Once past the stand of conifers, we paused to contemplate our route from Lake Michigan, through the barren dunes to Silver Lake. We also paused to take in the landscape, and realize just how large of an area was in front of us.  The image above is a panoramic image stitched together from five individual photographs. It gives an idea of just how vast the area is, and how far away the edge of the dune was. The trees in the woods toward the right of the image, are not shrubs, they are full grown pine trees.

I always find a bit of time to stop in such a remote area and take in the surroundings; look and listen for several minutes just to experience nature. Most of the time, I'm hiking quickly to get from point A to point B, and while I experience and admire my surroundings, it's not the same as stopping and immersing yourself in it.

The Way Back

We found a path of dune ridges that would take us through the woods and toward the most barren portion of the dunes in sight. Traveling from beach, to grassy dune, to conifer stand, and wetland, we experienced almost every micro environment Silver Lake State Park had to offer.  Ahead lay the desert-like expanse of sand dunes that, in our minds, conjured images of the Great Sahara.

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