Lake Michigan in the distance
Leon and I took Friday and Monday off and set off on an adventure with a goal: to circumnavigate Lake Michigan by car. We loaded up and headed south mid-morning on Friday. The goal was to get through Chicago at the beginning rather than the end of the trip and to avoid the worst of weekend rush traffic. The plan worked reasonably well, and our main problems in town involved getting through the small amount of Dan Ryan Expressway construction that we needed to pass in order to get to Lakeshore Drive. Friday was mostly driving, though we stopped for a late lunch in Douglas/Saugatuck just because we have heard so much about it as a gay resort. Lunch was delicious, but we didn’t really see much in the way of the gay part of the resort. We drove on to the south end of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, where we camped for the night.
Several views of Sleeping Bear DunesSaturday morning, we spent a lot of time exploring Sleeping Bear Dunes. The sand dunes are spectacular and huge, and the views are beautiful. Unfortunately, the dune vegetation has suffered from quite a bit of exotic species invasion. Still, the scenery was lovely, and I got a couple of great photos of tiger beetles.
Punctured tiger beetle - Cicindela puncticolis
Big Sand Tiger Beetle - Cicindela formosaSaturday Afternoon we drove on to Mackinaw City. We had a whitefish dinner and planned to go on to Mackinac Island for some exploration the next day. Mackinaw Island harkens back to a more genteel era with its Grand Hotel and formal settings. We arrived via a brief, pleasant high-speed ferry ride on the day of the trip that had the nicest weather. The sunshine made for some beautiful photography of the Mackinac Bridge and some lighthouses. Oh yes, we also bought fudge. Following the recommendation of notorious Michigander Ur-Spo, we shopped at Murdicks.
The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island
Quaint lighthose seen from the ferry (for Ur-Spo)Following our return to Mackinaw City we hopped back in the car and drove across the bridge to the UP and did some hiking in the Hiawatha National Forest. Leon enjoyed the ruins of an old CCC campground, while I collected some beautiful longhorn beetles on cow parsnip flowers. After the hike, we stopped at another set of sand dunes along the north shore of Lake Michigan (much smaller than the Sleeping Bear Dunes) where I caught some examples of another species of tiger beetle. All told on this trip I saw six species.
This view of Portage Bay was mere steps from our tentThe afternoon saw us poking along the North Shore of the Lake. Late in the day, we turned onto a peninsula that jutted south into the lake and found a really nice campground. It sits seven miles down a dirt road on Portage Bay. The campground felt really remote and beautiful. I did some collecting (yep, more tiger beetles) and set up my black light. There were some super moths. While blacklighting, I heard a hissing sound and though I had a short in the light. Nope- thousands of tiny mayfly-like creatures had landed on my sheet. The sound was all of their wings pulsing. I fell asleep to the twinkling of stars and woke to the chattering of red squirrels. Breakfast the following morning was at the unforgettable Sherry’s.