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New Year's Backpacking Trip

In 2013 I commit to getting off the couch and trying new adventures. Join me in ringing in the new year with a one-night backpacking trip to Nordhouse Dunes National Wilderness Area. This would be winter time backpacking trip. That means sleeping out-of-doors, in a tent and having the appropriate gear to keep warm in temperatures that might hover around zero degrees. It also means having either a sled to pull your gear, or snowshoes or cross country skies to hike into the site. We would leave Grand Rapids at 7:00 AM or as close to as possible and likely hit the trail around 9:30. We would hike for a few hours and find the best spot, set up camp, and then day hike around the area.

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  • Sharon Rose H.

    Besides the fact that we all survived the cold, we had a fantastic time together, hanging out at the campfire, hiking the beach and woods, and general hilarity :) Looking forward to the next one!

    1 · January 7, 2013

    • Kevin

      That and it wasn't even close to surviving Nything.

      1 · January 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    You made it and made it through with an extraordinary experience (Not that many people that I know have winter camping experience)! You guys inspire me to be more open to different life experiences.

    January 6, 2013

  • Adam F.

    Looks like everybody had an awesome time. Wish that I could have made it under different circumstances. I do however still plan to do the trip at the end if this month. Hope to you you all then.

    January 6, 2013

    • Brad C.

      You would have had a great time with us this weekend. See you at Ely Lake...

      January 6, 2013

  • James E.

    Excellent!!!!!!! Great group, fun times in a beautiful setting and interesting weather conditions.

    January 6, 2013

    • Terri G.

      Did it snow after Saturday night after we left? We drove through some really heavy snowfall on the way home.

      January 6, 2013

    • Terri G.

      From the pictures that were posted it looks like you all survived the night quite well.....and enjoyed the day today too :-)

      January 6, 2013

  • Brad C.

    Everyone contributed to making it great, great weekend.
    About as much fun as a person could have with clothes on!!

    1 · January 6, 2013

  • Terri G.

    Hope you all stayed snuggly warm Saturday night :-)

    January 6, 2013

  • Terri G.

    Had a very enjoyable day....wonderful group of fellow hikers/backpackers. Looking forward to more hikes and/or backpacking trips in the future :-)

    1 · January 6, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great photos everyone! What fun!

    January 6, 2013

  • Kevin

    Oh yeah! Awesome time with people and fireside cooking and community was excellent!

    1 · January 6, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hey all! For those of you who couldn't make the overnight (including me), Brad called from the group and said hiking conditions and weather are awesome. If you want to get out early tomorrow morning and hike into their site, 1 hr hike in and 1 hr out, let me know, I'm thinking of arriving at Nordhouse around 7:30a - Leaving my house around 6ish. We can meet up off 31. There is a carpool area at the Colby/Whitehall exit. Thanks!

    January 5, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Let's meet at 6:30. The park & ride is right next to McDonalds, immediately off the highway, on the north side of road. I'll text you later on. Area code 616?

      January 5, 2013

    • Adam F.

      Yes

      January 5, 2013

  • Kevin

    I hope we get to see a sunset like I just saw here near the Lakeshore, oh yeah!

    January 4, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I know! Right? Dude needed a walk and I caught it too!

      January 4, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I wish I could say that. My most memorable event today is to watch my clogged up toilet overflow with dismay :( Even that it is not too bad. Any mess is within our capability to handle :).

      January 4, 2013

  • Adam F.

    I will no longer be making it out for this hike. As of last night I became a single man. And need some time to work things out. Hope the best to those who are still going.

    January 4, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      So sorry Adam! Maybe the hike and hangin will help. If not, that is totally understandable.

      January 4, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      The best advice I have ever gotten when I became single was "Take good care of yourself. Eat well and work out." It also helps to have a friend or family to talk to. Take good care, Adam!

      1 · January 4, 2013

  • James E.

    Best wishes, Adam. If you have time, you might day-hike this trip even if you don't do the whole thing. I think someone else is day-hiking it, too.

    January 4, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Adam, if I'm feeling better, I'm heading up early, early on Sunday - hiking in/out. You can catch a ride w me if you decide.

      1 · January 4, 2013

  • James E.

    Let me provide some info for everyone's use or discussion. 1) I carry a first-aid kit which anyone is free to use. It's in a pocket inside the top flap of my backpack, so it's easy to get to. 2) Although it won't be real cold, it'll be plenty cold enough for hypothermia to occur. Let's watch each other for the signs of "stumbles, mumbles, and grumbles" and go ahead and intervene if someone looks hypothermic. A warm drink, energy food, more layers, and sitting near a fire, if we have one, can all help. 3) Can we agree to hang our food away from where we sleep? The bears are sleeping, too, but raccoons are active (skunks, too??) and I doubt we'd like it if they visit during the night. 4) I understand it's every person for him/herself as far as food/cooking, unless people agree among themselves to share -- at least, we talked about that at Founder's last week. 5) I've printed a few maps and can provide them tomorrow. See you then.

    January 4, 2013

    • Dave G.

      Sorry guys, but I am not planning on hanging my stuff on this trip. I don't think it is needed.

      January 4, 2013

    • Kevin

      I personally dont want critters chewing thru my expensive gear so even if no bears or cats are around theres others like coons that would be happy to dig thru stuff.

      January 4, 2013

  • Brad C.

    I will be bringing a compact folding saw for cutting firewood.
    If someone has another one, that may be helpful.
    Good input James...I'm sure we will all have the mindset to look out for each other. Thanks.

    January 4, 2013

  • Dave G.

    Hey folks, I wanted to start nailing down exactly who is going to meet in Hudsonville. Brad, I know you put to meet at Rainbow Grille, but I'd rather stage vehicles at the "Park n Ride" so that nobody gets towed off of private property. I also have a Hitch Haul and large container to put gear in so there won't be ny worries about stuffing gear into a vehicle. I guess I'm saying I can drive, just need to know if I should bring my Hitch Haul.

    December 31, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Kirby is your dog? (i hope:) I hike with my dog, Dude, but didnt consider him for this trip either. he LOVES to hike though. 8 miles straight up at the Tetons last year!

      January 3, 2013

    • Dave G.

      Yes Debra he's my black lab mix. Goes on almost all of my hikes.

      January 3, 2013

  • Kevin

    How do you guys deal with cold morning boots when you dont have grabber handwarmers?

    January 2, 2013

    • Brad C.

      I used my EB KaraKoram, and my Marmot Trestles (not both at the same time).

      January 3, 2013

    • Dave G.

      First Ascent. I love FA!! Awesome stuff!

      January 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Achy, fever, bed, bummed. You can bring soup and juice, as i'm on the way... :)

    January 2, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Yea, that isn't 'normal' either. :)

      January 3, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Seriously, yes I have a significant other and that's why I RSVP'd for 2. :). I do not have 9 Mormon husbands. Lol!

      January 3, 2013

  • Terri G.

    We will be coming for the day due to scheduling conflicts on Sunday....looks like good weather for this weekend. See everyone Saturday morning :-)

    1 · January 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Unfortunately, Kevin's right. I am fighting the same flu that Debra seems to have, so I'm out. I was hoping I would be recovered enough to go, but judging by how I feel today, probably not. I'll have to catch the next one. I hope you all have a great time!

    January 3, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      So sorry Melanie. It's awful isn't it? Hang in there.

      January 3, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      It totally sucks. I even got myself an extra bag so I'd be warm at night.

      January 3, 2013

  • Kevin

    Either other people are getting sick or they are just not into this event anymore. I have noticed a few more have dropped off.

    January 3, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I accounted for 2 and now Melanie.

      January 3, 2013

  • Brad C.

    I spoke with a Ludington State Park ranger today. She told me the hiking trails have very little snow, and maybe a little bit of ice / hard-pack if they have been traveled recently. There hasn't been any snowfall accumulation there this week and no snow is forecasted for the next 4-5 days. She told me the snow might be ankle deep in the woods. That's probably what we will experience at Noordhouse also.

    January 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi , I live just west of Standale and would like to carpool. Could meet north on 96 at Marathon Gas station on Remembrance and 8th.

    January 2, 2013

  • Adam F.

    My girlfriend and I will be coming from the I96 and 131 Interchange. If anybody would like to meet up and caravan out.

    December 31, 2012

    • Adam F.

      That sounds good to me. Thanks

      January 1, 2013

  • Terri G.

    Depending on the forcasted low temps for sat. night....might just come for the day....also have to be somewhere by 1pm on Sunday so will need to hike out first thing Sunday morning if camping over night Saturday. Really looking forward to this!!

    December 29, 2012

  • Kevin

    December 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    What gear is needed for such a trip?

    December 1, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Hi, Debra, thank you for offering to share your tent with me. It sounds very tempting for me to go, but it think I will wait until I am more prepared for the winter camping. Hope you have a great fun with the adventure. I look forward to meeting you in our future hikes!

      December 27, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Hey Lisa! Sure thing! I read up after I posted, and realized you were sitting this one out. Looking forward to a future hike together. Happy New Year!

      December 27, 2012

  • Dave G.

    Just came across an old article from Backpacker Magazine about staying warm in the cold. Don't know how to make a link to it, but go to backpacker.com, key "stay comfortable in any weather" in the search box, and you have it. Really good tips.

    2 · December 26, 2012

  • Pat & P.

    I need a ride. I can meet anyplace on North end. We are down to one car, so I dont want to strand Penny at home. Call me at[masked] please.

    December 26, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hiked Nordhouse today. Trails aren't marked very well. Bushwhacked to Lake Michigan, hiked the trail back. 2-3 inches of icy snow. AWESOME hike. 5th will be a good time. Merry Christmas everyone!

    December 24, 2012

    • Dave G.

      Yeah, Nordhouse is cool, but I hate the lack of any markers. I only need a few here and there. A compass is essential. Looking forward to it.

      December 24, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Def had my compass handy. I just kept my trail map handy and kept an eye on LM. :). Was an awesome hike. C u on the 5th!

      December 25, 2012

  • Brad C.

    Most everyone attending this hike is from the Grand Rapids area.
    Are we planning to meet at a central location and carpool / convoy to the trailhead?
    Maybe somewhere near US131 and HWY 96 ?
    Carpool lot on West River Drive?
    Target store on Alpine Ave?

    December 19, 2012

    • Pat & P.

      I would like to carpool, we are down to one car and would rather not leave Penny stranded. [masked]

      December 20, 2012

    • Dave G.

      I'll be going up 31 as well

      December 23, 2012

  • Kevin

    I have no plans to get these but a guy at the gym has a wife who is a runner and these snowshoes are what she is getting for this winter so she can still run in, yes I said run in.
    http://www.redfeather.com/vapor.html

    December 22, 2012

  • Kevin

    Should we meet up as a group and share ideas over some beer prior to the trip I think we could all learn from each other?

    1 · December 19, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      I still need a longer pad and gators. Working on it.

      December 19, 2012

    • Kevin

      A one nighter yes but preparing properly means everyone is not only safe but warm. Also talking about ideas is fun for me but no one is required to do anything. A meeting for those who want to still makes sense doesn't it?

      December 20, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have a gear question: Last time I used my half-dome tent, but this time I'd prefer to use my solitaire backpacking tent since we'll be hiking in. But I wonder about the heat value of the extra room in the larger tent. I know it's not good to have too much air between me and the ground, but what about above me? Can anyone advise me on that? Thanks.

    December 18, 2012

    • Kevin

      In the past I have used my north face tent but I removed the tent and used the ground cloth with rain fly. Worked great just piled leaves all around the rain fly. Dave should be fine with what he has if he can rig the fly to block out wind. Melanie I concur with Dave. Ideally I would have a larger rainfly with ends that close in on themselves but I am prob just going to try it without a larger fly. Cuben fiber tarps is the way of go but I am not ready to spend that kind of money since I just got an under quilt for my hammock.

      December 19, 2012

    • Brad C.

      A 4-season tent is the way to go in winter for warmth. Since my 2-person tent isn't a 4-season, I'll just use my fly and ground cloth also, not use my tent, and save the weight.

      December 19, 2012

  • Mike G.

    I am going on record as putting the parameters on the weather that would limit my involvement. I am not interested in going if its cold and raining. If it is Arctic in temperatures like below 0, than I would be less inclined. My dream winter backpacking would be temps above 20 degrees and lots of white fluffy snow. Ya, know just going on record...... Looking forward to enjoying the winter this year, if we have a winter this year. Just my 2.5 cents.

    December 15, 2012

    • Brad C.

      Average low temps:18-23 degrees. Average snowfall for the months: 2 - 2.5 inches

      December 15, 2012

    • Dave G.

      I'm fine with cold temps, but I would opt out if there's a high probability of rain. I'm not worried though, winter will come.

      December 17, 2012

  • Andrew P.

    Can't wait!!!!

    December 16, 2012

  • Kevin

    I just posted this isn the car camp invite but since some may not be attending that one and wont see it i am posting here too.
    Here is a comfort tip. Boil a pot of water and fill a nalgene bottle up. Put the nalgene in a sock or something. Throw it in your sleeping bag before you retire for the night. This warms your bed like an electric blanket. Your water will even be warm in the morning then you can use it to reboil for food and get it done faster.
    the key here is using a nalgene or msr type bottle that has the best proven lid seal on the market. many many skilled hikers use this concept and have proven it works without flaw in a nalgene.
    enjoy!

    1 · December 14, 2012

  • Kevin

    I live in Holland so if i did this trip it would be nice to car pool with anyone closer to holland than GR. Any takers?

    December 1, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Hi Kevin. White Lake near Whitehall/Montague. South of Pentwater, North of Muskegon, off of 31.

      December 11, 2012

    • Kevin

      I guess you are about half way there from my house about looks like around an hour hour and 15 from your house to Nordhouse from monteque

      December 11, 2012

  • Kevin

    I will convert you all to hammock camping :D

    December 11, 2012

    • Dave G.

      Yeah, my ultralight tent weighs in under 2 lbs and uses my trekking poles for support. And it seems like less pieces of gear overall. But I think hammocking is way cool, just don't think it's for me. Yoy don't have the pad, but you've added the underquilt. Always a give and take. I look forward to seeing yoyur system. I'm coming from Dorr. I'm cool carpooling with whomever.

      December 11, 2012

    • Kevin

      As you may well know laying in a hammock is very comfy, adding a pad kills some of that joy especially when the pad slides out of place and you wake up with feet and a shoulder freezing. This is my first foray into the under quilt i plan to test it by my house before the trip to get a feel for what is needed. I have read a lot about them and everyone that has them rave about them.

      December 11, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Have all the gear and cold weather experience. Where is the trailhead in relation to the site?

    October 27, 2012

    • Kevin

      Here is a google map link showing from Gr to Trail head. http://goo.gl/maps/8c...­

      December 11, 2012

    • Kevin

      Sorry for spamming, I forgot the organizers have a way to input maps on the invite. Still parking is at the end of W Nurnberg road not where the invite map shows for the ending point for those of you who will be coming in.

      December 11, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Get a liner for the pack or use a large multi-ply garbage bag to keep the inside of the pack dry. The liner will also serve as another insulating layer beneath w the tent.

    December 2, 2012

    • Kevin

      Trash compactor bags are the ticket for this. I have extras if you need to borrow one. The reason they are good is because they are thick plastic and can handle tons of force hence why they are trash compactor bags. They fit perfect as a liner for your backpack.

      December 11, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    So excited regarding this outdoor adventure! I've been wanting to hike this for two years. Another great hike? Little Manistee Trail. 21 mile loop. 10 of it is NCT.

    December 1, 2012

  • Laurine

    Would be interested. Will depend on 1 if I have to work and 2 what equipment will I need? Laurine

    November 29, 2012

  • Brad C.

    I imagine we will take US131 to HWY96 WEST to US31 NORTH to get to the trailhead? I will be coming from Hudsonville. Anyone want to think about a convenient place to meet for a carpool?

    November 28, 2012

    • Dave G.

      Brad, I RSVP'd as "yes", but it is still too early to see if my weekend off will fall on this one. I come from Burnips and will be coming through Hudsonville. We could meet at the Park and Ride by I-196.

      November 29, 2012

    • Brad C.

      Totally understand, Dave,,, just wanted to start thinking about a carpool arrangement that may work. Your suggestion works for me. Still need a central location where we can all meet at 7:00am for the drive up, if that's the plan.

      November 29, 2012

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