The MuskOx Herd is all about venturing out into new territory, exploring and appreciating the enormity of the natural world around us. Although many people (and animals) may view winter as a time for hibernation, taking in fresh air and winter sun is necessary when breaking through the winter blues and general lethargy of the season.
The Black Trust by @kurtis10mckenzie
Take it from the Dutch, whose practice of Uitwaaien (though popular for decades in the Netherlands) has recently caught hold in the U.S.; Uitwaaien, meaning roughly “outblowing” translates more easily to the practice of replacing ‘bad’ air with good. More people are realizing the energizing, mood-boosting possibilities of getting out into brisk winter air.
MuskOx is partial to roaming the wonders of Michigan’s natural sites and distinctive terrain. We love to travel the great mitten state, finding new wonders to behold and seeking paths less traveled. Whether we’re hiking over sand dunes, camping, skiing and snowboarding, or enjoying a warm drink under the stars, we take in all that Michigan has to offer, all year round.
Always curious to find new terrain to explore (and share), we asked the MuskOx Herd where their favorite winter retreats are – whether for relaxing or trekking outdoors, these places help them recalibrate during the long cold months.
Trail of The Shadows at Mount Rainier
The Pacific Northwest in the winter always leaves me in awe. The snow filled mountains, crisp air, and never ending views never disappoint. My favorite winter getaway would be snowshoeing Mount Rainier National Park. To be a bit more specific - Trail of the Shadows. This hike is tough in the snow but so worth it! The view of the mountains is beyond real, and the dusting of snow just makes it even more beautiful. It truly is a sight to see, and the best winter getaway! We live in Waco, but we escape the mild winter almost yearly for a week-long trip to Seattle to be overwhelmed by the Rainier experience. — Kurtis M, Waco, TX
Devil's Bridge in Sedona, Arizona
Sedona has so much to offer: the striking red rocks, soaring canyons and winding creeks, and of course the astonishing view from Devil’s Bridge — missed the snow last year, but still can't believe my phone captured that sight — Sedona is one of my favorite winter getaways simply because of its beauty. Even in the desert, life is abundant. Its vibrant and distinct diversity of color halts the noise of life and brings a focus to the present. In that pause, it is easy to see why its views are unparalleled, and the many shades of terrain unmatched. Whether you venture there on a clear day or with a fresh layer of snow, the best way to experience Sedona is to hike it and find the paths less traveled. — Jackson V, Seattle, WA
Mount Bohemia in the Keweenaw Peninsula
Mount Bohemia by @ChrisGuibert_Photography
Get to Mount Bohemia for a super exotic skiing experience, in yes, Michigan! This rugged, tree covered mountain is tucked deep in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan. It’s no joke. Bohemia offers 2 types of skiing, a semi-groomed front face with a 900ft vertical drop (highest in the Midwest) with a view of the entire peninsula and Lake Superior, and a non-groomed back face that offers very technical skiing through forest-covered skiing glades and rolling topography. Accommodations at Mount Bohemia may be the best part – sleep in heated yurts at the base of the mountain or rough it and camp in 250+ inches of snow. When you wake up, boot up, walk outside and pop your skis on and skate to the lift. No beginners allowed 😉. — Sam G, Detroit, MI
Emigrant, Paradise Valley
Emigrant is a tiny town about 30 minutes north of Yellowstone National park. As the name indicates, the valley is absolutely picturesque, and is packed with year-round activities. There are several hot spring resorts in the area for soaking after a long day of snowshoeing or cross country skiing in the park. As temperatures drop in the fall, herds of elk descend into the valley and can be seen sunbathing on hills throughout the park. Although Paradise Valley’s days are cold and windy, the often sun-filled days are a nice departure from more grey days of Michigan winters. When it’s too chilly outside, we cozy up by the fire and soak up the heavenly views. If we feel the need to escape the quiet, peaceful valley, we’re only an hour drive to Bozeman for shopping or Bridger from some snowboarding. — Holly S, Ann Arbor, MI
Michigan's Northwest Fingertips
Northern Michigan by @dennis_buchner_photography
North of the mitten winter in the northern fingertips of Michigan is just about my favorite thing. A lot of people complain that there is nothing to do in the winter in Northern Michigan, but that is the time I am most active. Whether I’m snowboarding on Boyne Mountain, hiking through Sleeping Bear Dunes, strolling around historic Traverse City or Petoskey, I love the more untouched feel of Northern Michigan. There is nothing quite like the view of Lake Michigan from a drive up Old Mission Peninsula. Even when I’m snowed-in in a warm house, drinking a cup of coffee and doing a puzzle, I feel like I’m living my best life. — Reed C, Elkhart, IN
Rosy Mound Natural Area in West Michigan
Rosy Mounds by @lissat
Year-round one of my favorite places to go in Michigan for a day trip is Rosy Mound Natural Area: a less-visited gem a little over a five minute drive south of Grand Haven. The park’s almost mile of trail (1,000 stairs in one direction) carves over steep dunes and through dense forest that is stunning to witness during any season. Rosy Mound’s trails are the epitome of a winter wonderland, whether blanketed with snow on a grey, quiet evening or on a cloud free day, where sparkling ice shimmers on the trees tops. The sound of snow and sand crunching under my boots on the trails can’t cover up the sound of Lake Michigan at the trail's end, where there’s a breathtaking view of waves crashing far out into the horizon, while frozen peaks of freshwater foam glitter near the shore. In the distance, you can see Grand Haven’s infamous red light house, snow blowing across the frozen water at its base. After a long day climbing the dunes and walking the beach, it's a quick drive to Grand Haven, where I stop for homemade candy at Fortino’s, an old-fashioned market on mainstreet. Rosy Mound Natural Area is a perfect trip for both a taste of Michigan’s stunning natural terrain, and a cozy trip to one of our most famous beach towns. — Alecia B, Howell, MI
Whether you stick close to home or venture out across the country, America’s stunning landscapes hold just as much wonder and awe in the winter as they do in the summer. The next time you feel like bundling up on the couch, embrace the cold like the arctic muskox and get ready for an outdoor excursion that will focus your mind, boost your mood, and clear out the seasonal fatigue.