We couldn’t wait to get to the U.P. The Wisconsin mist was just as bad in the morning as it rolled in over the swamplands. When we crossed over the Michigan border we couldn’t have been happier. Already the road was wider, brighter and people actually lived there. The energy completely changed and we were both ready for a change in scenery. We made it through the U.P with a stop at Big John’s Mining Tour for a photo op with Ted and Danta. We passed through Powers, MI and made our way to Lake Michigan for a swim and afternoon lunch. We decided it wasn’t worth the rush and we should enjoy an afternoon just basking in the sun and to feel the cool water on our backs.
I pulled off and drove for a bit until we found a path to the lake. We grabbed some gear to make lunch as well as our bathing suits and towels. I really wanted to take a refreshing dip after the time we had the day before. Danne decided to write a little as I made my way to the shore. I grabbed some soap and dove right in. It felt so refreshing. I took it all in and watched my limbs sink into clear blue waters – it engulfed me – making me feel whole again. I got out and made some soup with toast for lunch. We laid out the tent to dry (from all that mist) and enjoyed an hour or so by the lake. The family that filtered in was really loud and obnoxious so we decided to kick it after a while.
We drove south and headed down the UP over the Mackinac Bridge to the coastal towns of Michigan. This part of the state was beautiful farmlands and lakes that stretched on for miles and miles. It felt good to be by the waterside again. We were nearing the land of cherry farming. We passed a few farm stands until we reached one advertising fresh, homemade cherry pies. We waltzed in and the woman shoes us where the pies fresh out of the oven were. We opted for the crumble top although it was hard to choose between that and the classic lattice top! We gushed with excitement as we made our way southwest to Traverse City. We stopped for another photo op with Ted and Danta at the World’s Largest Cherry Pie monument.
It was nearing 5 so we decided to stop by the beach to make a romantic black bean taco dinner. It was a beautifully clear night and we shared each other’s company as we prepped and served dinner. We had got it down to a routine by now and it felt nice. After dinner Danne and I were going to stop by a local brewery in town but first a little catch up on the phone. I took a stroll down the beach by myself as Danne was catching up with friends back east. I smiled. I felt comfortable, clear and okay to be by myself. There was a bit of ache in my heart but it reminded me that I was alive and was only human and needed other people in my life. Danne did the dishes and I packed up the car as we headed into town to find the brewery to wet our palettes. Unfortunately the brewery was closed but we noticed a few artist galleries in the area and a really cute café that we would later discover the next day.
So, we took it as a sign to head to Sleeping Bear N.P. We headed towards Glen Arbor – a very picturesque coastal town and found that the bridge there was out too so we had to travel all the way around to get where we were going. We arrived at the camp around 8:30 and found that it was full. We drove around looking for a vacant spot but were deceived and didn’t end up finding one. So we headed back through town in attempts to find somewhere to rest our heads. It was too late to gear up and hike in to the wilderness so I remembered a state sign that said, “…recreation area” so I headed back to find it. No one was around and the gate was open. I told Danne this was going to be our best bet. I figured the worst thing that could happen was that someone would wake us up and kick us out. It was getting late so we decided to set up camp and try our hands at sleeping for a few hours at the bottom of the dune climb (it’s not everyday that you get to sleep next to a 500 foot dune).