What a Rush!

Boyne Highlands recently invited Pure Michigan to the resort to try their Michigan dog sledding and zip line adventure, as well as to experience one of their fantastic dining opportunities. We sent Kirsten from our PR team to check it out, and she had a fantastic time!

I must admit, as a public relations professional I get to experience some very cool things to share with the media. Last weekend was no exception, with a getaway to Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs to try dog sledding and the zip line adventure.

Saturday morning started with a hearty breakfast in the main dining room at Boyne Highlands. I knew I would need as much energy as possible since the day was packed full of fun.  From the main dining room you can see the ‘dog shed,’ a loving term used by staff to give directions to the dog sled area. A quick walk and we were amongst the dogs, and Michigan’s Iditarod musher Ed Stielstra, owner of Nature’s Kennel, as well as our guide for the morning.

Pure Michigan photo

Ed from Nature's Kennel with the dogs

We were introduced to the guides and the three teams of dogs, a pick of the 150 dogs at Nature’s Kennel. Among the dogs that were on the team were Gus (short for asparagus), Ayn (short for author Ayn Rand), and Vixen. As you can see, each litter has a theme including vegetables, authors, and reindeer. Wouldn’t it be fun to be responsible for coming up with the litter theme and naming all of the puppies?

As soon as the dogs were hooked up to their lead lines they began barking and jumping, clearly excited to go for a run. Settled into the sled we took off on our scenic adventure. It was quite a peaceful ride along the snow-blanketed trails on the resort property. The ride gave us a chance to ask Ed about how he got involved in the sport and what his future plans include. He told us some fun facts about each dog, making sure to note which ones would most likely be on his race team for the 2011 Iditarod.  As quickly as we headed out onto the scenic trails our team was headed back and our enjoyable journey was over. Next time I’ll sign up for the one-hour ride.

Here's a video from the dog sledding portion of our trip. You can see how much these dogs love to run!

Later Saturday afternoon we met up with our zipline adventure group, a group of twelve including seasoned pros and first timers along with three guides. The guides explained the harness system and safety precautions, and assisted the group in getting prepared for the adventure. Within minutes of meeting the group we were headed to the chairlift to go to the top of the mountain to start the series of 8 lines. (This may be the appropriate time to let you know that I was “volunteered” for this adventure, am deathly afraid of heights, and would have never gotten through this experience had it not been for my traveling companion.)

Pure Michigan photo

hooking up to the zip line

Standing at the first platform, I asked the guide if he could give me a push. I figured I would close my eyes and just go for it. I came to that solution after realizing my only way back to the lodge was going back down on the chairlift (not going to happen), or try the ziplines. Unfortunately I was told that I had to step off the platform all by myself. Shaking like a leaf, eyes closed and gripping the harness, I took that first step to get to the other side. About halfway across I was brave enough to open my eyes to really see what I was doing. It was AMAZING!!! As I approached the platform on the other side I could hear the others cheering.   I knew there were naysayers who thought I would chicken out and walk back to the lodge, and I had to prove them wrong.

Pure Michigan photo

As we approached the next zipline I felt a little more comfortable. The first two guides went across the line to get set on the other side. The third guide stayed with the group to assist in getting each of us hooked up to the line. I remember more from the second line as I was actually listening to the guides and watching the others instead of thinking of excuses to get out of the adventure.

By the third line I was really getting into it. On this line, the guides show you how to go upside down. I thought, "why not, I’ve gotten this far." I did try, but was not successful. Still, I was happy to get across each line. Every line offered different views of the mountain, the skiers and snowboarders, and the resort.  I’m happy to say that I had a blast and would sign up to do it again!

On Saturday evening, after conquering our fears, we experienced a truly unforgettable, and one of the most romantic dinners I’ve ever had at the Aonach Mor Moonlight Dinner. The experience starts with a warm cup of hot chocolate and a sleigh ride up the mountain to North Peak, a beautiful lodge complete with floor to ceiling windows looking out in each direction. On a clear night the lights of the Mackinac Bridge can be seen from North Peak.

The cozy ambiance is set with candlelight and an acoustic guitarist. Seated for the dinner, our preselected Michigan wine was brought to the table. The first course was French Onion soup, and before long we were served garlic roasted mashed potatoes, a vegetable medley, and roast tenderloin au poivre. The dinner concluded with chocolate fondue accompanied by assorted fruit, cookies, and pound cake. After enjoying more of the view and our wine, the sleigh returned to take everyone back to the main lodge. I’m already thinking of special occasions to celebrate next winter so I can make reservations to enjoy this dinner again.