Monday, May 2, 2011

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Friday was a perfect day for a trip to Lake Michigan. 

First, the Beachy Buggy, my minivan, needed an initiation to the Great Lakes. Also, Betsy, Brian and David had just completed a semester at Delta College, and Amanda had finished her first Master's degree semester at U of M Flint. Kendra was visiting on Penn View's Spring Break. Julie had the day off work, and I finished teaching at ten (though I ended up completing a project on my laptop and emailing it from the Cadillac McDonald's.)

Friday morning Amanda, Kendra, David, Julie, Betsy, Brian and I piled into the Beachy Buggy and set off across the state for the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The park comprises 35 miles of shoreline. Some of the dunes, huge piles of sand originally formed by glaciers thousands of years ago, tower four hundred feet above Lake Michigan.

The dunes were named after a Native American legend about a mother bear and her two cubs who swam across Lake Michigan to escape a forest fire in Wisconsin. The bears became too tired to swim and disappeared in the water. Two islands, North and South Manitou, rose out of the water to represent the cubs. The mother bear reached Michigan and climbed to land to watch for her cubs. She became the sleeping bear dune.

It's a mile and a half climb over cardiac work-out dunes from the Dune Climb parking lot to the water. I petered out at the halfway point where I could see the blue of Lake Michigan from the peak of a dune. There, in the warm sun I laid down on the sand for a nap. Amanda, David and Brian, however, made the full trek. 

Even we puny ones made it to the water later in the afternoon. After dumping small dunes from our shoes, we drove up the road to Glen Haven where we skipped stones and dipped our toes in the numbing water. 

We took the scenic route (no-good, curvy road, according to Brian) home and made it to Ludington just as the sun was setting. The sun wasn't a fiery ball of color, but the sky was tinted with pastel colors as we walked out the breakwater to the Ludington Light. After the sun set, we dropped by friends' house a few miles west of Ludington for a short visit and to snag a few pieces of pizza before heading home.

Betsy jumps off a dune peak.

Betsy and Kendra draw cells in the sand.

Kendra, the science teacher, examines stones on the shore.

Amanda and Kendra walk along the breakwater.

Kendra hailed a passerby to snap this photo.
Back: Amy, Brian, David, Kendra. Front: Julie, Betsy, Amanda.


  1. Looks like a lot of fun, Amy! But if you really wanted to see lakes, you should have just come down our way last week. We had plenty of "lakes" springing up from all of the rain!


  2. What a great adventure! Lake Michigan and Sleeping Bear Dunes are so beautiful.