I crossed the Sahara! Not.
The above photo was taken not in the Middle East nor in Africa. It was right here in the US at the Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan.
Last weekend we dropped off our daughter in Michigan, where she will do a 2-month internship in the prestigious Interlochen Center for the Arts summer camp. Interlochen Center was a beautiful place to tour already but we still took this opportunity to visit nearby touristy places, like the city of Traverse, Michigan, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes.
We started out in the part of the park that is known as the Dune Climb (photo above). This is a 450 feet-high hill, which is equivalent to a 34-story building, with a 33-degrees angle steepness. (Most standard stairs angle is between 30-45 degrees).
I started with my running shoes on but not too far from the climb, I had much sand inside my shoes, so I decided to take off my shoes and leave it in the car and go barefoot.
When it is hot and sunny, the sand can burn your feet so going barefoot is not really recommended. But it was a cool day with a temperature of 61 degree Fahrenheit when we went there, so the sand was cool and was even refreshing.
When you reach the top of the Dune Climb hill you can get a spectacular view of the Glen Lake at the backdrop of the hill (photo below).
I thought we were only climbing up that hill, but when I reached the top, my son and my daughter who went ahead of us, were nowhere to be found as they continued to trek forward. That’s when I found out that where I was, was not the top for there’s another hill to climb (photo below).
After climbing some more, there were still more hills (photo below)! Since my kids were already far away, my wife and I had no choice but to follow them. And I was barefoot.
Going barefoot actually was not recommended even by the Park Rangers. Besides the sand getting so hot at times, there were also rocks and plants on the trail that can be prickly on the feet. You also need the arch support of a shoe or a sandal when you are hiking for some distance, but then again I was not planning to hike that far in the first place.
I found out later that the trail was 1.7 miles from the Dune Climb center to the other side which ends at the shore of Lake Michigan. That is a total of 3.5 miles back and forth. That distance though can take you 2-4 hours to finish depending on your condition, as there was much climbing and plus it takes more effort and energy to gain traction on sand.
We continued our hike until we reach the highest peak where we can see Lake Michigan from the distance (photo above), which is about halfway point of the trail. We then called it good and headed back where we started. Photo below is my daughter and I heading back to where we started off.
I am not sure why it was called Sleeping Bear Dunes, but we did not find any sleeping bear, or any bear for that matter. The only bear was me being ‘bear’foot. In the end, I walked almost 2 miles barefooted.
From Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan,
(*photo credits: my wife)