Adventures at Sleeping Bear Dunes

A treat indeed! Little did we know just how much of a treat our weekend adventure was going to be! My husband had this trail in mind ever since he heard about it from a friend. Sometimes the best adventures are those that are not planned, but are random and spontaneous. This was going to be one of those adventures. We had an idea, but we had no idea of what we were truly in for.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning that promised temps in the upper 70’s to near 80 with clear skies. We loaded up our gear, including a couple of bikes and headed out to our favorite place to visit and explore, The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The trail and our adventure began at the corner of  a country road near the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Pulling off to the side of the road to park, we were greeted with the overwhelming sweet scent of Lilacs. 20 foot high walls of Heirloom Lilacs were in full bloom and a buzz with bees and butterflies. The colors were spectacular ranging from the purest of whites, a mix of lavenders, and the deepest of purples. Across the street were two big large red barns.

We unloaded and headed towards the gate at the corner of the road marking the entrance to the trailhead. Riding our bikes around the gate and down the trail, we passed through the lush and vibrant green woods filled with wildflowers, for about a mile and a half. At first it appeared to be quite easy and level, however, by the time we reached the farmstead it was very evident that the trail had a long and steady incline. At the top of the hill the trail opened up to a view of the historic Tweddle/Treat Farm. The old farmstead had a fantastic array of buildings, the old farmhouse, several barns, a root cellar, a few out buildings, and a truly unique concrete dome garage.

After stopping to catch our breath and to check out the farm, we continued to follow the trail around to the backside where we could see a large and open meadow. The trail crossed through the rolling hills of grassy meadow with ease. On the far side we could see some large hills that we knew were the bluffs that we were looking for and the view that we had been promised. That is where our adventure truly began.

At the end of the meadow the trail continued and climbed up a very large and steep hill. It was evident that we were not going to be riding any further, no matter what our athletic abilities were. In hindsight it would have been much better to leave the bikes behind altogether, and hike in. But we were there, so we pushed on. Literally!

We pushed and pulled our mountain bikes up the steep terrain, pushing forward and sliding backwards in the loose, soft sand for what seemed like forever, until we finally reached the top. A cool breeze swept over our dusty, sweaty faces as we crested the top of the bluff and we new we were close. Just across the ridge we could see in the distance the beautiful Lake Michigan. We had arrived, we made it to the top of “Old Baldy”!

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The panoramic views completely took our breath away. It was almost hard to tell where the bright blues of Lake Michigan ended, and the blue sky began. We relaxed, rehydrated, and enjoyed a small snack and the views while snapping up pictures to capture the moment and the memory of our adventure. It was a beautiful afternoon and guess what?! The ride back was downhill all the way! 

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