The 45th parallel is equidistant from the Earth's equator and Santa's workshop at the North Pole. You'll find it on the third finger of your Michigan hand-map.

Some strategic planning can help that magic dust be more potent and effective for Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph to help Santa make all of the Christmas deliveries to good little girls and boys in just one night. An elf at emailsanta.com lets us in on one of the Christmas secrets:

He [Santa, of course] starts by delivering presents at the International Date Line and travels west following the Earth's rotation around the sun. By doing that he gains many, many extra hours of time. Children are actually waking up and opening presents while Santa is still delivering!

In Michigan, we're a lot closer to the North Pole than South America. Did you know there's a place in our state that is precisely halfway between the North Pole and the Earth's equator? Frankenmuth would be the obvious choice, but it's a summer party spot, not the year-round Christmas town that has the distinction of sitting at the 45th parallel: Torch Lake.

Torch Lake, the body of water (in)famous for hosting wild summer parties is better known than the town of Torch Lake. On your Michigan map that you always take with you, Torch Lake is close to the top knuckle of your ring finger. To the northeast of Traverse City, up around the bay is a historical marker denoting the 45th parallel. So, the next time you're heading up north on Highway 31, look for a truly unique Michigan photo-op.

Crisp photos from a peaceful snowshoe hike in the northern Michigan woods after a fresh snowfall

One of Michigan's most beautiful state parks looks enchanting under a blanket of fresh snow. Brian Wellwood documented his snowshoe trek on the Old Growth Forest and Au Sable River trails at Grayling's Hartwick Pines State Park.
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