View from the end of summer

Two trees frame an azure pool,

One beacon guides us safely home.

One tree kisses the glowing sky,

And one moon rises over wherever we roam.

This is the end of my “View from the…” Michigan vacation photo series. I’ll be back to blogging my usual mix of musing, rants, photos, and satire by the end of the week. Meanwhile, I hope you check out this amazing photo story by fellow Michigan blogger,  White Pine Photo, of his once-in-a-lifetime climb to the top of the Mackinac Bridge. The photos are glorious – my heart was racing as I scrolled through, with palms as sweaty as if I were up there in person. This trip to the top of the Mackinac Bridge is a great wind-up to a pure Michigan summer. Just click the link below, or visit White Pine Photo from my Blogroll.

Climbing the Mackinac Bridge (

1. Mackinac Island, bluff overlooking Lake Michigan.

2. Round Island Lighthouse, Mackinac Island.

3. Lone tree, Mackinac Island, Round Island in distance.

4. Moonrise over airport, Mackinac Island.


© Huffygirl 2012

The sea is as smooth as glass…

“The sea is as smooth as glass. Let’s take off our shoes and stockings, and paddle” Pirates of Penzance, Gilbert and Sullivan

The two stretched out on the sandy beach, tired from clambering across the rocky shore. Done with wading through water waist deep, done with searching through wave-washed stones . The heat beat up from the 100 degree sand. “It’s too hot and too bright to read,” she said. “It’s too hot to walk anymore,” he said. The two sat in companionable silence, appreciating every small whiff of breeze coming off of the water. “What can we do?” she said. “We never relax,” he said. “We’re always doing something.” “It’s true,” she said. “Even when we think we’re relaxing, we’re not. We pop up from watching TV to do ironing or dishes. We never sit still. We’re too busy seizing life, afraid to miss something and grow old.” “Why don’t we just relax? ” he said. “We hardly ever do.”

And so the two sat stretched out upon the sultry beach. They watched the distant storm clouds gather. They watched birds glide overhead. They savored the increasing wisps of breezes. And they relaxed.

© Huffygirl 2012

(Inspired by the works of Winsomebella Thanks Bella for your beautiful words and photos!)

Easter Morning

A beautiful day, and especially bright for those celebrating the Christian holy day of Easter. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to enjoy a Sunday morning walk along Lake Michigan on this warm spring day with me.

A perfect day for a walk on the beach.

The waves create these back pools. Some days there will be many, other days none at all. The sun warms quickly warms the water in the small pools, making it many degrees warmer than cold Lake Michigan.

Sun sparkling on the lake makes it look like diamonds. This photo is my favorite!

Time for the long walk back.

Happy day and Happy Easter everyone!

© Huffygirl 2012

Related links:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Peaceful

Beaver Island sunset (© Huffygirl 2012)

Straits of Mackinac (© Huffygirl 2012)

I chose photos from two of the most peaceful places I’ve been for this week’s photo challenge. The first photo is sunset on Beaver Island, Michigan. Beaver Island is off the west coast of Michigan, about where the little finger is on the mitten. It’s a two-hour boat ride to get there. Life there is slow. There’s not much to do, except enjoy the scenery and outdoor activities of the island, and eat and drink  at the Shamrock Restaurant and Pub, (which  I contend is the home of world’s best hamburger,) or at one of the other local pubs and restaurants. When we traveled there, we left our car behind, so had to rely on our bikes or walking to get around. It was definitely a peaceful trip.

The second photo is in Mackinaw City, Michigan, where Lakes Michigan and Huron meet at the Straits of Mackinac. Mackinaw City is a touristy spot, full of hustle and bustle: the hub for ferry boats to Mackinac Island, and the jumping off point to the cross the bridge to the upper peninsula. But spending a few quiet minutes sitting at the Straits Beach, watching the lapping waters and slow trawlers making their way below the bridge,  is enough to help you put the all that aside and enjoy the peacefulness that only sitting by water can bring.

© Huffygirl 2012

Lake Shore Drive: Open for cycling, one day only

It’s 5:30 AM. I turn onto Lake Shore Drive, which is shrouded in heavy mist. I can’t see even an eighth of a mile ahead of me. Lake Michigan to my right is still, silent, completely hidden in the midst. The cityscape to my left – also veiled. I’m barely aware of my bearings, with the landmark skyline cloaked. 

Half-way done, at Grant Park, before the crowds arrived (© Huffygirl 2011)

I’m hemmed in by fellow travelers on both sides. Like typical voyagers, some are minding the rules, taking their turn to merge, while others skirt in and out of different lanes, cut people off, and pass too fast and close. So how is this different from any other day? My fellow travelers and I are all on bikes. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago’s main freeway-like artery, is completely closed to traffic, but just for now. At 9:30 AM or so, the orange cones will come down, police officers will wave their arms, blow their whistles, and the noisy mass of cars will take back the Drive. But for now, it belongs to us.

The crowd begins to thin as faster cyclists make their way ahead. Best husband Dave and I, always polite riders, are finally able to hit our stride and bike at a faster pace. We’re not beginners – this is the fourth time we’ve done this so we’ve figured out a routine. Biking on Lake Shore Drive among 20,000 others,  can be just as treacherous as driving. I ride to Dave’s right, and he navigates so we can stay together. “Okay, move left” and we’re passing. Then back to the middle lane, so we’re safe from the hammerheads – the élite cyclists who whiz by at 20 mph, shouting “Left, left, left,” expecting everyone on their right to let them by.

Best husband Dave, looking pretty wet (© Huffygirl 2011)

The fog has not lifted at all when we reach the first turn-around. We feel cheated that we missed our favorite landmarks: crossing the river we couldn’t even see the bridge posts, nor the water below, and we slid silently  past the Drake Hotel, unnoticed. Still, we feel like biking warriors. Our other three treks down the Drive were on balmy, sunny days, This one feels like an urban adventure. We congratulate ourselves for surviving the cold and damp thus far. We’re certainly dressed for it. Wearing what our children refer to as “our ridiculous outfits” we’re swathed in Gortex and Spandex. I’m wearing knee warmers too, short Spandex “sleeves” for my legs which work great, but add to the silly appearance of my ensemble, at least to non-cyclists that is. We decide to take off our glasses, useless now that they’re bathed in mist, and move on.

Huffygirl at the Museum of Science of Industry (© Huffygirl 2011)

By the time we reach The Museum of Science and Industry, the fog has lifted a little. We still can’t see the lake, but we can feel the cooler air moving off the water. We pose with others for pictures on the museum steps, and fight the massive crowds for a chance to eat Oreos and over-ripe bananas. By this time, our skin is soaked. I’m starting to shiver and wonder if it’s possible to get hypothermia in the middle of the Second City on a spring day.

A little way out from the museum, we stop and help another cyclist with a

The last leg of the trip - from the museum back to Grant Park (© Huffygirl 2011)

loose pedal. As Dave helps the fellow rider, I switch to my back up gloves which are now the only dry clothing I’m wearing. I’ve stopped drinking water as I don’t want to make myself any colder; with the heavy mist coating our skin, dehydration is the least of our problems.

We ride purposely the rest of the way, managing to warm up a little as we find clear lanes in which to hit our best speeds, and arrive at Grant Park happy and unscathed. Despite the gloomy weather, the Grant Park post-biking festivities are in full swing. Moms and dads towing muddy children stand in line for pancakes and sausage, while cyclists in full Spandex nab a free water bottle from the bank tent. Dave and I huddle on the edge of a muddy damp bench that we’ve managed to share with eight other people, scarfing pancakes and wishing we had something warm to drink. The music of the Blues Brothers tribute band (The Bluz Brothers), wafts from the stage, a pretty good imitation of Jake and Elwood. Usually we enjoy lingering among the crowd, sitting on the grass and watching everyone in their crazy outfits,  marveling at the variety

One muddy bike shoe (© Huffygirl 2011)

of old and new bikes that somehow made the trip. But today Grant Park is a sea of mud. By the time we hop on our bikes for the short ride back to the hotel, my shoes are so caked with mud that I can’t clip into my pedals. We speed past other riders who are just finishing or just starting their rides. We’re cold, wet, and muddy, but still glad to have been part of that one magical day when cyclists take over Lake Shore Drive.

(The Bike the Drive Event takes place the Sunday before Memorial Day every year. Huffygirl and Dave biked the full 30 miles, and plan to be back next year.)

At the Museum rest stop (© Huffygirl 2011)
Foggy day at the Museum (© Huffygirl 2011)

© Huffygirl 2011

Related link: (see some great pictures of the fog)

WP Weekly Photo Challenge Answer: One

So where is this famous, one of a kind tree, that I used to represent the theme of “one?” I kind of already gave the answer away on the original post, but some folks wanted to know more about the picture, so here it is. I took the photo at the top of Empire Bluff, Empire Michigan, located in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore area. To get to Empire Bluff, one must hike a fairly easy, though mostly uphill trail, about 1  1/4 miles I believe. My family and I have done this trail multiple times, the last with our very fit daughter-in-law carrying her two-year-old most of the way!

When you reach the top, there’s a great view of Lake Michigan, South Bar Lake, Empire Beach  and the Sleeping Bear Dunes coastline. The summit is a popular place for watching sunrises and sunsets, and a popular jumping off point for hang-gliders.

The “one” tree in the photo is no longer there. This tree has been dead for many years, but stood for years beyond it’s death, despite the harsh winds and soil erosion, hastened by the visitors who insist on leaving the assigned trail to walk in the delicate dune landscape. It finally fell a couple of years after I took the photo. I’ve been told that this tree has a famous photographic history, including a stint in National Geographic, although I’ve never seen said photo myself.

The photo is taken from the bluff, looking north. Lake Michigan is on the left, the Sleeping Bear Dunes coastline is in the background.

Another view of this very famous tree (© Huffygirl)

© Huffygirl