Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ludington Pair Camped in Big Snow

based on a news article in the Ludington Daily News, "Local pair were tent camping through snowstorm," by Brian Mulherin, Jan 24, 2009

Two weekends ago, when Ludington was the hub of a storm that dumped 18 inches of snow on the area, most people were huddled in their houses. Tim Martin and Mark Thompson skied past the Big Sable lighthouse into the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness and camped in a tent.

They've been doing it for 20 years! They've learned a lot and have a system that works. Martin said, "winter camping is about being prepared." They hauled the gear in on a sled. Warmth for the trips relies heavily on Gore-Tex and goose down. During the day the men stay warm by skiing or cutting firewood. "It's those midnight trips to go to the bathroom that are the worst," Martin added.

The guys were discussing the snow prediction, and thought that it was for about three inches. But once it started it just didn't stop. When they woke up Sunday morning there was so much snow on the tent that it felt like someone was pushing on the tent. And they could still hear more snow falling on the rain fly. Looking outside, it was like they had never been there. All signs of their activity were buried.

One challenging task was finding firewood because they only take wood that is already down. It was hard to find enough under the snow. But the really hard part was the ski out from their campsite. The trip normally takes an hour, but with the deep, soft snow it took over three hours. They began at 3 pm, and didn't reach their vehicle until 6:30 pm. The men said they had no trouble finding their way, even though it was slightly after dark when they finished.

Plans are already in the works to take some friends winter camping who haven't done it before. For that expedition they plan to use the Ludington State Park Campsite.

Martin's final word to the wise: "It's important to have the right gear."

See Nordhouse Dunes
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See Ludington State Park
See Nordhouse Dunes

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