Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Sand Dunes Galore

My family and I were lucky to travel to Lake Michigan during Columbus Day weekend, as we try to do most years. We only took a short trip for our summer vacation, so I was especially geared up for our fall trip. I was looking forward to traveling to some places I hadn’t visited before, even though they’re just a few hours from home.
We were disheartened to learn that rain was predicted for the entire Saturday through Monday timeframe we planned to be gone. Fortunately, we timed most of our outdoor activities fairly well, and though we got rained on a few times, at least we didn’t get caught in a torrential downpour. The winds and dark clouds that came with the rain helped to make the scenery we visited even more dramatic and beautiful.
Our first stop was to visit the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and State Park. We enjoyed not only climbing the massive dunes and experiencing spectacular views of Lake Michigan, but we also were able to hike through the shaded wooded trails to get there, which were also lovely. As we left the park and headed toward our hotel in Michigan, it started pouring, so we were happy to travel inside the warm vehicle, enjoying the beautiful tree foliage.
The next day we visited Grand Haven State Park, located in the town where we were staying, enjoying another great view of one of the greatest lakes, and the houses and other buildings built right into the dunes. We headed south to hike in beautiful Saugatuck Dunes State Park. Starting the hike through the peaceful forest trail, we eventually arrived at the dunes, where the view opened up to the vastness of Lake Michigan.

Again, it started to rain as we got back to the car, so we made a few indoor stops in Holland, then went to Holland State Park to view its perky red lighthouse when the rain stopped. Worn out from our day’s adventure, we topped off our sightseeing by stopping at a produce stand to pick up some tasty Michigan apples.
The next day dawned sunny and warm, a vast contrast to the two previous days. Since we were planning to visit Warren Dunes State Park on the way home, I was glad for the perfect weather. This park contains not only beautiful shoreline but also humungous dunes that are easily accessible right from the parking lot. If you’re willing to hike farther, even more dunes await. Seriously winded after the almost three-hundred foot sandy climb to the top, the view was well worth the workout, though by this time the back that had started aching a few days earlier, was in serious trouble. But what was I supposed to do? Not experience such neat places? No, that option definitely wasn’t on my bucket list!