2011 August - Michigan Dunes
MICHIGAN DUNES ADVENTURE
Sunny days at beaches, climbing giant sand dunes, camping the great woods, kayaking down a winding river, during an end-of-summer adventure at a special place in Michigan.

SILVER LAKE STATE PARK
Our adventure started with camping at Silver Dunes State Park and swimming at a beach on Silver Lake. Giant sand dunes rose from across the lake making for an amazing backdrop offering us something more to explore.

SILVER LAKE SAND DUNES RIDE
The next morning an adventurous dune ride took us up climbing onto giant dune summits and down steep sweeps of sand and even riding onto the Lake Michigan shoreline. The ride was as exciting as it was educational, serving as an introduction to a world of windblown sand slowly moving and supporting its very own unique ecosystem.

LITTLE SABLE POINT BEACH
Historic Little Sable Point Lighthouse, built in 1874, stands 115 feet and is one of the tallest working lighthouses on the Great Lakes. Below the lighthouse an expansive sand beach provided us a refreshing experience in Lake Michigan.

EMPIRE BEACH
Farther north we enjoyed another swim at beautiful Empire Beach, tucked between two dune areas, the Empire Bluffs from the south and the Sleeping Bear Dunes to the north. The beach fronts two waters, Lake Michigan to the west, and South Bar Lake to the east. After a swimming in both lakes and watching a magnificent sunset, the beach became ablaze with several campfires and eventually a colorful fireworks display filled the night sky.

A hardwood forest canopy provided great camping in Empire Township. Long fun filled days were brought to rest in quiet woodland for a deep sleep.

After a morning of fun at Empire beach the tour continued northward.

SLEEPING BEAR DUNES
On Lake Michigan west of Traverse City, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was recently voted by morning show “Good Morning America” as the most beautiful place in America. A scenic drive through the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was followed by steep climbs to the top of towering sand dunes for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

We made brief visits to the historic lakeside towns of Empire, Glen Haven, and Glen Arbor.

KAYAKING CRYSTAL RIVER
Kayaking on the Crystal River became an exciting conclusion to our adventure filled days. Each Scout paddled his own kayak on a narrow twisting river that wound its way through maple and beech forests. Shallow spots and downfall trees had to be negotiated with skill. Two portage areas required kayaks to be carried overland a short distance to a new launch site. One exciting point on the river included shooting through a giant conduit under a roadway on fast moving water. Kayaking was a great fun way for them to test their skills and explore an unspoiled area of wilderness.
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