Hello friends! I hope all is well with you. We went on our annual vacation to Michigan a month ago now and have had some time adjusting back to real life over here! The week we got back was just "one of those weeks," if you know what I mean. I'll spare you most of the details, but one of the awful things that happened was that my cat got a crazy bloody nose and was bleeding all over the house one night. We took him to the vet and had blood work done and all of his levels were normal and he hasn't had one since- but it was super scary and I really thought he was dying. The vet just thinks it might be allergies. Cat allergies! Whoever knew that existed?!?! So anyway, he's fine now and I'm super grateful. I consider Touhy (my cat) my first baby-We've been together for almost 14 years and he's lived with me in three different states, 7 different apartments, and countless adventures- so when he gets sick, I get super sad. Then over the past few weeks things just haven't been going as planned but life is starting to mellow again, so I've been getting back into the swing of things and I'm trying to think positively and put out good vibes so that the universe will return those good vibes to me. A girl can dream.
Anyway.... Last year, on the way back home from our family vacation, Dennis and I decided we wanted to go hiking. We looked at the map, saw that Grand Mere State Park was close-by and in the direction we were heading home, so we decided to stop there. We instantly fell in love with this park. A hike through the woods, the dunes, and on to Lake Michigan? Yes please!
Oh- and before I forget- you should have a Michigan Recreation Passport to park. There are no attendants in the parking lot, but if you don't have one, park at your own risk.
I almost don't want to tell you guys about this trail! I feel like it should be a closely guarded secret. But I also want people to experience how beautiful is ....so on with the post.
This year, on our family vacation, we decided to take a night hike on the same trail. My Mom surprised me by telling me she wanted to join us! I warned her that it might be a little difficult but she said she was up for the challenge. I for sure thought we were going to have to turn around, but we didn't! We had to stop a few times to let her catch her breath, but she was a trooper and made it all the way to the lake and back! She surprised us, but most importantly she surprised herself and we were so proud of her!
There are three lakes within the park, with a boat launch in Middle Lake. The one mile trail begins at the parking lot near South Lake. The first half is a paved foot trail that leads you through the woods to the Nature Trail (which begins at the Dunes). This part is not paved. You walk in sand.
The Nature Trail is an easy to moderate hike depending on your fitness level. It was really easy for me, Dennis, and Weston. But like I said, for my Mom is was moderate. I suggest finding a hiking stick to help you along the dune portion if you aren't used to hiking in dunes. Plenty abound in the preserve!
The Nature Trail winds you around the beautiful dunes dotted with dune grasses and trees and eventually a glimpse of Lake Michigan. At various places you can take side trails and explore the dunes as well as take one trail around Middle Lake to the other side of the park.
When you get to the lake, the view is striking and the vibe is instantly relaxing. There are driftwood pieces strewn about the rocky shore, waves lightly lapping along the shore, and about a mile of shoreline to explore. The couple of times we've been there, people have been having small fires on the beach, playing instruments and dancing. A real California-hippie vibe right here in the Midwest. Right up my alley!
The two times we've gone there haven't been a whole lot of people on the beach. Because of the hike to get there I feel like it remains kind of secluded. But like I said, we've only been there twice so I'm totally sure how busy it can get.
We stayed a little after sunset playing in the waves, looking for cool rocks, and enjoying the scenery. Michigan has the best freakin' sunsets! We were hoping to see some fireworks but we didn't, so we headed back shortly after dusk. We brought a headlamp and a lantern so we weren't stuck on the trail in the dark and Weston fell asleep on the ride home as per usual. Mom was exhausted but really glad she decided to come and Dennis and I were happy to spend time with family!
If you guys decide to visit- be sure to let me know what you think!
Grand Mere State Park
HIKING PICNICKING HUNTING CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING SWIMMING BOATING
BRING CHILD CARRIER - STROLLERS WILL NOT WORK HERE
PERMITS REQUIRED FOR HUNTING BLINDS AT LAKES