Spirit of the Woods to lead snowshoe hike

LAKE COUNTY — The Spirit of the Woods hiking group is inviting the public to join them for a snowshoe hike up the North Country Trail.

The group leads hikes through various trails year round in the Western Michigan area, inviting others to take in the beautiful outdoor sights alongside them. Loren Bach, the group's leader said they keep the group going in winter as there is a lot of under appreciated beauty to be found in Michigan winters, and they often utilize snowshoes to make the trip easier and to provide a different experience for the hikers.

"Snowshoeing is a nice way to get out in the woods in the winter," said Bach. "I like to get outside at all times of the year, but it can be nice in the winter since it's quiet and you can see animal tracks and its a great environment for connecting with nature."

The hike will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb 6. It will start at the trail entrance at Udell Hills Road just east of where it intersects with Skocelas Road. After the hike, all the participants are invited to sit down for some hot food.

"We'll do our hike, which should be no longer than five miles, and then we'll head back to the starting point and drive to the Big M Cross Country Ski Lodge for some chili that will be waiting for us there," explained Bach.

Bach said there is some extra equipment guests can borrow if they want to join the hike. She recommended those interested call her ahead of time to ensure it is set aside for them as there is a limited amount.

"We're doing it on the North Country Trail because it's having its 100th anniversary," said Bach. "Part of that is the Hike 100 challenge, which is organized by the National Parks Service. Those who hike 100 miles on the trail this year will earn a special patch and a certificate. We'll be hosting all of our hikes this year on the trail to help people earn that milestone."

Those wishing to join should RSVP ahead of time by email at spw@northcountrytrail.org or by calling (231) 510-1983.