Fire, Ice, and Copper

This afternoon I logged into my Flickr account to check out the beautiful images my contacts there had shared. As always, there were several good ones, and one from my friend Aaron that pushed my “I need to catch a sunset on the dunes” button. This is a frequent occurrence for me, and I am usually successful at staving off photographic attacks. For instance, I follow several photographers who live in Iceland, and I have major travel pangs thanks to them…but I have not (yet!) made my way to Iceland.

But Aaron lives in northern Michigan, and even though his photo is from an hour or so southwest of my house, similar landscapes are within half an hour. I was ready to put this urge on the shelf, but the light this afternoon was so beautiful…as viewed from my chair in the living room. When I mentioned it to Tony, he suggested that I go.

At first I wavered, but not for long. Thank goodness, too, because the light wouldn’t linger much longer. I grabbed my pack, tossed on my boots, and hit the road. I had plans to hike to Sleeping Bear Point, but as I got nearer, I spied a path up the dunes and it seemed so much closer. I pulled in, parked, and began a swift ascent up the trail.

Only it wasn’t so swift. If you’ve ever climbed up a mountain of sand, you’ll understand. It was 38-degrees when I parked, and I was wearing heavy winter boots + more than 20-lbs on my back. I was sweating before I inched over the first leg of the journey, not a quarter-mile in. I eyed the giant bowl in the dunes, and caught my breath for a second while taking an iPhone pano:
Spoiler: The top of that rise is not the top at all.
IMG_3872

Then I continued the hike. The first bit wasn’t so bad, as it was down and then gently up. But then I really started to climb. My steps got closer, and my legs caught fire. My breath grew ragged as the cold air froze my lungs and I tasted copper. I considered how much easier the ascent would be without my gear – much – but then why go?

Look at my steps near the bottom of the photo! And see those two shrubs just to the right of the trail? They’re the same ones on the left side of the trail in the pano above.
ascent
Eventually, after a few false dawns, I arrived at the top. You know what I did then? I descended a little, because the view was better.

Celestial Imperatives
celestial-imperatives

Looking down from near the top. Mom – this is where I stopped to take a photo and you were talking about Uncle Dick stocking up on pudding πŸ™‚
down-trail

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14 thoughts on “Fire, Ice, and Copper

  1. Nice photos Heather! That looks like a Really, Really long walk, and yes I know what you mean about walking in the Sand Dunes sand! Lol πŸ™‚ Glad you made it back safe.

    • It felt like a much longer walk than it was Vicki πŸ˜‰
      I think it was only about 1.5 miles round-trip, but it was a tough run up that sand. The trip back down was easy though!

    • Considering when I left the house, I didn’t do too bad. I’m thinking you could do this hike, but you might cuss at me. And I wouldn’t try to get you to run it πŸ˜‰

  2. Husband and I have walked from the parking lot at Sleeping Bear (I think it’s Sleeping Bear, near Silver Lake??) over the dunes to Lake Michigan and back. Twice. The second time we did not have the excuse of not knowing how hard it is. Climbing sand is relentless…but always worth the effort. I’m glad you went.

    • There’s definitely a “dune climb” area at the Sleeping Bear Dunes, but it’s near Glen Lake. I haven’t been to the dunes near Silver Lake, but I know it’s one heckuva walk from the Dune Climb parking lot over to Lake Michigan. I like the challenge, but there’s no doubt: it’s a challenge! I’m glad I went. I’m glad you’ve gone twice πŸ™‚

  3. That is quite a hike – with the sun setting, you must have had to make double time! Loved seeing the moonrise… is that a city or clouds to the left of the moon in the next to the last photo?

    • I really had to double-time it. I’ve climbed parts of the dune multiple times, and it’s never a problem. It’s not easy, but I have never been short of breath with my legs on fire like that. I really pushed it πŸ˜‰ But I made it while there was still good light, I have a fun story and memories, and I am none the worse for wear. In short, I’m glad I did it.
      Those are pinkish clouds over near the moon. I think the closest city is Green Bay, which is about 55 miles across the lake πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks for reading, Rhon! The more I am actually in the dunes, the more I enjoy them! I climbed back to this spot tonight, although I was ahead of the sunset, so I didn’t run πŸ˜‰ I anticipate spending a good deal of this winter exploring the dunes.

    • Things are exceptionally busy around these parts Graham. I’m still out taking photos, but haven’t found the inspiration to blog. Sorry if I’ve missed any of your posts – I accidentally deleted every feed in my RSS reader, and it took a while to get everything back in order. When I finally did get everything imported from a backup, I marked everything as “read” because I had over 1,000 unread entries :-/

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