Herman Melville said There is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself. That is so evident in areas of the country where heavily forested land suddenly breaks out into sparse, rolling, and open sand dunes. And it's especially true here in Western Michigan along the lakeshore. We are currently staying at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and yesterday took the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive to view the area. Most of the road winds through the pine and hardwood forest, but breaks out at two points to spectacular vistas of the dunes and the lake. At the Lake Michigan Overlook, you walk up a wooded trail to a point 450 feet above the water for a breathtaking view.
We continued on up to the historic town of Glen Haven and visited the nearby United States Life Saving Service post. This is a fascinating bit of history. The buildings were constructed not only to withstand the lake storms but also so that they could be easily moved as the shoreline changed. Excellent displays explain how the beach cart is used for rescue if foundered ships are less than 400 feet off shore and the constant drills that keep the crews prepared for any eventuality.
We then stopped for lunch in the town of Empire before returning to the campground. This is the quietest campground we've ever been in, in spite of the fact that there are over 400 sites and it is full. We can only see three or four campers from our site. There are warnings about bears but so far we have had no sightings.
Some random thoughts about writing, camping, and eating.