We safely crossed through from Canada to the USA. We headed towards Traverse City, Michigan. We had to cross the Mackinaw Bridge. The bridge can swing 20 feet and go up and down several feet as well. It is a suspension bridge held up by those thick green cables!
We set up camp and left Dad to do some work. We headed to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We ran up and down the dunes and rolled in the sand.
The dunes were a lot higher than we thought. We made the 110 foot climb easily and then up to the 287 feet dune. The sand was wet from the storms so it was a bit easier to climb.
Heading up to the highest point we could find.
Running back down…
We worked on our Junior Ranger books and learned how the dunes have been shifting 2.5 feet per year.
They installed a beam in 1989 to measure the movement. The winds off Lake Michigan carry the sand over the top of the dunes.
Next we headed to the blacksmiths shop but the doors were locked. The doors were also closed at several other buildings. We were confused because the ark was open until 4 and it was before 2pm. We finally found a park employee and learned that there was a bank robbery in the area and for safety reasons the entire town was shut down and there were police at every intersection closing roads. We headed the long way back to the campground and opted to try again in the morning.
In the morning we drove the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and learned more about the dunes and the ecology of the area.
There is one scenic overlook that is where the dines meet the lake. It was wicked steep and covered in footprints. The next day we came back here with Dad and there were lots of people going down the dunes to the water and then making there way back up. There was a sign that indicated that it could take 2 hours at least to come back up! UGH!
I found my own #findyourpark sign.
We visited the blacksmiths shop again now that it was open back up. We watched the blacksmith make a dinner bell. At the end we were able to donate money in exchange for the dinner bell. We learned a lot about the tools and tricks of ironwork.
We turned in our Junior Ranger books and earned a badge, a patch and a cool book from a local artist celebrating the 100th anniversary of the parks.
On the way back to the campground we stopped at the Platte River Fish Hatchery and learned about the Soho Salmon restocking program. We saw lots of fish fry in the runways.
The weir is able to be opened and closed based on what fish are spawning or running.Â
We went back to the dunes with Dad late Friday. Dad was joking and told me to tackle Mom. I took her down to the ground several times. Mom finally said, TAKE DAD DOWN! I ran full force through the sand and dove at his knees. I had no luck! Dad is strong!