What better way to celebrate our nation’s independence than by spending the day in of our gorgeous national parks, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Our family likes to hike, and one of our favorite places to visit is Sleeping Bear Dunes. The Dunes get their name from the Native American Legend of the Sleeping Bear. The legend tells of a mother bear and her 2 cubs that were driven from the wilderness of Wisconsin by a wildfire, forcing them to swim across Lake Michigan to safety. The mother bear and her cubs swam through the night. The cubs tired, but the mother bear kept encouraging them. The mother bear made it to shore, and laid down facing the water, waiting for her cubs to join her. The cubs swam to within sight of shore, but were too tired to complete the long journey, and disappeared. The Great Spirit Manitou created two islands to mark the spot where the cubs disappeared, and a larger dune on shore to mark the faithful mother bear.
We hike the Dune Climb several times each year. The boys can’t get enough of it. It’s like a giant mountain of sand. And you are rewarded by the fantastic views from the top. It’s also a fun place to take our seasonal visitors, which is exactly what we did. My friend, and former co-worker, Christie came for a long weekend with her family. She has two adorable girls, and a son–who, by the way, was very excited to get some “boy time” with our sons. We had both had children since we last spent time together, so we were very excited to see each other. We were a bit leery of taking the baby on the hike over the steep and moving terrain, but since he is the 4th son, and by far our most flexible child at his age, we decided to give it a go.
We arrived at the Dune Climb under a near constant drizzle. If you think that was going to slow us down from climbing that big wall o’ sand, you are mistaken.
Thanks for use of the photo!
The climb itself is deceptively challenging in that while the first leg of it is clearly high, the incline is more gradual than it appears. That coupled with the fact that the sand is moving like a treadmill while you are climbing, makes for a sluggish ascent. Imagine trying to walk up an slow avalanche, and you get the idea. But trust me, it’s really fun! Imagine how I felt when Hubby said those little words that made my heart go pitter-pat…
I’ll carry the baby.
I just love that man.
We are always amazed that in the time it takes an adult to climb that first sand dune, some of the older kids have run up and back down 3 or 4 times. Show-offs. The rain worked in our favor by packing down the sand, so the climb went faster than usual. The real bummer was that the spectacular 360 degree clear view was instead wrapped in wisps of fog and mist. Still pretty in its own right, but not the lake and country views of which we are accustomed.
The baby was still chillin’ out while strapped on to his daddy’s back, but here are rest of the little munchkins taking a rest after their repeated ascent and descent of the first dune. Took awhile to wear them out.
And because you never seem to get pictures as a couple once you have kids, I insisted on snapping this one of Matt & Christie. Love the shirt, Matt! He won it at a White Elephant party.
Quite thoughtful of the National Park Service to strew about benches along the dune climb for which to rest your weary feet. And slug some water. And perhaps coerce your children to pose for a photo. I was able to herd my boys into one location long enough to pose for a picture with their parents. You can see that my 2nd son needed the restraint of my arms around him to keep him in the frame for more than 1.5 seconds. The kid just doesn’t like his picture taken. He did however, like the ice cream cone he earned after we were done climbing.
The baby wondered where his ice cream was, since he climbed the sand dunes, too. I told him it was just one of the many inequities of being a baby. I think he understood, because he seemed pretty happy with his banana. I doubt we will be able to get away with that much longer.