Believe it or not, we got 3 inches of snow last night. I woke up this morning, and even though there was a dusting of snow left on the ground, the sun was out. I packed up Ashok, some snacks and headed north. I couldn’t decide initially if I wanted to do some dunes hiking or go the North Country Trail. After thinking about it for about 15 minutes, I decided to head to Muskegon State Park. While it’s a tad longer drive than I would have liked, it truly is one of my favorite parks for hiking.
Sure sign of summer… the bridge was up letting a sailboat pass.
I parked at Snug Harbor where I was greeted with some very animated Sandhill Cranes and Canada Geese. I think it’s still too early for nests, but they were not very happy with me for showing up early and bringing Ashok to the shoreline of Muskegon Lake for a drink. I quickly got her out of there so I wouldn’t upset the cranky birds too much.
We turned right on Trail D and headed up a wooded dune. A young man was coming down as we entered the trail. He had a big smile on his face and said it was beautiful up there. This was his first time on this trail, too. Given his eager recommendation, I was really excited to go see for myself. We went up and up and up through a lovely pine forest. The trail was dry and sandy, but it was quite lovely.
Squirrels were having a ball running around in the sunshine, but I didn’t see much other wildlife. After reaching the top of the dunes, we walked about a half a mile along the ridge. To my right I could see a small lake, and we eventually found a path down to the edge. It was a really peaceful spot. Everything was greening up nicely, and the water was glimmering in the sunshine. Two trail runners ran by, and I followed them to a deck that overlooked Lost Lake.
Everything is melted now, and the wilderness in Michigan is so beautiful after the snowmelt. It’s as if the snow and ice cleans everything off, and the water is always crystal clear. I found myself imagining what this beautiful little spot looked like covered in ice with the cold wind blowing snow. Now that I know where it is, I’ll have to come back next winter to see how well my imagination captured it.
We turned around and followed the same trail back up to the top of the dunes and walked for quite awhile on the ridge. Walking on the top of the world reminded me of being in the mountains. Luscious green mossy carpets caught my attention, and I couldn’t help touching them to see how soft they were. They felt like little piles of velvet right on the forest floor.
Eventually we ended up on the shore of Lake Michigan. Ashok was chomping at the bit to get in the water so I let her wade and then we walked along the shoreline until we could go no further. We climbed back up the dunes and found our way back to the car. We saw more trail runners. The website says this is a 5-mile loop that follows the ridge so it must be a great trail for running. I’ll have to come back when I get my running legs back in shape.
This was the perfect trail for a Sunday afternoon walk. We were out almost three hours, and we got to see just about everything – lakes, woods and Lake Michigan. On the way home I stopped at an interesting BBQ shop in Muskegon where I ordered a beet salad and some wonderful turkey and white bean chili. I know it’s kind of weird to order a non-BBQ item but their menu had a lot of variety. It was served with a cornbread waffle that was perfect topped with a little maple syrup.
Have a great week, y’all! I’m headed to bed early. I have a LOT going on right now.