Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park
Jul 21, 2013
|Today's breakfast at the B&B was vanilla yogurt with fixings (granola, coconut, nuts, chocolate chips), hard boiled eggs, cheese slices, assorted fruits (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries), bread slices with your choice of butter, jams, Nutella or, peanut butter. It was all delicious.
We left for the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park around 9:15. We drove the Pierce Stocking Drive. This is a 7.4 mile self-guided auto tour offering stunning views of Lake Michigan, the Sleeping Bear Dunes, Big and Little Glen Lakes and the Manitou Islands. Overlooks and viewing platforms are easily accessible from the parking areas. The highlights on this drive were Glen Lake, the Dune Overlook, the Lake Michigan Overlook, the Sleeping Bear Dune Overlook and North Bar Lake.
At the Dune Overlook, John decided he was going to do the climb. It is over 400 feet high with a 20 degree angle. The views of Lake Michigan from the top are breathtaking. It was an easy walk down. Climbing up was a different story. It only took him 30 minutes to make the climb back up, which was excellent. Most of the time he climbed on all fours. We all greeted him at the top with high-fives! Excellent job, John.
After lunch at the Cherry Republic, we did a little geo-cashing with Vicki and Steve and the decided on hiking the Pyramid Point Trail to work off some of our lunch and goodies. It is a moderate trail with some steep climbing. There is an overlook of Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands. You can see the wreck of the Francisco Morazon over the south end of S. Manitou Island.
Instead of taking the same trail back we ventured off through the meadow. Another steep climb. By the time we reached the car we walked 2.8 miles. It was now 4:00pm and we all had about enough hiking for the day.
For our dinner tonight we walked to the Bear Paw Pizza place and ordered two pizzas and brought them back to the B&B. We grabbed one of the vacant tables on the porch and ate our pizza. It was a nice, laid-back atmosphere.
We decided to do the Empire Bluff Trail tonight, which claims to have the best views of a sunset over Lake Michigan. It was cloudy and we weren't sure we would see a sunset, but we went anyway.
We left the B&B at 7:30. Few trails in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore lead to a more spectacular view at the end as does this short path to the edge of Empire Bluff. The bluff rises more than 400 feet above the sandy shoreline of Lake Michigan and puts you in a lofty perch to view a large chunk of the national lakeshore.
There were six interpretive posts and an accompanying brochure that explained the natural and geological history of the area. This round trip was only 1.5 miles, but is rated moderate due to the amount of climbing involved. We saw a buck along the trail.
We reached the bluff with over an hour to wait until sunset at 9:20pm. There was a slight break in the clouds so we were hoping to get a little glimpse of the sun setting over Lake Michigan. It wasn't the most spectacular sunset I've seen but it was nice just the same and I don't know when I'll get a chance to see the sun set over Lake Michigan again, so I was glad that we stayed.
We got back to the car in about 30 minutes and arrived at the B&B by 10:10.
Another great day in Michigan.