Friday, June 11, 2010

Northern Michigan, Day 2: Sleeping Bear Dunes

Tuesday in Northern Michigan began with more pie--but not the tasty kind. I got a nice serving of humble pie after all my talking smack about the GPS we'd borrowed from my parents and how I didn't need it, I had printed out directions (not realizing we'd borrow it) and could navigate just fine by myself, thankyouverymuch. Too bad my directions to the Visitors Center for Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore took us to some random school instead of the real Visitors Center. I'm blaming Google :P

So, once we found it, we spent the morning and early afternoon exploring Sleeping Bear Dunes. Gorgeous, gorgeous views of Glen Lake and Lake Michigan--and lots of physical exertion to compensate for all that yummy food.

Above is Glen Lake as we drove by. I had no idea there were so many beautiful lakes in northern Michigan!

A lookout over a very steep dune on the shore of Lake Michigan

After a little scenic drive, we stopped at the Dune Climb. Oh my. Anyone who has run in soft sand on a flat beach knows it's a workout--but have you ever tried to *climb* soft, loose sand? Here we are in the parking lot--watching two tiny people make their way up the massive dune:

Here we've conquered the first steep climb and are realizing how much further we have to go to the "top":
I was super thankful for my patient husband, who stopped as many times as I needed to and in whose footsteps I walked--discovering that it was easier to step where he had stepped, since the sand had already shifted under his weight. Finally, we made it to the top, where we found a bench (ahhhhh) and a gorgeous view of Glen Lake. You can see the tiny parking lot in the center of the photo below--but you can't see the part where our car is, because of the dune's steepness.

At this point you can continue on a 3.5-mile round-trip hike to see Lake Michigan, up and down nine or so more dunes...or you can decide that Glen Lake is beautiful and turn around to head back down. With me 20 weeks pregnant, guess which we chose?

Here's another view from the road, to try and get a sense of where we climbed. We reached the little trees in the top left of the picture below:

And another view from the road, to show how it was sand all the way:

After the Dune Climb, we drove a little further and hiked the Sleeping Bear Point Trail, a 2.8-mile loop with views of Lake Michigan. It was still mostly sand, but not as strenuous as the other trail--we got a welcome respite with some shade and hard-packed ground at the very end of the hike.

The trail goes through a "ghost forest"--a collection of what used to be living trees until the dunes shifted and buried them. It's crazy to think how much these dunes are moving! You can see the trail continuing on in the background:

A few hours spent like this gave us many reasons to thank God: for the beauty of creation, for the ability to exert muscles and enjoy it, and for the fact that our sunscreen worked. We were out in direct sun for several hours at peak time and neither of us, fair-skinned though we are, got burned--I was so glad for that protection.

The rest of day 2 will continue in another post...

1 comment:

Danielle said...

Wow, what interesting landscape! Some friends of ours recently vacationed up in northern Michigan with family, but I'm not sure where.