Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Shores of Lake Michigan

I have escaped the heat and humidity! Temporarily anyway. We are visiting family in southwest Michigan and absolutely enjoying the cooler temperatures ranging from the upper 70s to upper 80s with sunshine. It is splendid!

One of the biggest attractions is the lake shore. The breathtaking beaches, towering sand dunes and panoramic views of Lake Michigan's bold blue waters are impressive. So I thought I would share some of this spectacular place.


Lake Michigan is the third largest (by surface area) of the Great Lakes; however, it is the only one of the 5 Great Lakes that is entirely located within the borders of the United States making it the largest freshwater lake in the country.


The lake is so immense that when you look at it you really feel like you are at the ocean (minus the salt water).


They say on a crystal clear day one can see a bit of the Chicago skyline. I am not sure, I can't get passed the gulls.


The water circulates slowly in Lake Michigan before it leaves through the Straits of Mackinac. Because of this, it would take 99 years before water could be replaced...almost an entire lifetime.


There are 1,638 miles of shoreline along the lake and many birds and insects use it as a navigational pathway for migrating. The ring-billed gull takes full advantage of this habitat. The beaches are lined equally in number of beach goers to gulls.


They are omnivorous birds and have adapted well to taking food discarded by people. They will scavenge and I witnessed a gull eating fries that a beach goer left unattended while swimming. Their loss because the gull had quite a feast.


Michigan is home to the world's largest freshwater dunes comprising of 275,000 acres. This is vast enough that they can be seen from outer space. 


The dunes are formed  by wind and waves that sort the sand by pushing the small and medium sized particles inland and leaving the larger cobbles and particles along the beach. This makes for very soft and fine sand in the dunes and feels wonderful under the feet.



This dune in Warren Dunes State Park is a favorite to climb. One can get an idea of the size of this dune just by looking at how small the people are in the front  center of the photo (click on photo to enlarge). It is quite the workout to climb up with the sand slipping away under your feet. However, it is all worth the effort to feel the wind in your face as you run down the dune at break neck speed.


We have been enjoying long relaxing days with family and friends at this great place. The sunsets on Lake Michigan are really stunning too. Here are a few I took on different nights.




By clicking on the video below and you can hear the waves crashing on the shore. To get a full screen click on the square in the right corner and enjoy watching the sun set over Lake Michigan.

video

12 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos of the lake. You wouldn't know they are doing so much to our lakes trying to get them back to safe levels.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  2. Oh, I'm jealous of the cooler temps, but we'll be on the other side of Lake MI in a couple weeks when we go visit family in WI. I'm even going to visit the gardens of a couple bloggers I follow. This next week we will be in your neck of the woods, in Dahlonega. Any suggestions on what to do, places to go? Your Lake MI pictures are just beautiful, and how much more wonderful that it is cooler. Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

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  3. I grew up in Southeast Michigan and remember going to Warren Dunes as a kid - still one of my favorite childhood memories, climbing the dunes and running down. Lake Michigan is beautiful and your photos capture its magic. It is like being at the ocean except for the salty water and air ...

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  4. Sunray Gardening, the lakes & beaches appear very clean and well maintained. They were dredging the other day along the shoreline.

    Hey Toni, what fun to visit other blogger's gardens! I wish I were in GA to meet up with you! Northeast GA is really an outdoor paradise...hiking, canoeing, camping. There are lots of waterfalls which are spectacular http://www.dahlonega.org/index.php/what-to-do/outdoor-adventures/174-waterfalls.html There are several wineries with super views of the mountains and restaurants...Montaluce, Wolf Mountain, Frogtown Cellars and Blackstock Vineyards are my favorites. Watson Mill Bridge is the longest covered bridge in GA and of course Dahlonega is the site of the gold rush. Please email me if you want any more info or specific questions. I hope you have a great visit and safe travels!

    Sheila, Funny that we share this Michigan connection. I was born in MI but didn't grow up there; however, since my family lives here again we come up every summer to visit and enjoy the lake and beaches! Glad that the photos brought back nice memories.

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  5. You captured the local. exceptional photos.

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  6. Gorgeous! Brings back many memories of Lake Michigan vacations--on both the Michigan and Wisconsin sides. It will be hot this week (90s) but you'll be in the right place. I'm very jealous!

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  7. Enjoy your time! We were visiting Lake MI a few weeks back, and the hydrangeas there about knocked my socks off. And the sunsets!!! What a gift from above!

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  8. Thank you for a wonderful respite from the everyday grind! I enjoyed the photos of serenity and beauty, the sounds of the undulating waves, and that spectacular sunset!

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  9. What a lovely vacation and some really nice photos (spectacular sunsets!). The first time I saw one of the great lakes I was amazed at how big it was and like you, thought it resembled the ocean it was so vast. I had to remind myself it was just a lake.

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  10. What a great way to escape the heat and humidity! It looks cooler there, even in the photos. Beautiful shots; I enjoyed the video of the sunset and the sound of the waves.

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  11. It looks so peaceful! We used to live near Lake Superior and it does seem like you're at the ocean because you can't see the other side. Dreaming of a lakeside getaway... :o)

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