This one felt like it needed a video… 😉
I like to think of this past adventure as being a trip of many firsts… In 2012 I learned about Sleeping Bear Dunes from one of my friends at college. When I heard it was located in my home state, Michigan, I knew it was a spot I’d have to check out and planned the trip during my Summer break. I was originally going to volunteer at the national park all summer then some things didn’t turn out, but in the end I think I got what I was really looking for. Though my time there became a 5 day vacation instead, I am really glad I went. Its amazing what a few days by myself did for my mind, body and soul.
The first day I was there I set up my camp, locked it, and went out to paint. My painting didn’t turn out well but I still had fun on my first acrylic Plein-Air project.
When I got back to my site I realized that I was alone and had no one else to keep me from wandering within my mind. I have always struggled with being alone, but this time I really felt it. I decided I’d turn in before dark to avoid my fears when my neighbor, a woman around my mother’s age, called out and invited me over. I was really happy to have someone to interact with that night.
We ended up talking by the campfire, all night, about life and random things that we were going through at the time. To test our courage, we went out to the lake in the middle of the night and listened to the waves and met a couple that were looking at the stars through the app on their phone, which we thought was so cool. The night ended with us exchanging names and numbers and wishing each other a good night’s sleep. The following morning she took off for more adventures, but to this day we are still Facebook friends 😉. Thanks again Stephanie! I’m really grateful she spoke to me that night. Meeting her made me feel stronger about continuing my stay.
The following morning I went to explore the Peirce Stocking Scenic Drive…
I stopped at the first site by the bridge and wrote down a few of my thoughts about light and shadow. Then I went to see Glen Lake from the lookout point.
I think I found my love of silhouettes here…
I started to get hungry so I stopped off at the picnic area next.
This was my first experience with “the kissing tree” that I described in the previous post of my recent trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes.
I don’t know if the carvings were there before or after the joined growth, but I still have deep reflections about this tree. Out of all of the attractions at the scenic drive I think this lesser known spot is probably my favorite… I just hope no one else will continue to carve into it.
I walked around the picnic area and saw these daisies. When I took their picture from above I couldn’t capture their brilliance so I thought I’d try something new and shoot them from below… again this has since sparked my love of taking photography “From Below.” A simple act of play and wonder brings forth new perspectives ❤ !
Just around the corner of the picnic area was the dune lookout.
I unknowingly followed a trail a little ways away.
It led to this spot, another perfect view of Glen Lake and there was even a bench shaded by the trees.
I had passed the “Dune Climb” on my way to the Scenic drive, but was pleasantly surprised that the trail I followed led to the top of the dune. I stayed there for awhile to watch families as they reached the top and felt slightly ashamed for taking a much easier route, lol. But hey, that meant I didn’t have to struggle climbing it later! lol.
Around this time, my camera began to turn off because the batteries were running low. I managed to take a few more pictures by tricking my camera (by swapping the double AAs).
Pressing on I came upon the Lake Michigan overlook. This was my favorite actual site!
This spot was crowded with people, but I managed to take pictures around them. I really started to notice my loneliness creeping back at this point. Before the last site I stopped and wrote in my art journal.
I think I hit a breakthrough with myself here and continued later, though I may have gotten a bit lost in my thoughts lol:
I was starting to look at my struggles and find a way to work through them.
The last stop was the North Bar Lake lookout. After seeing it from above, I went there the following day and found something interesting:
When I was walking along the beach, I ran into this piece of driftwood! At first I thought someone had carved it and left it for people to find, but from any other direction it looked like a normal piece of driftwood. This strangely gave me the feeling that nature was guiding or watching over me while I was there.
The rest of my trip then became more about observing and studying the elements of nature.
I had a fire every night and became intrigued by the flow of fire.
Every time I approached the beach, I noticed different patterns…
I even saw my first few stone hearts here.
And left my first nature message for someone to find… I should have know the waves would take it lol, but this was when I learned its okay to let my creations go. Plus I turned it around as the lake saying “thank you, I accept your love!” lol.
I visited lake Michigan many times, I went to: the Glen Haven historical village(top left), North bar lake(top right and middle), and by D.H. Day campground(where I was staying).
I made it a habit to get up for every Sunrise and be present for the sunsets.
Oh and I think I found my love of photographing shadows here too!
My trip came to a quick end on the fifth day when the weather started to look bad and I wasn’t prepared for stormy weather. I learned a lot about myself during those few days and of the importance of silent moments with nature. Though I had no idea what I was doing throughout the trip, deep down I think… maybe I did. Maybe this trip wasn’t about being a part of something like volunteering. Maybe a part of me knew that this “time” was about returning to myself.
I hope you enjoyed the post this week, it was a lot of fun to look back and write about this experience. It was a little scary to share my inner thoughts and parts of my journal but I’m glad I did! Have a wonderful week, and see you next Thursday!
Finally the post you’ve been waiting for, the sleeping bear dunes post!
Towards the end of May my mother and I planned a trip up to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. After last years endeavors we really needed a vacation! For only staying three nights, we really did a lot!
We stayed at Platte River Campground and at one point had to move to another site because we could only reserve the camp for 2 nights. On our third day there our neighbors, a couple that gave is firewood the night before, let us have their site since they had to leave early. We were really grateful because that meant we could drag our tent across the street! Which we did 😉 lol!
After our first night, we visited the small town of Empire. We were a little creeped out at first because as we entered, a thick and very cold fog came out of nowhere! The locals said it happens all the time there from being so close to lake Michigan. Assured we were then safe we checked out the bar above and got some amazing food for lunch. It was our only dining out.
We cooked most of our meals on the fire or in the skillet that we brought. One thing in particularly that I was proud of cooking was corn on the cob on the open fire. ❤ We had a lot of fires!
We really met some wonderful people at the campground. ❤ Another gentleman, that reminded me of my late great uncle, let me use his axe to cut our wood and even showed me how to use it. The last person we met there was an older woman that went through similar chemo treatments as my mother. She told us of a few places to visit and one of them was of a lighthouse that we were then determined to see.
While I took pictures, my mother took hers and she even collected a few stones as souvenirs.
Everywhere we went the water had a crystallized blue shine…..
The only bad thing about being around the water was that the bugs were everywhere. If you zoom into the pictures above, on either side, were hundreds of black spots…ewww!
Even though the bugs were a nasty part of the trip, there were so many beautiful things we continued to see. Like a cute shop and Cherry Republic in another town.
Beauty was everywhere, near water and trilliums close to the roadsides.
The last thing we did was visit the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. I made sure to get a picture from both sides of the first attraction. Then we took off to the next.
Then the next…
This particular spot was not on the map. I found this tree 6 years ago when I visited Sleeping Bear Dunes by myself. Since it had a profound affect on me, I wanted to visit it again ❤.
When I first saw this tree, it was covered with the scars from couples knives. It really saddened me until I looked up and saw what I thought looked like two people kissing (Though I guess the one is faceless… Oh well lol). The love that I then saw from this tree made me wonder, did the tree grow this way because of the “love” carved into it. Or did the scaring never faze it’s love to grow?
Nearby my personal spot was the third attraction, the dune overlook.
Though the other sites were pretty as well, I really liked the 9th location the best.
Lastly was the 10th attraction. I was surprised to see a change in the water level here. Six years prior I could have sworn that there were two seprate lakes near lake Michigan.For more information about the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive Check out this “link“.
Once we left here we headed back home.
I’m kinda glad we left when we did because the memorial day weekend traffic was beginning to show up!
We had such a wonderful time and even got to see a few hearts here and there. That said, I finally got to share this wonderful place with someone else and I’m happy it was with my mother! It had been 6 years since my last visit in 2012.
Next weeks post will be covering my experiences of the first trip to sleeping bear dunes. See you next Thursday! ❤
I thought I’d pop in today and I needed a nice break from working on the blog behind the scenes. So, I decided to play around with my base drawing again. I’m kind if having fun with this! I’m thinking about making a book of these to sell at the art walk. mostly an empty ones like the picture in the middle that an adult or parent and child can use as a base to add their own “hair, accessories”.
What do you think, good idea or bad idea?
It’s been awhile since I’ve written more than a few sentences and dived into my feelings about life, but the movie “I Am” by Tom Shadyac just had me running to my journal with ideas and I had to share. I’ve been moved by this movie before, this time though, it sparked the question within me “What can I do to give back to the world?”
My first response was “I would like to show people that love still exists in this world and that it resides within us.” My second answer was “I would also like to show that we are all one with each other, the plants, the animals and the Earth.“
I know these are some really big ideas I wish to fulfill. If I think smaller though I narrowed it down to, I’d like to create video clips or art to “show” these feelings. This is where I want to stop and think, “but I don’t have the resources or time to do this. I don’t even have a job that reflects what I want to accomplish. Where would I even start?” lol and now I feel stuck again… I just need to take small steps towards this dream. Maybe it’s the millennial in me that wants to save the world, but hey if I can make one small act to change how someone views themself with others and the environment, I will at least try.
What would you like to give to the world? What would be your small acts?