Enjoying the magic of winter trails

Karen Wils photo Hitting the snowshoe trail with beagles in tow.

ESCANABA — Like magic, Upper Michigan’s trails will whisk you into a winter wonderland!

Winter trails can pull on the hands of time and “tick-tock” you back into the days of old.

Cities have their six-lane freeways, cloverleaf exits and roundabouts. The pace is fast.

North country woodland trails bring the rat-race to a halt.

We are so fortunate that we can step from Computer Age comfort to the rugged, cold wilderness in one little leap.

Trails in the snow are important to snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, snowshoers, ice fishing folks, dog sled mushers and wildlife.

The deer and the rabbits have their runways in the snow.

The Department of Natural Resources and recreation departments spend hours grooming trails to make them safe and enjoyable for outdoors enthusiasts.

This year so far, it has been a real challenge keeping up our trails. The early snow, rain and sleet brought down branches and trees like never before!

Many of us have camps off the beaten path that required a chainsaw and some elbow grease (muscle power) to clear roads and trails just to get to camp.

Once a snowshoe trail is established into our camp, winter visits are great fun.

I fondly recall some winters of big snowfalls in the early 1970s. My dad and I, several brothers and cousins would snowshoe or ski into camp on the weekend.

It was a mini adventure.

We all took turns at “breaking trail” (going first) through the fresh fluffy snow. Someone pulled a sled with our grub and spare mittens. A dog or two tagged along too.

Heading out after a day of outdoor fun and hot chocolate was always much easier. We walked single file retracing our footsteps down that perfectly packed-down snowshoe trail.

U.P. trails, like the Grand Island Trail, the trail that connects Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, can almost take us back in time.

Native peoples and early pioneers snowshoed these woodlands with their backpacks or dog sleds pulling their belongings.

Most of the snowy woods are just as peaceful and quiet as they were a hundred years ago.

If you like to ski, Delta County has trails like the Days River Trail, the Cedar River Pathway, the Escanaba Cross Country Trail, and the Rapid River Hiawatha Forest Trail that are beckoning to you.

If you have a camp or a cottage as your destination, harness up your snowshoes and grab a hiking stick.

Hit the trail if you can this weekend. Dress warm, be safe and always let someone know where you are going.

Simple trails can lead to less stress, the beauty of nature and a good night’s sleep!


Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong north Escanaba resident. Her folksy columns appear weekly in Lifestyles.


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