24 August 2013
Today we decided to only stay at Grayling National Guard RV park for 2 nights instead of 4 and leave tomorrow for Lakeshore RV park in St Ignace UP Michigan. So since we only have 1 day for touring we drove to Sleeping Bear Dunes NP via Hwy 72 and 22.
A very scenic drive with Lake Michigan to the west and Grand Traverse Bay to the east. The drive takes you through the quaint towns of Glen Haven, Glen Arbor, Leland, Northport and Suttons Bay. Off 22 from Empire take the cutoff 109 to do the 7 mile Pierce Stocking Scenic Loop through the park.
|Map of Drive|
The Indian legend of the name starts long ago in the land that is now Wisconsin, a mother bear and her two cubs were driven into Lake Michigan by raging forest fires. They swam and swam, but soon the cubs tired and lagged behind. Mother bear finally reached the shore, climbed to the top of the bluff and waited for her cubs that had drowned. Today "Sleeping Bear" is a solitary dune overlooking Lake Michigan marking the spot where she waited. The lost cubs are the two Manitou Islands seem in the distance.
Erosion has made it difficult to see the outline of the bear today.
Many visitors come here to hike the dunes and forests, kayak, do the 450ft hike down to Lake Michigan via the dunes. I awed at all the people hiking down for a swim and then returning via the steep climb on the dunes. A sight we had never before seen.
Visit the website http://www.nps.gov/slbe
|Top of the Dunes|
|Think I'll Stay at the Top|
Our first viewpoint was Glen Lake which can reach depths up to 130 ft and in some places as low as 12 ft. The different shades of blue indicate the lake depths. Next we stopped at the Dunes overlook. The most spectacular overlooks were Lake Michigan and Sleeping Bear Dune. This is the sight of the hike down to Lake Michigan via the Dunes. From here on a very clear day you can see South Manitou Island and Wisconsin.
|Hike to Lake Michigan|
|As Far as we Got|
|At the Bottom|
|Must be Worth it|
|Less Steep Climb|
|Michigan Lake Viewpoint|
We then stopped for lunch at Boondocker's in Glen Arbor which lies on Sleeping Bear Bay. A brief stop in Leland, a picturesque village between Lake Michigan and Lake Leelanau, to see the Fishtown district and passenger only ferry gateway to the Manitou Islands.
|General Store Glen Haven|
|Fishtown in Leland|
|Rick's Cafe and Falls Leland|
|Interesting Boat Fishtown|
|Northport Yacht Basin|
|Grand Traverse Bay|
Traverse City is impressive with nice beaches and parks. Very clean and many beautiful historic homes. We did not spend time here only drove through. Another time, another trip. We wanted to return home before dark. We did see a nice state campground across from one of the beaches on Hwy 31. Also stopped at a nice fruit and vegetable stand where we purchased some delicious black cherries, tomatoes, squash, zucchini and garlic bread.
|Traverse City Waterfront|
|Traverse City Park|
A most enjoyable day. We are now anxious to tour the Upper Peninsula.