Friday, August 2, 2013

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

In search of more summer-like temperatures I crossed the Mackinac Bridge into Michigan's lower peninsula.  I'm a member of Anytime Fitness so a city having a location (1500 locations nationwide) tends to draw me.  Traverse City had one so I made that area a destination.  About 25 miles to the west of the city is Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore which I visited and toured by first visiting the Phillip Hart Visitor Center in Empire, MI to buy the $10 weekly park pass. 

Lake Michigan from the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive
The first stops were along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive which is a winding one lane 7.5 mile paved road loop with 12 stops for different views of the lake and the dunes.  The scenery is just spectacular.

The dunes beach along Lake Michigan
It takes about an hour and a half to complete the Scenic Drive loop depending on how much photography you want to engage in.

There's an ore carrier way out on the horizon
Next up was the Dune Climb where you....climb up a 110 foot sand dune that seems more like a couple miles high.  Here's the first part of the climb.

Initially it doesn't look too tough.
The tough part of the climbing is you slide back several inches for every step you take.

Glen Lake from the top of the dune.

After dumping sand out of my Topsiders I continued on to the historical town of Glen Haven, a steamship stop at the turn of the 20th century.  There's a Maritime Museum there built around an actual Coast Guard station that is free to visit (donations accepted).

Lots of exhibits of early 1900's life.
They had a miniature cannon that fired rope 400 yards out to a sinking ship that allowed crewman to be brought to shore on....pretty cool!
I'm a sucker for cannons.