Most people don't know that there are large sand dunes on the great lakes. We didn't until we visited Michigan's Upper Peninsula several years ago. Since then, we have visited Indiana Dunes and Warren Dunes State Parks in Indiana and Michigan both of the blown sand variety but never Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakefront until now. The dunes at Sleeping Bear ar of the "perched dunes" type while the other two feature blown sand. When the glaciers retreated, actually melted, they left large quantities of sand, gravel and rock which formed rolling hills. Some dunes are formed by blowing sand "blowing sand type" while others are formed by sand covering a glacial moraine "perched dunes type". A moraine is the ridge caused by material pushed but not under the glacier. When the glacier recedes the ridge remains. The park is named for the largest dune rising some 460 feet over the shores of Lake Michigan which is called the Sleeping Bear by the Native Americans in the area. We hiked the dunes and went on a Ranger led evening hike into the Big Bear to see the ghost forest and the sunset over Lake Michigan


Once upon a time there was a large forest fire in what is now called Wisconsin. A mother bear with two cubs was trapped between the fire and Lake Michigan. without any other choices the mother herded her two cubs into the water and began swimming for the distant shore. The swim was long and by nightfall the bears had not reached Michigan. A storm came up and in the darkness the mother bear and her cubs became separated. Mother reached the high peak on the opposite shore but her cubs weren't with her. She started to search but was overcome by sleep. The cubs also were overcome by sleep but did not reach shore and sank to the bottom. When the Mother awoke and couldn't find her cubs she began wailing in anguish. The great spirit Manitou took pity on the mother bear and raised the cubs as North and South Manitou Island off the coast of Michigan where the sleeping bear atop the dune could watch them forever.

We hiked the trails, sat on the beach, rented a kayak, picked apples and blueberries and attended many Ranger programs.

We took a Ranger led tour of the historic village of Glen Haven which included a visit to the yet to be restored Glen Haven Inn, the cannery, which now houses historic boats, the general store which is open for business and blacksmiths shop with a park employee demonstrating the blacksmiths trade. The cannery was used for fruits and never fish despite its location on the Michigan shore. We visited the Life Saving Station whose service was the precursor to the Coast Guard.

The Ranger programs included two sunset hikes on Sleeping Bear Dune and the Empire Bluffs as well as a tour of an abandoned farm.

The park contains a large number of abandoned farms. The park Service is maintaining many of the farm buildings and allowing others to deteriorate rather then raze them.The Lake Michigan shore was first harvested for lumber. When the land was cleared many immigrants came and began farming but the soil was shallow so farming was difficult until cherry and peach trees were introduced. The farm we toured was 200 hundred acres owned and operated by an industrial engineer who had fled employment in Detroit with the Fiord Motor Company around 1911. I guess he was the first person chased back to the land by modern life. On the other hand this "Luddite" still managed to build this dome garage from plans in Popular Mechanics even though he didn't have a car.

We even had the opportunity to pick blueberries as the park service doesn't destroy the farmers bushes and allows visitors to pick the ripe fruit.

After Sleeping Bear we went to Streetsboro, Ohio and spent several days walking the canal path of the Cayuga National Park. this time we drove to parts that we hadn't walked before and saw this statue honoring a Native American portage path connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio River. This statue was made from a model by Peter Jones a member of the Onandoga Tribe of New York.

After Labor Day we returned to the house in New Jersey to find a new broker and finish cleaning out the house.