Michigan Dunes Camping Trip — Part One

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How To Camp at Warren Dunes State Park (for a First-Timers Family of Three)

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Step One: Rise and shine.

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Well, at least rise. Shine might have to come after coffee, breakfast and a campfire to warm up.
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Isaac patiently waited for coffee with whipped cream… because that’s how we camp… in style! And Step Two.. start breakfast.
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Our first morning there was sunny… the most welcome part of our forecast after driving there under cold, gloomy, overcast skies the night before, growing darker and darker the closer we got. Even in the sun, though, it was still rather cold. Isaac needed a warm-up snuggle before we ventured off to explore our campground. I think I may have, too. But someone had to take the pictures. Step Three was to take the camera and capture the beautiful autumn woods around us before heading to the beach/dunes.
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Sumac is a favorite thing about fall for me. There was no shortage of it there, some turned vibrant, some still green… all of it asking to be in pictures.
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Warmed up, excited and ready to head over to the dunes. That’s Step Four. We were so grateful for a bright, beautiful day with blue sky as far as our eyes could see.
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Isaac’s first contact with the sandy beach was reminiscent of when he was baby… not even able to walk yet… when we sat him on the sand for the first time on a Florida beach where this foreign, new texture made him rather distressed (sour-faced with his hands in the air in total refusal to touch this new ground he did not know). At five, he’s more than accustom to sand. But October in the sand wasn’t quite what he was used to… in snow boots and flannel, no less. Likely an aversion to getting sand in his clothes, knowing he wouldn’t have the luxury of dipping in the lake to wash it off. So most of my pictures that first morning show him bending over with as little contact with the sand as possible. By Sunday night, our last night there, he was practically rolling in it. Wait, no… literally rolling in it (which photos in posts-yet-to-come will show). I know, because all the sand that his clothing enveloped as he rolled down the dunes ended up bunking with us in our tent/sleeping bags, having sifted from every opening and crevice of his three-days-worn-by-now camping garb as he changed into his two-nights-worn-by-now pajamas.
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Sand for Isaac. Water for me. Next to waves and wind was the happy place of my morning. When I’m by water, I feel washed in peace. Especially this water. With it’s vastness and loud waves, Lake Michigan feels more like the ocean than a lake. Even the birds seemed to agree.
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It might be difficult to tell (😉), but we were all on a sunshine high that first morning. Twice, we’d canceled our plans to go camping earlier in the year… when it was warmer. The weekend we finally were able to go, the weather forecast wasn’t looking so great. We thought we’d have a rough and rainy go of it. Instead, upon waking up, with only the brisk weather to gear up for, we enjoyed a clear day in which to start our adventure and in which to see every bright color, texture and sign of life. Signs of life, indeed. It was as though October was singing our song… “We’re not done here, nor the year. It’s not over. Winter will wait.”
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So many more pictures yet to go. (Part Two will be the rest of Day One… starting with our first trek up the larger dune.) The first in the series will have to do for now.
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“Keep close to nature’s heart…
and break clear away once in awhile,
and climb a mountain
or spend a week in the woods.
Wash your spirit clean.”
—John Muir

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