View from the top: Sleeping Bear Dunes


Many climb down, but few make it back up. Despite warning signs of the hazard of climbing down this steep dune cliff to the beach below, every day tourists at the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive do just that. Once down, it’s a grueling climb back up the cliff, or an eight mile hike to the next beach with access out, or a high-priced rescue from the local fire department. If you go there, don’t try it. There’s plenty of places to enjoy the Lake Michigan beaches at Sleeping Bear Dunes, without the risky cliff climb.

Top: Top of the dune, Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, with Manitou Islands in distance.

Bottom: Looking down from the top of the dune cliff onto Lake Michigan Beach below, from Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.

© Huffygirl 2012


Weekly Photo Challenge: Between


This is a restored lighthouse on South Manitou Island, part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Best husband took this photo from the top of the dune climb near Glen Arbor, Michigan. From there, the lighthouse is at least ten miles out.  The lighthouse lies between the Lake Michigan shoreline, which is not visible in the photo, and the bulk of South Manitou Island, as well as between South and North Manitou Islands. The island is only accessible by boat. Since we weren’t planning on doing any boating on that trip, this was the closest we could get to one of the most picturesque lighthouses in Michigan.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a great place to visit, with 35 miles of brown-sugar sand Lake Michigan shoreline, hiking trails, a scenic drive, a maritime museum, and many great beaches, all bordered by beautiful countryside and quaint small towns. My family and I have spent many summers vacationing in this area, and never grow tired of it. From biking around Crystal Lake, to canoeing the Platte River, to climbing to the top of Empire Bluff, there is always something fun and active to do in one of the most beautiful parts of Michigan.

© Huffygirl 2011

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