Thursday, April 16, 2009

two directions, two seasons

Such was the visual appearance yesterday of arguably one of the most beautiful places in the Upper Midwest, Grand Sable Lake and Grand Sable Dunes in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

I took a ride yesterday to visit the Agate Lady, Karen Brzys, in Grand Marais Mi. She runs the Gitche Gumme Agate Museum, full of jaw dropping agates and other minerals. Also in the museum is a wonderful historical display from the life and heritage of Axel Neimi,original owner of the museum and mentor to Brzys. This is a must see if you make the trip to Grand Marais.

After our visit, she treated me to a portion of a regular hike she takes in what is basically her "backyard", the Grand Sable Dunes.

Grand Sable LakeGrand Sable Lake, April 15, 2009

Looking south over Grand Sable Lake, you could see a solid dirty ice cover yet, winter's last gasp (hopefully! you never know in these parts). Snow wise, the woods are still heavy with it. Still, a few seasonal roads have too much snow cover to be open yet.

Grand Sable DunesGrand Sable Dunes

Hiking in the dunes proceeding north towards Lake Superior(recommended only for those that understand their limits) the sand was soft and warm, with a neon blue sky and sun a blazin'. It's easy to feel like an ant out here, in the Sahara of Northern Michigan. Wind temps were perfect for hiking at around 45 degrees or so, then when you got out of the wind and in the direct sun at the bottom of a dune, it was downright summer like with warm sun and sand. Just a wonderful day to have the opportunity to take in such a beautiful place, leg exhaustion and sandy shoes well worth it.

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