Traipsing Through the Winter Woods

Traipsing Through the Winter Woods

I am in love with Newaygo County.  We’ve lived here three years now and keep discovering hidden treasures. If you love to be out in nature as my husband and I do, then each season brings new adventures and experiences.

I did not think snowshoeing sounded like much fun.  I have loved cross-country skiing since my teen years.  What’s the sense of walking with big tennis rackets strapped to my feet? My husband, from Manton, MI, had his old, childhood pair that I tried on once.  No way did I want to traipse around in those. I do love them as winter porch decorations, however!

Yet, after we got our snowshoes last Christmas and took our first outing, I knew it would be a new favorite of mine.  The smaller, lightweight shoes allowed us to venture where our skis would not. They also opened up so many more trails to explore.

The perfect snowfall day came the day before the start of the new year.  Those of us wanting to get out into the snow, this winter has been a bit slow.  So, out we go as soon as it falls. Luckily, we can head out our front (or back) door, to get into the woods or water.  Being our lake hasn’t frozen to a safe thickness, we headed into the woods, but we did NOT take the trail. So much fun plowing through fresh powder, the crisp winter air filling our lungs. We kicked up a young deer that bounded off and away.  So beautiful to watch as it leaped over fallen trees. 

 

Resonate Trail

Later, when the snow fell again, I headed to a public, yet little-known trail, just north of Newaygo: Resonate Trail that I had hiked with friends for the first time this fall.  This trail is located behind the Resonate Church at 302 E 68th St, Newaygo, MI 49337.  Drive into the parking lot and take it all the way back to where it meets the woods.  You will see a trail information station. This 2.5-mile Peter-Pan-Adventure loop is full of interesting views, handmade bridges back and forth across Penoyer Creek, hills, fields, wetlands, and forests. Along the way there were benches and now and then fire pits one could set up to roast marshmallows or warm-up.  I felt like a kid spending the day in my own little woods (even though it’s walking distance into town and I had cell phone signal the entire hike). 

The trail is a mostly easy travel and well-marked by yellow paint splotches on trees or branch-tied orange flags and a few lamented-paper trail signs.   At the start the traii is wide enough for two abreast; however, it quickly gets down to single-file. I was glad I had my small snowshoes to get through the trail and then over the bridges.  Once, due to ice build-up, I decided to take off my snowshoes while crossing a small bridge. About mid-way into the hike, I decided at the trail split to take the Upper Bridge Trail over the lower.  This was a beautiful view. I could see the lower trail and creek most of the way. However, the way down to the Upper Bridge was very steep and somewhat icy, so again, I took off my snowshoes and was thankful I had my hiking poles to dig into the slope. I noticed that had I taken the Lower Bridge trail  it would have been a slightly shorter hike. Although the woods called to me to venture off the trail, by the end of my hike, a slushy snow mix started to fall so I headed back to my car.  I definitely plan to take my husband here next time.

 

Other areas for traipsing in the winter: 

Baker Woods: Hesperia (a popular X-Country running Race-venue)

Branstrom Park Trails: 1.9-mile loop, Fremont, MI

Coolbough Natural Area- Overall easy hike and well-marked trails

Minnie Pond Campground area-Just northwest of White Cloud near Harris and Alger crossroads

Mosquito Creek trails– On Maple Island about 5 miles N of Apple Ave

North Country Trail: If you park at  Pine Avenue and Croton Drive, you will find the trail goes north and south.  Also, you could park at Kimble County Park and take it along the river towards Pine Avenue.   However, this isn’t a loop trail so you may need to set up a drop-off or pick-up. 

Many of the lakes have public access and are great to snowshoe if the ice is at least 4” thick. 

Newaygo State Park: 2793 Beech Street, Newaygo MI, 49337

One final word that was suggested to me by a veteran Newaygo County snowshoe aficionado about traipsing into winter wilderness areas such as these, make sure to pack a small backpack with emergency supplies (food, warmth, water, and compass), especially if you go off the beaten path. 

By Katie Clark

First Time Hiker

First Time Hiker

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit, that even growing up next to the Manistee National Forest, literal minutes from the North Country Trail, my first time hiking it was this past winter… in my mid 30’s!  While my preferred adventure typically includes a glass of wine on...

Winter Wanderings: Newaygo County’s Trails

Winter Wanderings: Newaygo County’s Trails

I first learned to love cross-country skiing during my senior year of high school after befriending a Norwegian exchange student named Ingvar.  My first trip out was perfection.  A snow day from school and the type of snow globe snow falling through the trees onto us...

Christmas Season Festivities

Christmas Season Festivities

I grew up in Newaygo country. My memories of the area are rich odes to the senses.  There’s the feeling of the cold river running over my feet in the summer, sunlight on my face as it blinked through the rustling tree branches along the bank. There was the taste of...

Church’s Tree Farm

Church’s Tree Farm

Finding the right tree!Snow fell, and we said goodbye to fall as if it were a thing that never existed. There were never leaves of red, yellow, or orange decorating the skyline. There were no greying trees of exposed branches and bark. There is only this place, this...

Fall Color Tour Time! 

Fall Color Tour Time! 

Top 5 places (and maybe a few more) to take great Fall color photosFall is my favorite time of year. I love watching the rainbow of colors change from day to day. Science says that water and temperature determine when a tree’s leaves turn colors. I don’t much care for...

About The Author