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.