Camping Stories: Snow & Cold

This past weekend we headed up to Picture Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to check out the fall colors, and we decided to tent camp, despite the warnings about temperatures that would drop below freezing, power outages, and high winds.  When we reached our campsite late Thursday night, the wind had died down and the air was still, but cold.  The sight was pretty surreal though.  We were on the shores of Lake Superior with Grand Island in sight, along with another smaller island, as we set up camp in the quiet of the night.  Out tents ended up starting off pretty warm and cozy, but became colder as the nighttime temperatures began to drop to below 32 degrees, despite pilling some heavy duty blankets in our tents for some extra protection against the cold.  Sleep did not come easily as excitement of our adventure just beginning filled our minds like a sky full of stars and the uncomfortably cold weather regularly interrupted our slumber.  Frankly the night as a whole was cold and uncomfortable.

At around 4:30am Bobby sounded an alarm for the four of us as he shouted to us in the quite morning that is was snowing and there was a lot of it.  When he told us this I looked up at my tent and noticed the dark shadows on the sides of the tent left by snow pilling up.  I hit the sides of the tent with my hand and listened as the snow slid down off the tent and crashed onto the cold Upper Peninsula soil.  It was kind of cool and I had never slept in snow before so it was different.  The rest of the night/morning dragged on though as I was woken up repeatedly by the cold temperatures, knocking snow off my tent to keep it from caving in from the weight.  When 7:30pm hit I gave up any attempt to fall back asleep and found out that Bobby was doing the same.  The snow had somewhat melted though on the ground, but was evident on our tent and on the trees.  It was a cold morning though filled with beauty as the trees covering Grand Island were beginning to change colors.  Bobby and me, the only ones up, took in the unique sight of the early morning while splitting a six pack, as our bodies battled the wet and cold environment.

While the cold and the snow may have made our first night uncomfortable, and a start to the trip that kind of hindered our confidence about the weather, it was still a cool experience.  Looking back on it, it was fun and different to sleep in that kind of cold weather with the mix of snow and rain.  To pile blankets in the tent and hunker down and face the elements, it opens one up to the world and to new experiences, better preparing you for future adventures.  I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, for it gave us a unique and new experience, adding to the story of our short weekend expedition to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  The rest of the trip by the way, stayed in the 40’s and low 50’s at night and didn’t snow or rain, at least noticeably, any of the other days during our trip.

– Dustin

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