Monday, October 21, 2013

Manistee Light

Before we head home,
my little car begged for one more stop.

Manistee is just down the coast from Bear Lake and
The Sleeping Bear Dunes.

I couldn't go home without stopping to photograph this lighthouse.

A pending storm off the coast only added to the drama of the pictures.

I tried to get it from all angles.

It took a lot of hiking in the sand
with wind and waves breathing down our necks.

Had to fight off the natives a bit.

Eventually, they let me get my shot.

That's when I knew I had to get closer.

More walking.

The light marks the entrance to the harbor and helps the ships 
navigate Lake Michigan.

Isn't he so cute!

The elevated walkway is necessary in the winter for access to the light,

As the cold winter winds blow the waters of Lake Michigan, 
the whole peer will be covered in ice.
But today was actually quite nice.

It was worth the walk.

This beach does have some rules.
And this gull was here to make sure we obeyed.

This concludes our little weekend get-a-way.
I'm glad I could share it with you all.

I don't put these photos on here to show off.
Instead, it is to show you that beauty exist all around us.
And, it's all here, just for you.
Your mere presence has always been enough
for the birds to sing, the waves to roll and the sun to shine.
So why do you ever feel like you should be more?

The things you see and experience in your life,
are all yours. No one else will ever see life through your eyes.
So enjoy what you've been given.
I can't do it for you.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Photo Essay

This is The Brighter Side of the Grave.

It is not Ocean Breezes.

This is not an ocean at all.

You are enjoying Lake Michigan.

I've enjoyed sharing this day trip with you.

The weather could not have been better.

The scenery could not have been better.

And the company could not have been better.

My nerves have been reset.

I am ready for whatever life can through at me.

The "Good Old Days" are not something of the past.

They are right now.

Take the time to look around and enjoy.

To see what one has been missing, is the whole point to every life.

Seeing more, is how to love more.

It's not that you want stuff that you don't have,

But that you want stuff that you think you don't have.

The best way to change this, is to begin thinking that you have it.

You have already been given the Sun, 

you've been given the moon, and the stars.

The best things in life are free.

Our nation's first people would say that when you find a feather,
someone from heaven is sending you a message.

Have you been paying attention?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sleeping Bear, pt.2

Today, we continue our tour of the most beautiful place in America.

Further up the road, we were afforded this overview of the coast.

Then we set out to climb some of these incredible dunes.

All smiles at the bottom.

Then we kicked our shoes off and let our toes sink into the sand.

With the sun up above, it was a beautiful journey.

The view from the top.

The path continued for miles through the sand.

Still smiling. Just a little winded from the climb.

I don't know what grows in all this sand, but it's a beautiful farm.

The fine texture felt so nice under our feet and between our toes.

As promised John, Tumbleweed.

Now that's a lot of sand!

Tomorrow, more of this incredible coastline.

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.