Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Innertubing at Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Park

On Saturday, we stopped by Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Park to use a Wild Wednesday deal we had for innertubing and another for snowshoeing. I have only driven by the park, so it was neat to try out another local park. There is a gate fee for entrance and then a fee for using the hill. Be sure to get your tube hill passes at the front gate if you intend to go innertubing. We ended up going back twice to get what we needed, though the staff was friendly and said they'd go get them for us. We arrived before the rentals were open, so drove around to check things out a bit.

There are several large shelters for rent, which would be great for get togethers. 

My kids always like finding a playground. We can spend time outside on a hike or other activity and then have fun with recreational activities. The park also offers disc golf and public boat ramp access. 

The information booth had a QR code hiking map which could be helpful. I often take a picture of the map with my phone before we head out. Programs and other information are also included on the display. 

While waiting for the rest of our group, the kids started climbing the mountains of snow in the parking lot. A lady walking her dog remarked they would have just as much fun on the snow piles! It was fun and I've seen the children enjoying these as winter progressed at a few different areas.

We checked out the Tube Hill rules when we arrived and the kids grabbed innertubes to get going!

It's a fairly long walk up the hill. My husband kept wondering about the electronics near the lamps and finally decided he thought they were snow makers!


They had fun going down the hill, having races and trying different ways to go down the hill. There are several people in position to help with safety. 

I liked this shot of my husband's feet. He even took a fast video! 

This little bundled up toddler walked all the way to the top of the tube hill. He saw everyone going up and started that way. I thought I'd let him go to see how far he made it. He kept going and going. About half way up I caught up with him. He made it up to the top. He liked watching other young kids play at the top and all the tubes going down the hill. I didn't get a pass to use the hill, but I could have taken turns easily with my husband had I purchased a pass as well. Though the temps were low, it was sunny and not windy. With layers and sufficient gear, we were all doing okay, especially with a little physical activity. The temp predictions were about 20 degrees for the high, but we needed to use our special passes. This experience helps me not to be as afraid of the temperatures being low. I even sent the kids out again this morning (15 degrees) to go sledding and play in the snow. The toddler went, too, with an older brother for his special helper.

Some people like to make chains and all go together. 

I heard plenty of hypotheses about which track was faster, how the tracks would be different once exposed to warmer temperatures or sunlight. The hill is also available for night innertubing as a private rental. Contact St. Joseph County Parks for details and more information on rentals. 

Our tips:
1. Buy your innertubing passes at the gate.
2. My husband liked going down headfirst as the snow didn't blow up in his face as much.
3. My husband liked the valve pointing up so it didn't drag in the snow. 
4. Many people kicked their tubes up so they didn't have to carry them.
5. Try a chain of tubes--it can be another fun way to go down. 
6. Wear proper gear, like gloves. 
7. There were fewer people when we got there; however, there were 5 tracks so there weren't any lines to speak of. People moved through the hill quickly. 
8. Have fun! We enjoy sledding and this is a bigger hill than we usually use. It was fun to try another way of going downhill. My husband thought the tubes were more comfortable. They were light and easy to carry. 
9. If you go, combine it with a little nature study, looking at the snow, any ice accumulations, the plants in winter, any tracks you might see, etc. These are natural observations that can be made during the excursion. 
10. There is a nearby warming shelter that sells concessions and rents snowshoes. Many people also brought their own food to take a break. We took a break to go snowshoeing, warm up, and then hit the tubing hill again. Fun times! 

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