Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sand Dunes and the Muskegon River

Sand Dunes and the Muskegon River

In the beginning of the summer of 2008, we decided that our “weekend” trips would start on Monday and end on a Thursday or Friday because the campgrounds would not be so busy. Here it is - July and we left for the Silver Lake Sand Dunes State Park on Lake Michigan, near Hart on SATURDAY July 12th! Go figure! The theory is that there is ALWAYS more hill climbing fun when there are more trucks, dune buggies, ATV’s, dirt bikes and funny cars to watch and to be watched! Even at $4 a gallon for gas there were plenty of folks who thought the same - even though a storm had just passed thru!

Silver Lake Dunes is a state park that allows off road licensed vehicles to drive on the acres and acres of beautiful shifting sand dunes that sit on the shores of Lake Michigan. Harry’s toy of choice is his 1988 Suzuki Samurai, which when the tires are aired down to between 5 and 7 lbs, has been known to climb even the highest hill! On Saturday afternoon tho, he did not even air the tires down at all and the Zuki had no problem at all, crawling over the dunes between the entrance of the dunes and mile long beach that was being pounded by the angry looking surf. (Were we in Michigan or Texas?)

We camped Saturday night in a cozy little city campground in Hart and put up the tent on the prettiest spot in the place! But it was also the one that caught all the wind that was hurling itself across the lake. Cooking supper was a real feat and sitting out to watch the coral sunset didn’t happen either. Sunday after we “played” on the dunes, we drove up thru tourist busy Pentwater to make sure nothing had changed since our last visit. From Hart we moved the tent down to the Newaygo county campground park that sits right on the rocky shoreline of the Muskegon River.

By 9:30am Monday morning, our little orange kayaks were floating downstream, just below the Croton dam on the river. The water was still high enough that the rapids and shallows were covered up with fast moving tea colored water so our sturdy little crafts did not scrape bottom as often! The sky was deep blue and the trees hung over the river to provide refreshing shade when the sun got high and hot. And the sights we were shown: a kazillion sun bathing turtles, almost as many fish, Kingfishers darting from one side of the river to the other, a mother duck protecting her sleeping ducklings on a log, Blue Herons with raucous screams when we interrupted their silent fishing, cliff swallows darting in and out of their nesting holes in the side of the sandy cliffs high above the water, a mother deer and her 2 twin fawns that scrambled up that sandy cliff when we surprised her as we came around the rivers curve, and a magnificent Bald Eagle that cruised above us following the river up stream! Too bad it is not wise to take a camera with you in a kayak on a fast moving river or this blog entry would be full of wildlife photos instead of the sand dune shots!

We showered our pink sun burned bodies and piled all our gear into the van and Zuki and headed for home with a stop at Wampler’s Lake to visit with Ron and Nancy to share vacation stories.

Keep watching! Our next trip will be soon and will begin on a Sunday or Monday!! Wish you could join us!