Saugatuck Dunes State Park: Hiking in the First Snow of the Year!

The first snow of the year!

Along with thirty other students, I climbed into a Hope van and drove to the Saugatuck dunes for a morning snow hike with the Outdoor Adventure Club.

Driving the road to Saugatuck
The trees on the drive to Saugatuck.

The day of the first snow of the year is my favorite day of fall. The flakes come down in chunks, and in Kalamazoo they usually melt when they hit the ground. But in Holland, which is closer to the lake, the snow seems to be sticking.

Walking the dunes in the midmorning felt like walking through Alaska, or Tibet, or Narnia. The lake hasn’t frozen yet. The juxtaposition of the waves and the snow gave a different sense of the place than in the summer. It felt like the two opposite seasons were being joined together.

The snowy Saugatuck dunes
The dunes in the snow are, like, super cool.

The pattern of winter and summer is woven throughout life. Summer represents birth, winter represents death, and then the world is reborn again. But in the beauty of winter, even in the bitter cold and the sopping wet sweatshirts, we see that all of life is beautiful.

Sydney and Gabby on the snowy beach.
Sydney and Gabby enjoying the snowy beach.

So as I sit here typing in the my warm third floor room in Voorhees, I can look out the window and see where trees used to hold leaves. A few weeks back, the leaves fell off, leaving the trees bare and ugly. But now, the trees are outlined in white snow. Even apparent ugliness and death can be beautiful in the right perspective.

Published by Michael Stone

Hi guys, I'm Michael Stone! I'm from Kalamazoo, MI (the zoo!) and I'm in the Hope College class of 2019. I like to play music, do things outside, and talk about life. Funny is possible. insta: m.chaelstone snap: guywearinghat

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1 Comment

  1. Michael, I grew up on those very dunes. When I was little, my grandparents owned a house on the lake a few miles south of town, and after they moved to Florida, the dunes became my family’s place to hang out. Years earlier, my mom graduated from Saugatuck High School and my parents were married there. As a teenager, my brother and I and our Saugatuck friends spent many summer days skiing, swimming, and sunbathing. We still go to Saugatuck several times a year to spend time with my cousins.

    I’m sharing this with you because I am amazed that now my former student’s son has discovered Saugatuck! I never would have expected my friends from Wisconsin would end up in Michigan, and their son would end up in Holland. (As teens, we’d take the boat up to Holland, have lunch, and head back to Saugatuck.) I remember one Thanksgiving when my cousins, brother, and I beached the boat and walked around the dunes in weather similar to today.

    Saugatuck is one of my very favorite places. The dunes hold the sands of many times of my life. When you are older, there will be favorite, sacred places that have a hold on YOUR heart. Green Lake?

    Saugatuck has a hold on my heart.

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