we had a little snow storm here in ann arbor, so i decided to leave my place on skis and head to perhaps the prettiest park in ann arbor, the arb. the arb is a hilly valley that leads down to the huron river and is about 2 miles from where i live. it's not a very interesting 2 miles, but it's sometimes slightly interesting to see people digging their cars out of the snow, clearing their driveways, and a few out skiing around, like me. i passed this one little kid who was out shoveling his driveway by himself and he gave me a cheery "good morning" and told me about how his dad was inside taking a lunch break but that he did not need a break. he stopped talking and seemed to get upset when i hit him in the face with a snowball. sorry, i thought kids were into that sort of thing.

so i eventually got to the arb and it was surprisingly empty (many people head to the arb to sled, ski or snowshoe when there is fresh snow). there was about 1 foot of fresh light powder on the ground and i was delighted to see that it hadn't yet been trampled upon by others. it's hard to tell from the pictures, but the arb is full of good sized, steep hills and there is nothing much better than cruising down them on skis with your knees dragging through the powder as you lean into a telemark turn. it was like sliding through warm butter with hot knives strapped to your feet.

after skiing the various hills and exploring the various areas, i headed down to the river to see what was going on there. the river was cruising along rather nicely with chunks of ice floating on the surface. as i was trying to get a better look at an ice covered log along the shore, i fell through the "ice" and found myself standing IN the river. now, i try to avoid doing this even in the summer since it is not the cleanest river, so in the winter, when it is 15 degrees outside, i figured it was an even worse idea. the water was just above my knees but there was a foot of snow above that and the river bank to contend with so i became slightly panicked when my first attempts to get out only led to breaking through more ice. but once i got serious about it, getting out wasn't a problem. since i was soaked, i figured i had better get inside quick before my legs froze and broke off, but the initial coldness went away in a couple of minutes as my body warmed up the water that was sloshing around in my boots, and keeping warm from then on wasn't really a problem. so there you have it, falling into a river in the dead of winter: no big deal.

when i read the national weather service alert saying "IF YOU LEAVE THE SAFETY OF BEING INDOORS... YOU ARE PUTTING YOUR LIFE AT RISK" i thought they were just being sensationalists. that was before i stepped on that killer snow. anyway, i skied out of the valley and got back home eventually, to the the safety of the indoors.

on the way to the arb.

the snow covered hills of the arb.

nicely frosted trees.

from the top of a hill.

snow covered bushes.

the main trail.

dense evergreens.


my (downhill) tracks.

skiing & taking a break.

apparently this was neither ground nor ice, but some snow covered slush which i found out by stepping on it, falling through, and creating that hole you see above.

some rapids, a river bend, a small island of snow, and the area where i fell through.

more snow, more trees.

a couple of people snowshoeing.

people and dogs, down in the main valley

people sledding in the distance.


tall trees, snowy trees, and the river bank.

snowy trees, railroad tracks, and icy shores.

tall trees, hills, and hills.

a valley under blue skies.

an overlook, trees, a little rabbit trying to hide by sticking it's head in the snow, and a steep hill.

the arb in the spring.


< Back to Photos & Trip Reports

» all photo reports from lower michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Fall 2012 - Summer 2013
Photos from around town in different seasons.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Fall 2011 - Summer 2012
Photos from around town in different seasons.
Fall in Ann Arbor, Michigan
October 2011
Fall photos, mostly from around the University of Michigan campus.
Lake Michigan
September 3, 2010
A windy, wavey day on Lake Michigan brings the surfers out.
Nordhouse Dunes, Michigan
February 27 - 28, 2010
Winter camping in the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness along Lake Michigan.
Lake Erie, Michigan
February 6, 2010
Checking out the ice on Lake Erie at Sterling State Park.
The Thumb, Michigan
September 6, 2009
Kayaking along the rocky shores of Lake Huron near Port Austin.
Spring in Ann Arbor, Michigan
April - May 2009
Photos of bright colors returning to campus and town.
St. Joseph, Michigan
February 8, 2009
Checking out the ice around St. Joseph before it melted away.
Fall in Ann Arbor, Michigan
October - November 2008
A few attempts at capturing the beautiful fall colors.
Frozen Coast, Michigan
February 16, 2008
Exploring the frozen shores of Lake Michigan, from Warren Dunes to South Haven.
Northern Michigan
October 19 - 21, 2007
Enjoying the fall colors in northern Michigan.
West Coast, Michigan
July 21, 2007
Checking out a couple of the beaches and towns of Michigan's west coast.
Northern Michigan
June 21 - 22, 2007
Canoeing the Pere Marquette River and checking out the Sleeping Bear Dunes area.
Northern Michigan
July 1 - 4, 2006
Checking out Grand Haven, Silver Lake, Sleeping Bear Dunes, and Traverse City.
Michigan Spring
April 2006
Spring pictures from around the Ann Arbor area.
Michigan Winter
December 2005
Winter pictures from around the Ann Arbor area.
Northern Michigan
July 2 - 3, 2005
Hiking the Manistee River Trail, canoeing the Jordan River, and making a brief stop at Wilderness State Park.
The Arb, Ann Arbor
January 2005
Pictures from the first big snowfall in Ann Arbor in 2005 when I skied from home to the Arb and fell into the river.
Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan
May 2003
A visit to Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
My favorite photos from Ann Arbor.
Michigan Law Quad
My favorite photos of the University of Michigan Law Quad.
Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan
October 12 - 14, 2012
Unrelenting rain drenches our fall weekend trip.
Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan
February 24 - 27, 2012
Winter photos from the Leelanau area, including Pyramid Point, Empire Bluffs, and Crystal Lake.
Spring in Ann Arbor, Michigan
April - May 2011
Flowers erupt and warm weather returns to open arms.
Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan
February 28, 2010
Exploring Sleeping Bear Dunes in the winter.
Frozen Coast, Michigan
February 20, 2010
Checking out the frozen lakeshore of Lake Michigan at Warren Dunes, St. Joseph, and Holland.
Fall in Ann Arbor, Michigan
October 2009
Fall color viewed mostly from a few tall buildings around town.
Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan
May 16 - 17, 2009
Enjoying springtime in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Detroit, Michigan
March 7, 2009
Making a quick and rare trip to Detroit, checking out the haunting Michigan Central Station and a few other places.
The Thumb, Michigan
January 31, 2009
Hiking along Lake Huron to see the rock formations and lighthouse near Port Austin.
Nordhouse Dunes, Michigan
July 26 - 27, 2008
A quick overnight backpacking trip into the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area.
Winter, Ann Arbor, Michigan
January 2008
Winter photos from campus, town, and city parks.
North Manitou Island, Michigan
August 11 - 12, 2007
Backpacking on North Manitou Island, enjoying the sunset, and watching storms roll off from Lake Michigan.
Botanical Gardens, Ann Arbor
July 14, 2007
Checking out the flowers and interesting plants of the Univeristy of Michigan Botanical Gardens.
Ice Storm, Ann Arbor
January 17, 2007
Pictures from around town after an ice storm coated all the trees in ice.
South Manitou Island, Michigan
July 2, 2006
Hiking to the sand dune bluffs on the west side of South Manitou Island.
Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan
February 27, 2006
Hiking and skiing around the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Michigan Fall
October 2005
Pictures from around the Ann Arbor area.
Sleeping Bear Dunes Area, Michigan
May 27 - 29, 2005
Kayaking on Lake Michigan near Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Winter Camping, Northern Michigan
December 2004
Winter camping near the Pine River.
My favorite photos from Michigan.
Turnip Rock, Michigan
My favorite photos of Turnip Rock, from both summer and winter.
Ross School of Business
My favorite photos of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.