I opened the door of the van this morning and was enveloped in cool pea soup fog. It felt like summer in Moss Beach. Went down to the lake to say goodbye and while I was looking for other tail dragging trails in the sand from the camp turtle, the mournful cry of a loon echoed across the lake. No sign of the turtle. He was off on further adventures. And so was I.
On the advice of native Michigander, Rebecca, I decided to motor part way down the west side of the mitten and check out Sleeping Bear Dunes. First it was over the Mackinac Bridge. I hear it’s a beautiful. I’ll have to take folks word for it. The dense fog had me pressing my nose against the bug stained windshield just to see a few feet in front of me. Went through the quaint towns of Petoskey, Charlevoix and Traverse City with their little bays and inlets. The roadside stands were advertising either smoked fish, taxidermy, cherries, fudge, or bait. Apparently, tourists up here are called “fudgies” because they consume so much of it. I didn’t stop for any.
The farther south I got the more it brightened and by the time I got to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore there was more blue than gray overhead. These are no ordinary sand dunes. From the parking lot it’s a steep climb. I was expecting to see the waters of Lake Michigan once I reached the top but instead the view is a vast, beautiful wasteland of undulating dunes. I trudged on. The “trail” is marked by wooden poles spaced every 50 to 100 yards or so. I told myself numerous times, the lake is just over the next rise. I half expected to come across some lost, staggering, sun delirious family from a Memorial Day outing gone wrong.
At last I reached the lake. No lake has ever looked so delicious. I hiked south down the deserted beach for a ways and passed the remnants of an old wooden hull buried in sand at the waters edge. When I turned to go back I got to thinking there must be a more direct way. To keep things short, there’s not. I startled a couple when I came over a rise and finally hooked up with the main trail just a few hundred yards from the parking lot. The woman asked, “Where’d you come from?” I pointed and replied, “Don’t go that way.”
My shortcut put me behind schedule. I had to make tracks. I decided I was going to camp just south of Detroit at Sterling State Park on Lake Erie in order to have a reasonable day to Rochester tomorrow. It was a tough drive. Buckets of rain fell and the Michigan roads are the pot holiest of the trip so far. I made it to my destination by 8pm. It’s a RV kind of campground with nice paved parking spots, electrical hook-ups (which I don’t need), and a playground.