Hiking (and a little bit of swearing)

We’ve been enjoying summer, getting plenty of outdoor time and exercise. But we haven’t had as many occasions for family adventures as I’d like to. So with a free weekend on the horizon, and decent weather in the forecast, we planned a roadtrip. We packed tons of snacks (although we forgot the sunscreen) and headed to Ludington. The plan was to hike out to Big Sable Lighthouse and then take a trail back that I’d been told was bee-yoo-ti-ful.

The trip up was easy, and it only took us a few minutes to locate the trail. The path to the lighthouse was mainly a dirt road that wound behind the dunes. It was a crazy, windy day* and you could hear the surf crashing to the left. The sand was gorgeous and irresistible to the 7-year-old who kept asking if he could climb. But his mean mom kept saying no because we could do those types of fun things after we got there. Mom ended up giving in after half a dozen stops along the trail with the same request. Sure, why not? Go ahead and climb the dune. Get it out of your system. Just for kicks, I climbed up with him.

Then we walked a bit farther and saw the sign for the “historic shipwreck” and we veered off the trail again and onto the beach to find it.

(The shipwreck, by the way, is buried beneath the sand so there was nothing concrete to see.)

And our hike turned into a driftwood-collecting excursion.

Driftwood. Driftwood. Driftwood. A few steps. Driftwood. A couple of more steps. Driftwood. Driftwood. It took us probably an hour to walk 1.5 miles. But I wasn’t cranky at this point. Just slightly impatient from having to stop every few feet.

We made it to the lighthouse and climbed up all those steps and took photos and ate some snacks. Oh, and made a pitstop in the quaint restrooms.

Then we found the other trail and headed out. Through the dunes, of course, because they were everywhere. What I didn’t know was that the dunes were also endless. We waded through the sand FOREVER. And the scenic trail I’d been eagerly awaiting became a LIVING HELL. Hot sand. Hot sun. Sandy shoes. Sweaty back. Whining kid. Glaring husband. Several stops to dump sand out of shoes.

Still the sand went on. And on. Every time we came up a slight hill or around the bend, I thought for sure we’d be closer to solid ground. I was wrong every time. At one point, Devin tiredly said to me, “Mom, I think I’m going to die.” Oh, sure, kid. I already feel like a jerk for dragging you down this TRAIL FROM HELL and you lay on even more guilt. Sigh.

You should have heard his shout of triumph when we found the connecting trail and saw the campground that signaled the end of the road. I was yelling along with him in my head. My muscles were throbbing and I had blisters between my toes and a rock in my shoe. So we trudged tiredly back to the car, dumped more sand from our shoes and drove off down the road. To play putt-putt golf in Pentwater. We Smiths don’t let exhaustion get the best of us!

*The wind was whipping the sand at us so hard that I refrained from photography for the majority of the trip. I missed some lovely shots along the beach, but I wasn’t taking any chances!

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