Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sleeping Bear Dunes

After a rainy night we awoke this morning to a cold, damp day. The temperature was 53 degrees and stayed in the 60's all day. This area has the coldest temperatures in the lower 48 states according to the weather reports.

We spent the day touring about the area. We began at the Visitor Center in Empire. There was a 15 minute slide show about the Sleeping Bear dunes, a name that resulted from an Indian legend. A mother bear along with her 2 cubs were swimming across Lake Michigan. The mother bear made it across but the cubs drowned. The dune area was the mother bear laying on shore waiting for her cubs. The islands, North Manitou and South Manitou, are the 2 cubs that drowned.

We then drove to Glen Haven, a steamship stop dating back to the turn of the 20th century. An old cannery building had a display of old boats used on the Lake. A Maritime Museum displayed a fully restored U.S. Lifesaving Service station. A general store had souvenirs and what-use-to-be penny candy for sale. The blacksmith shop had a volunteer working as a smithy as he explained the business of blacksmith- as he talked he made a dipper with an iron handle and a copper ladle which I was able to have- a donation was appreciated but not required.
From Glen Haven

We got a bite of lunch in a little town of Glen Arbor. This seems to be the most active town in this area with several little shops and some restaurants.
After lunch we drove a little further to the north and hiked up to Pyramid Point.
From Glen Haven

The hike involved climbing a steep hill that brought us to a bluff overlooking the Manitou Islands and Lake Michigan. Even with the cloudiness of the day it was a pretty view.