Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sleeping Bears

M22 is a Michigan highway that runs along the Northwest coast of the lower peninsula.
It takes travelers along some of the most beautiful stretches of road you will ever see.
My little car was begging me to take it here.

Good Morning America asked viewers to vote where the most beautiful place in America is.
America voted for M22 and The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park.

For reasons that you are about to see, I think you might agree.

As you enter the park, this is one of the first things that you see.

At the first turn off, you can look out over these lakes and the rolling countryside.
The leaves were just starting to change when we took these photos.
Imagine this scene in full fall color.

Here, we get our first glimpse of the dunes and a hint of Lake Michigan in the distance.
The dunes are constantly changing so it may look different each time you visit.

It's so nice to get away from our busy schedules for the day.

Here, you can see the sleeping bear herself. The large mound would be her belly and the small point to the right would be her face. Several years ago, it looked more prominent than what we see today. After all, the dunes are constantly changing.

The native story goes:
There was a huge fire in Wisconsin that forced the mother bear and her two cubs out into Lake Michigan for safety from being burned to death. The bears swam and swam. Finally, the mother bear reached the shore of Michigan and fell asleep in the sand. When she awoke and turned to her cubs, she noticed they didn't make it to the shore. They had drowned just off the shore. Where they laid, sand deposited and formed the Manitou (Bear) Islands. The mother laid down herself and let the sand cover her. From the Sleeping Bear Dunes, one can see the islands just off the coast to the North.

Wildflowers along the path to the dunes.

Back in the car to the next scenic turn-out.

I've been here before. But Edward had no idea what he was about to see.

A 450 foot cliff of sand that drops off into Lake Michigan.

Some vegetation tries to hold the hill together. But the mountain of sand moves about 2 feet East each year.

By the size of the people in the photos, you can judge the size of this sand hill.

The view to the North. You can see the south island in the distance.

Looking to the South you see miles and miles of Michigan coastline.
From here, it is 53 miles to Green Bay Wisconsin, if you can swim that far.

It is fun to run down this mammoth sand dune. 
Just remember, it's 450 feet up, climbing sand
that falls to the lake as you try to climb back up.
It is HIGHLY recommended to NOT try this.

The dunes are about 2 miles deep and more or less run the length of the western coast of the state.

Even a gentle breeze across the lake hits this wall of sand and is forced upward at a high rate of speed.
It was all I could do to keep my shirt from flying right up over my head.

It was a beautiful late summer day in mid-September.

Temperatures were perfect.

A slice of heaven.

It really doesn't get any better.

HD Thoreau wrote, "Heaven is under our feet,
as well as over our heads."

I'll remind you, It's your choice weather to find it or not.

You don't need to travel to the most beautiful place in America to find heaven.
Look around you.
Look at the wonderful people and places that you've chosen to surround yourself with.
You can't control others. 
But you can control how you feel.
Choose heaven every day.

From here we'll see more of this amazing coastline.


MorningAJ said...

OMG that's beautiful! It's hard to accept that's a lake. It looks so much like a sea coast. And you can get there for a day trip? You are very lucky.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

what a fabulous place. thank you so much for showing it to us. i am really enjoying this trip!

Stew Adams said...

This lake, like all the others in the area is fresh water. No salt!
And I work about a half mile from Lake Huron on the East coast of this amazing state.

Stew Adams said...

Perhaps one day I'll spend more than just a few hours there.

Jim said...

I can why it was voted the best place to visit in America! This is incredible, Stew! I have never heard of this area before. I can truly see why you would like being there. Thanks.

Stew Adams said...

If the leaves change in the forest and no one is there to see them, is it still autumn?
The autumn leaves are in full color right now. But because of our government shutdown, this park and all other National Parks are closed.

Jim said...

OH OH! One of those trick questions!! Of course it would be autumn silly! lol
As long as there was something 'alive' and witnessing it, I think it would be autumn......that could be anything from flora to fauna.
What do you think Stew?

Stew Adams said...

And the temperature is still cool. So I guess it is still autumn.
It's just a shame that no one is there to see this transformation this year in such a beautiful place.