp or around the old homestead, or on groomed trail, chances are the scenery will be awesome.
Hunting and beagling on snowshoes can lead a person into some of the most pristine snow-covered swamps and woodlands in the wilderness.
Speaking of dogs, dog-sledding is a wool-sock sport that thrives in the U.P. Hitting the trail with the huskies at night and watching the starlight twinkling on the snow is surely a time to be grateful for warm gear.
Ice fishing, too, requires warm, wooly socks. If you're fishing on the outside or moving the ice shack, good winter clothes are a must. Even more importantly, every ice fisherman and woman has his or her own "lucky pair" of fishing socks sure to catch a walleye or jumbo perch when worn.
A frozen pond or an outdoor ice rink on a sunny blue sky, 14-degree day can be a fun place for the whole family. But little toes can get cold mighty fast, so good socks can mean the difference between smiles or "I'm never trying this again!"
Skiers and snowmobilers have their favorite foot gear, too.
Happiness is a perfect winter weekend - not too hot, not too cold - with a fresh sparkling powder of snow. The woods and hills call out to Yoopers.
If you can wear your wool socks almost all weekend long, from snowshoeing to ice skating, to hanging out by the camp woodstove, then you know you've had a great weekend.
Chances are you will sleep well after all that fresh air. And chances are you'll end up with a hamper full of wool socks.
Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong resident of north Escanaba. Her folksy columns are published each Friday in Lifestyles.