Michigan winter camping along the Pine Valleys Pathway. – January 21 & 22, 2012
We got an early start, meeting at 7 am, for the drive up to the Pine Valleys Pathway trailhead on 7 mile road just north of Baldwin.
We loaded up our sleds and headed down the path into the morning sun. It was 12 degrees when we left, but it didn’t take long to warm up pulling all of our camping gear.
There was about 6 inches of new snow the night before. All of the snow still hanging in the trees made for a nice 1.5 mile trip in to the hike-in campsites on Lost Lake.
The view of Lost Lake near our campsite. At one time the DNR maintained the walk-in campsites here and there was a pit toilet and water pump. Today all that is left are the campsites and fire pits. We melted snow for water, but other times of the year you will want to take a filter.
Our campsite. It looked like there were 3 other places nearby that would make good sites. We chose this one because it was a little lower and behind a group of pine trees in case the wind picked up.
After setting up camp and cutting firewood we put the snowshoes back on and headed back up to the trail. The trails are marked very good with blue triangles and there were maps posted at most of the intersections.
Heading down bluff on the east end of Lost Lake. It looked like this would also be a good spot to setup a camp. Photo by J.V.
The south loop was a nice hike on a sunny afternoon.
Taking the short way back to camp from the south loop.
The crazy crew. Photo by J.V.
The day light was already starting to fade by the time we got back from our hike. We stoked up the fire and ate dinner as the sun went behind the bluffs surrounding the lake.
The good part about winter camping is that you can pack more weight when pulling it in a sled. JV even packed in his Dutch oven and we had warm pineapple cake by the fire. After our stomachs were stuffed with cake it was time to get in the sleeping bags. The temperatures only got down into the mid teens, but I was really glad to have a couple hand warmer packs to put in my bag. Photo by J.V.
In the morning we made a fire to warm up and cook some bacon and eggs in the Dutch oven. Then it was time to pack up camp and head back up to the trail.
We decided to take the south trail on the middle loop back to the parking lot. It made for a little longer trip, but it was another nice morning. Through the trees above you can just see Little Syers Lake.
Find more informaiton on the Pine Valleys Pathway in: Backpacking in Michigan
To learn more about doing trips like this see our Winter Camping List and Tips Page >>
While all of this gear is nice to have, if you would ask me: What is the one thing that will help you stay comfortable when winter camping? My answer would have to be: Hand and Foot Warmer Packs.
Put a couple of these in your sleeping bag and you will stay nice and toasty all night. In the morning put a pair of foot warmers in your frozen boots and your toes will be happy. Wet gloves, no problem they will keep your hands warm and help dry them faster. I am personally partial to the Grabber Brand because they are based right in West Michigan.
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