Thursday, February 07, 2008

Michigan Nature Association to lead snowshoe, ski trips in Keweenaw sanctuaries Feb. 9, 16

HANCOCK -- Join a Michigan Nature Association sanctuary steward on an exploration of two Keweenaw sanctuaries in winter on two Saturdays, Feb. 9 and Feb. 16.

The first will be a Snowshoe Hike into Redwyn Dunes Nature Sanctuary at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9. Meet at the trailhead on M-26, about 1.5 miles north of the Jam Pot, across from Great Sand Bay and a few miles south of Eagle Harbor. Parking is available 1/8th mile further at the turn-out overview.

A view of Great Sand Bay in winter. (Photo © 2008 and courtesy Charles Eshbach)

This beautiful 1-mile loop trail takes you through the Red Pine covered dunes of Great Sand Bay, down along the dune ponds, then up a grand dune to a magnificent view east to Brockway Mountain. It's short, easy, and scenic. Bring a thermos and a snack to enjoy as you admire the view.

"The Redwyn Dunes snowshoe at Great Sand Bay should be attractive to the casual snowshoe hiker who maybe isn't in the best physical shape," says MNA's Charles Eshbach, who will be leading the snowshoe hike. "This trail is gently rolling over old sand dunes. The weather will be cold (teens) so that will help us older folks from over heating. It will be a great time."

Those who prefer a ski adventure can join MNA's Cross-Country Ski Trip into the Estivant Pines at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16. Meet at 11 a.m. at the end of Lake Fanny Hooe Rd. near Copper Harbor.

"The Estivant Ski Trip is a nice workout for most occasional skiers," Eshbach notes. "It is a very gradual climb from Lake Fanny Hooe to the Estivant Pines on the snowmobile trail / road, then one mile of twisty up and down trail through the old giants. Then a beautiful glide back down to Copper Harbor."

This 5-mile, round-trip adventure will take you into the wilderness sanctuary where the solitude is deafening, as you ski through the ancient white pine in their winter dress. Bring a lunch and don't forget your layers as it is warm going up and cool coming down. It's moderate in difficulty as we negotiate the easiest loop trail.

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