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The Hunt for Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan didn’t get the memo that it’s not supposed to have sand dunes. Sand dunes are what one would expect along the United States’ easter seaboard. Perhaps sand dune is a wholly inaccurate description. Sand mountains will suffice.

I visited Michigan this past week for my stepson, Ryan’s, wedding.  On my bucket list was seeing Lake Michigan. It proved to be a goal, not easily achieved. I arrived at a deserted park flaunting great mountains of frozen sand. I was thrilled because I’m always down for a little adventure. My husband, who has a bum ankle, frowned at the spectacle, and climbed back into the car.

I scaled up the steep hill, stopping every so often to catch my breath. When I reached the top, I was dismayed to see that there was nothing but more sand dunes to the west. On I went in search of a lake so large it earned the name of a state. However, summiting each dune only seemed to produce yet another wave of dunes. Twenty minutes in, I glimpsed a sliver of blue water. Thirty minutes in, the sliver grew to the size of a rubber door stop. That was when I turned around. One of the largest lakes in the world should not be so hard to find. Tell that to Lake Michigan.

A quick car ride landed my husband and I at a park with a more reasonable beach covered by thick crusts of ice. On the other side of several hundred feet of icy tundra, blue waves taunted. I needed a closer look. I carefully scaled across the brilliant white crust, carefully avoiding the great gullies that’d been carved into the frozen terrain. When I got as close as I dared, I caught my breath. The ice was cantilevered far over the lapping blue currents. I was standing over Lake Michigan. A chill ran down my spine, and I quickly retreated.

I’m happy to report that Lake Michigan is worth the visit and surprisingly blue. It’s even dotted with charming lighthouses. I would warn, however, that if the mood strikes you to hunt down one of the greatest lakes in the world, be cautious. This elusive lake could also be one of the most dangerous.