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Playgrounds and Dunes: Been There, Dune That

June 13, 2013

The second half of the title was Ryan’s idea.

One thing we’ve discovered about traveling with Lila is that she seems to do well when every day isn’t an “on” day—in other words, we try to have one day with a “BIG” activity—a hike, a drive to another town, etc.—and then the next day, we try to take it pretty easy.

Yesterday was a “take ‘er easy” day.  We drove about 15 minutes into Frankfort, Michigan to do a little exploring.  We ended up picking up some lunch at a local deli and enjoying a picnic at a local playground/park.  It wasn’t a crazy, groundbreaking travel event…but Lila seemed to enjoy it.  Smile

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Quite the little explorer.  I loved seeing the expression of pure glee she got, every time she’d climb the ladder up to the slide all on her own.  Her adventurous spirit amazes me, amuses me, and terrifies me.  Winking smile

The Frankfort playground was fun, but today, we had a bigger event on the horizon: dunes.  BIG dunes.

This morning, we headed out to Sleeping Bear Dunes park again, this time with the Sleeping Bear Point dunes loop hike as our goal.  Our hiking guide book claimed that of all the hikes in the park, this one offers the most “bang for your buck,” so to speak—dunes, sweeping views of Lake Michigan, forest trails—even a ghost forest!

The book was right—I think this was my favorite hike yet, largely because of the variety it offered.  The hike was about three miles long, and it seemed like around every bend, there was new beauty to behold.

It started with a pretty steep dune climb:

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…which lead to, not surprisingly, stunning lake views.

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From there, we did a lot of sand hiking—UP dunes and DOWN, UP dunes and DOWN…

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…until we came to the ghost forest:

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Beautiful.  Finally, after one more long climb up:

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…the trail began to wind down, this time back through a beautiful forest trail:

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This was seriously one of the prettiest hikes I’ve been on.  Even Lila seemed mesmerized—though she was very happy to complete the last bit of the hike OUT of the backpack:

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Smile

After the hike, we made one last stop in town—at the Frankfort farmers’ market!

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We picked up home-baked spelt bread, cherry brats (!?!), cookies, asparagus, lettuce, and some coconut-walnut granola.  YUM.

Now…lunch:

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…and NAPS.  Have a great day!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 13, 2013 6:13 pm

    What a gorgeous hike! Looks like you guys are having a blast on this trip!

  2. itzyskitchen permalink
    June 13, 2013 6:28 pm

    Her hair is getting SO long! I”m totally envious…I want Kay’s to grow haha. I know what you mean about terrifying. Kay is on top of couches, tables, other furniture SO fast now. We started gymnastics last week, so I’m hoping that will help get some of the climbing out. BEAUTIFUL hike.

  3. June 13, 2013 9:24 pm

    What a beautiful area! I found an article on Traverse City in Cooking Light that I’ll bring with me when we come.

  4. Patti permalink
    June 14, 2013 2:48 am

    Beautiful area and looks like a fun hike. I see you found the nesting area for the Piping Plover. I presume Ryan has told you that story 😊 (Pepperdine Days). Thanks for sharing your fun days with us.

  5. June 14, 2013 9:33 am

    Such a pretty hike…love that you all have the energy to haul your weight and another little someone too. 🙂

  6. June 14, 2013 11:01 am

    She is getting SO BIG! I can’t believe it. And, along with Lila, these photos or gorgeous. Take me with you next time?? Thanks 😉

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