Climbing a Giant Dune In The Rain – Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan

We have one “people traveling in a van” problem that does not have a solution: rain. It has been raining SO MUCH since we started our road trip along Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. See, our van is actually a car which is a great house when it’s sunny, but miserable if it rains for more than a day. Stuff gets easily wet, it doesn’t ever get dry, we are stuck inside our super small van. After a week of downpour “unusual-for-June”, we though “Ok, whatever, that’s life on the road, and it’s Michigan. Thank you, Michigan”. But it’s definitely the ugly/hard part about doing what we do. First-world problems, I know… sleeping bear dunes storm That being said, despite the heavy rain this season, Michigan has been one of our favorite states to visit so far. The natural sites are among the most beautiful we’ve seen in the U.S, including Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Sleeping Bear Dunes is an group of high dunes and beautiful beaches along the shores of crystal clear Lake Michigan. The highlight of a visit to this park is the Dune Climb. The highest dune is about 200 ft (60 meters), and the whole experience is a 3-hour hike going to Lake Michigan and back. We attempted to climb the dune on an overcast day, only to be stopped by thunder after only 20 minutes. Fortunately, in-between two storms, Michigan did offer us blue sky. Being patient, monitoring our weather apps constantly and listening to the sound of the sky, we managed to hike the dune during a rare couple hours of glorious sunshine. The trail starts with a tall dune climb. When you reach the top, you can see a small lake on the other side of Lake Michigan. Then, you walk about two miles up and down smaller dunes covered with surprisingly rich vegetation. Sleeping Bear Dunes Flora Near the end of the trail, Lake Michigan appears in the horizon. We saw two Michigander girls swimming in the cold water. These people are tough. The hike is a little challenging. It is recommended to wear shoes, as the sand can get hot. We used water shoes, it was fine. A few miles from the Dune climb, a scenic drive presents another more challenging climb, that we didn’t approach since it was pouring rain again that day. But simply for the view, the scenic drive is worth it. Surprisingly, this incredible park seems to be visited mostly by Michiganders… we didn’t meet any Europeans. Was Father Jacques Marquette the last known French visitor here? Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

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