Over Memorial Day weekend, 31 SOLAR members gathered at Sleeping Bear Resort, which is located on Herendeene Lake in Lake Ann, Michigan. Lake Ann sits between Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and was the perfect central spot for various activities throughout the weekend. The cabins are fully equipped with running water and kitchens, which made for an amazing potluck dinner on Saturday night!
Talked with several SOLAR members about their favorite activities which included:
- Visiting a local winery
- Kayaking and fishing in the lake while watching a bald eagle and a loon
- Playing Giant Jenga
- Hiking Sleeping Bear Dunes to Lake Michigan
- Waking up early and watching the sun rise over the lake
- Dipping toes in the frigid, crystal clear Lake Michigan water
- Evening bonfires
- Stargazing at the dune climb with telescopes
- Riding bikes on the Heritage trail and stopping for lunch at the cemetery
- Visiting the Lighthouse at Mission Point
A few members were kind enough to share their favorite parts of the trip!
Leslie (trip coordinator):
The trip to Lake Ann and Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore was amazing and so much fun. 31 people stayed at or near the resort and there was something for everyone to do. During the day, people scattered in all directions and it was fun to meet up at various locations. In the evening, we gathered around the bonfire to discuss the day’s activities and plan the next day’s events. A good time was had by all and SOLAR will be back here again for sure.
I think my favorite part was the bike ride. I had not been on my bike in 2 years and we managed to ride 21 miles on a twisty bike path. It also had some pretty good hills and was not the typical flat rail trail. Halfway through our ride, we stopped at an old cemetery that had very mature trees to provide a shady place to eat lunch. We wandered around visiting some very old gravesites. I am sure that the residents enjoyed our company!
Who knew Sleeping Bear Resort has so much to offer when there is no snow? Most of us have only been there in the winter and never realized how large the lake is or how peaceful the resort can be. To me, the best part of the day is early morning when everything is fresh and undisturbed; having early Sunday morning coffee sitting alone at a picnic table overlooking the lake and listening to music before everyone was up and stirring about was a real treat and medicine for my soul.
On Sunday, Krisanne Schmidt and I hiked the Sleeping Bear Point Trail (after learning about it from Tim Davis). On our hike, we met 5 women school teachers from Indianapolis who were hiking as part of their recovery from running a marathon in Traverse City the day before. (Seriously!) The 7 of us hiked the trail and enjoyed getting to know a bit about each other and sharing stories of hiking, teaching, and appreciating the outdoors. They were quite smitten by our mitten and thought the Traverse City area was beautiful. (Can’t argue with that.) As luck would have it, we witnessed a pair of Piping Plover’s changing of the guard in a designated Nesting Area. We parted as new friends probably never to see each other again, but isn’t that how these adventures can sometimes work?
Our hike ended with ice cream before heading back to enjoy the company of our SOLAR peeps. I’m not going to talk about the giant Jenga game between Leslie and Krisanne except to say that I don’t think you are allowed to hold up the leaning pieces to keep them from falling in an attempt to win the game… Leslie.
The stars were shining bright in northern Michigan. Local astronomers hosted a “star party” at Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore on Sat evening. Some of us climbed a sand dune when we arrived, allowing a view of Glen Lake at twilight. We saw the International Space Station going by overhead, with our own eyes. The astronomers set up several telescopes from which we could better view heavenly bodies, such as Jupiter. The highlight for me was at the end of the evening: There was a long line at this very powerful telescope that you had to climb a ladder to view, and we were able to see stars in the Hercules constellation that are 27,000 light-years away. Quite amazing.
Here are some great pictures captured by Bill Morse and Jeff Enterkin!
If you have a trip you’d like featured on the SOLAR Ray Blog, please email firstname.lastname@example.org