Friday, September 16, 2011

The Bear Went Over the Mountain

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Empire, MI

I didn't know it before I went there today, but Good Morning America recently named the Sleeping Bear park the most beautiful place in America.  I still have a lot of America left to see, so I don't know if I agree, but it sure was pretty!

Most of the visitors to the park stop with the initial climb up the first dune - it's a steep hike in the deep sand, and the view from the top is beautiful.

Some of us - the fit and/or the foolish - are drawn further, to a mile-and-a-bit long trail promising a view of Lake Michigan at the end.

The sandy trail goes up and down; the entire length of it through soft sand.  The first hill just gives you a view of a second hill.  The second hill, a more-scenic third.  The third gives you a deceptive glimpse of the water ahead - it doesn't LOOK like it's that much further...

until you come across the top of the next hill.

The view as you come down the final hill is breathtaking, and someone has thoughtfully left a cut log on the beach for hikers to rest on for a bit. 

It was 'long about then, as I was resting and contemplating the serene beauty of the lake, that it sank in that I needed to walk back up the trail...

My calves and arches won't forgive me for days, I'm sure, but the hike was well worth whatever aches I end up with.

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