Hiking Arcadia

Tony and I have always leaned toward the curmudgeonly side, opting for to bushwack our own roads rather than share one with the masses. It’s not that the masses are lesser; it’s that they are masses. Thus, living in Traverse City, we are more aware of the weekend crowds that gather to play in our northern Michigan playground, and we feel pressure to escape. Even popular outdoor destinations like the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park feel too busy on weekends, so yesterday we decided to aim for a sunset hike a bit south of our normal settings.

After an oddly frustrating drive down US-31, we parked at the Old Baldy Trailhead in the Arcadia Dunes Nature Preserve. We’d driven by the area a few times, but never stopped for a hike. We joined one car in the parking area, and other than footprints, saw no other signs of humanity on our outing. Masses averted πŸ˜‰

The trail was well-marked, dotted with late summer wildflowers, and devoid of bugs – pretty much the best kind of trail. The mixed hardwoods had a lovely open forest floor, deeply darkened by a rich canopy. But we soon climbed a ridge leading over the dunes.

The packed sand gave way to loose sand as we rounded Old Baldy, an open dune perched 356-feet above Lake Michigan.

The sun shone through a hazy sky, painting the sand peach; a gentle breeze took the heat out of the climb; and the vistas made us feel tiny.

Because there wasn’t easy lake access, we decided to stop by the shore in Elberta so that Petey could get a drink and romp in the waves.
After the sunset in Elberta

The scope of the beauty that surrounds our days in northern Michigan sometimes leaves me breathless. Moving here five years ago was a good choice. I love calling this place home – even on “busy” weekends that encourage us to spread our wings a little.

18 thoughts on “Hiking Arcadia

      • Probably not much different when we have normal years – last year we were very mild and you were anything but. Really the only thing about the weather that bothered me when I lived in Michigan was the humidity in the summer.

  1. Wow, Heather, those lake shots are gorgeous. I was thinking about the Great Lakes the other day, trying to imagine that large an expanse of fresh water. Your photos help! Someday I will have to visit them in person and see them for myself. πŸ™‚

  2. You did a wonderful job of capturing the personality of that area. I smiled as I looked at your photos. Some year soon I want to go the Sleeping Bear Dunes to camp during the week in September. There aren’t many people then. I remember staying with my Grandmother on a small inland lake and hated the week-ends when all the people would come. I understand your need to run away to somewhere quiet.

    • Thanks Pat. This place feels like home…except when it feels like a tourist destination (which it rightly is), and then it feels like it belongs to those who don’t live here. And that’s okay, too – I don’t own the place, but it makes me itch to find a peaceful place to rest my soul. I bet your grandma and I had a thing or two in common!

  3. These are such beautiful pictures. I love your area and think it fantastic that you can be 5 minutes out your door and in touch with such extreme beauty. I totally understand your love for your home and surroundings. I wish we had such surreal beauty around us here, just ripe for the picking. Fallsville is a tease, lol.

    • Thank you πŸ™‚ I’m so glad to be able to share it with you. Fallsville is a lovely place, and I’m grateful every time we visit. I just wish you had a few more places nearby to get out in!

  4. So beautiful! I always think of sand dunes on the coast, but your dunes are beautiful, and so is Lake Michigan. Thank you for sharing.

    • It’s funny, because before living here, I always though of the dunes in Idaho and places like the Dakotas. Now these are top of mind, but a friend just came back from Brazil where he visited some amazing white sand dunes, and I’d love to visit them, too. So many beautiful places in the world, so little time and funds! Thanks for pausing to comment πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Robert! I try to write only when it feels easy. When it feels like a chore, I know I’m not doing it right. Same thing with the photos. I really appreciate you stopping by πŸ™‚

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