Zipping Through the Trees in Pure Michigan

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Brian Confer, a contributing photographer for Michigan Travel Ideas, shares his zip lining adventure at Boyne Mountain.

Sometimes it seems like the whole world has turned upside down. On the Zipline Adventure Tour at Boyne Mountain, it really does.

On a wintry blue-sky day, my 13-year-old son, Jackson, and I journey to Boyne Mountain to capture photography of their Zipline Adventure Tour. Jackson zip-lined at camp this past year and assures me it’s exciting, fun and easy to go upside down.

Not for me, I assure him.

Jackson and I have a bit of time before we meet our group, so we don our harnesses and head to the Twin Zip Ride. With the Grand Mountain Lodge as a backdrop, we warm up by descending side-by-side.

Well, I warm up.

Jackson jumps off the platform and immediately flips upside down, descending at a high rate of speed, arms spread wide, laughing. We zip over the fountain, and I’m guided onto the landing platform—upright—and wait for my stomach to catch up.

Once all my parts are reacquainted, we join a group for the nine-line adventure. This group is more my speed—a gaggle of children, ages 6­–12, chaperoned by three dads. Surely there are no daredevil showboaters like my son here.

Ha! First up, a smiling 6-year-old girl dressed in pink. There she goes, upside down over the heads of skiers on the Cold Spring run. Next up, a 7-year-old boy who has our guide turn him upside down before he leaves the launch pad. Older brother, upside down. His friend from down the road, upside down. One father, two fathers, three fathers, all upside down. Obviously, I’m missing out on something that my camera gear regrettably (thankfully) prevents me from trying.

Over the next six lines, our guides demonstrate how to ride in every position imaginable and show us how to do a flip off the platform. Cheers erupt when every participant but me attempts the maneuver. “Too bad you have that camera gear! You should try it,” I hear repeatedly, until, finally on zip line No. 7, I decide they’re right.

I hand my camera gear to our guide and jump from the platform. I swing my legs forward, use the momentum to carry my feet over my head and then lock them around the supporting lanyard. I settle in, spread my arms and over the head of a skier below, the skier looking up at me, following my arc and hearing me laugh the entire way into the landing.


More Winter Zip Lines:

Brian Confer lives in northern Michigan with his wife and two sons. In addition to contributing to Michigan Travel Ideas, he focuses on fine art photography and other freelance work.

Dog Sledding in Pure Michigan

If you’re looking for a fun way to get out and enjoy Michigan’s glistening landscape this winter, dog sledding is your answer. With 11,000 frozen inland lakes and a number of brilliant, snow-covered national forests, there are plenty of options for experiencing the rush of dog sledding throughout the state. Here are some places to check out.

Nature’s Kennel Iditaord Sled Dog Racing & Adventures in McMillan offers a variety of “drive-you-own-dog team” adventures ranging from overnight trips to full day and half day trips. No experience is necessary, as guests have the option to drive their own team or take a ride in the sled.

At the Last Chance Kennel at Russ-Stick Acres you’ll feel like you’re experiencing an amazing Alaskan experience without ever leaving the state. Guests to this rustic farm in Mancelona will explore the history of dog sledding, while gaining “hands on” experience.

If you’re near Cadillac, there are several places to check out the fun. Shemhadar Kennels offers hourly rides for the whole family through northern Michigan’s scenic trails. If you head a bit north, check out S & L Arctic K9’s Sled Dog Adventures, where customized training and tours are available.

The Double JJ Resort in Rothbury is a family favorite destination during all four seasons. During winter months, families can take part in various outdoor activities – including dog-sled rides.

At the Otter River Sled Dog Training Center & Wilderness Adventures in Tapiola, dog sled experiences include a three mile ride, a half day adventure, overnight camping, and an opportunity to drive your own team.

Partnering with the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa and Caberfae Peaks Ski & Golf Resort this winter, Wiggi’s Mountain-Side Huskies offers one of the best dog sled rides in town. Be sure to make an appointment for Saturday or Sunday if you’re in the area!

For more information on dog sledding throughout the state, please visit www.michigan.org.

Pure Michigan December Facebook Photos

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In December, the fans on the Pure Michigan Facebook Page submitted some fantastic photos of winter sports, Christmas trees and more. We picked some of our favorites and put them on our Pure Michigan Flickr page. Check them out in the slideshow below and thanks to everybody who submitted!