Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Great Trip to the Great Lake!

It’s become a tradition in my family to take a short trip during Columbus Day weekend. My daughters have a four day break from school, so it’s the perfect opportunity to escape for a couple of days. We usually head north to Wisconsin, which was the case for this year’s trip. In a mere four hours we reached our destination of Port Washington, which was perfect, since we got a great deal on a room, and it was close to where we wanted to visit.  Other than getting a late start and having to sit in Milwaukee’s Friday evening rush hour traffic for an hour, our drive north went smoothly. We checked into our hotel early that evening and decided to drive a few blocks east to get our first real glimpse of Lake Michigan

We drove around the downtown area, checking for possible dinner destinations, and parked near the marina. Though the evening was cool, with the sun was starting to set, we walked around the pristine park-like paths. My daughters were mesmerized by the fishy smell, boats, people fishing off the docks, and of course, Lake Michigan itself.
Saturday was the day we were planning to explore two state parks to the north, which is what we did, despite the rainy weather. Wisconsin needed the rain as much as Illinois did, so I was glad they received some, but I wished the rain could have waited a few hours! I love Lake Michigan, and all of the Great Lakes.  I never grow tired of seeing the vast blue amazing splendor. I jokingly call the lakes “Midwestern Oceans”, since they seem so endless.

The first park we visited was Kohler – Andrae State Park, located near Sheboygan. If you enjoy camping, this would be a great place to pitch your tent. For those staying for the day, there are plenty of natural areas to explore, including a few miles of lakefront beach and associated sand dunes. While it would have been pleasant to visit the lake on a warm and sunny day, like the last time we visited, the threatening gray skies and white-capped, crashing waves were breathtaking. After spending time on the beach, we trekked inland to explore the sand dune trails and saw more spectacular vistas. Of course, we also saw a variety of trees including various evergreen conifers and stunning multi-hued deciduous trees. 
In retrospect, we should have spent the rest of our time hiking in Kohler-Andrae State Park, but instead, we decided to drive farther north to Point Beach State Park, near Two Rivers. This park contains even more miles of lakefront beach, an original Civilian Conservation Corps building, and an authentic light house. However, as we entered the park, the storm decided to really hit. We spent a short time on the beach and became thoroughly soaked in the process. The girls begged to stay longer, but we’d had enough of the cool, windy, wet afternoon. We ran back to the parking lot and navigated the rest of the park from the cozy confines of the van.

The next day was stunningly bright after the previous day’s stormy weather. Even though we drove the interstate all the way home, the scenery was beautiful, almost as if the fall foliage had become more colorful in the short time that had elapsed from our journey north. Even though we were only gone 48 hours, it was enough time to see some gorgeous scenery, spend some time together as a family, and temporarily forget the stress of our daily lives.  However, one of the best things about the trip was watching my young daughters not only enjoy, but get excited about, experiencing the beautiful scenery, despite the stormy weather. That's an important reason why I write Rachel Raccoon and Sammy Skunk books -- to help children and their families learn about nature and enjoy being outdoors. Maybe my next book will be "Rachel and Sammy Visit the Great Lakes"!


1 comment:

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