What is the most logical route or destination the Get Out More Tour should take following its stop over in Florida? As I would, you might guess a neighboring state like Georgia or Louisiana. Columbus Ohio would not be on my list as a convenient next stop, but never the less that is where we headed. We broke the sixteen hour drive up by stopping in Northern Georgia to hike the Southern most point on the Appalachian Trail. Being that we had been atop Mt. Katahdin in Maine, which is the Northern most point on the trail we were excited to experience Springer Mountain, the starting point for so many thru-hikers.
Continuing on to Columbus, we had a great show there, and then another one in Toledo. At this point we had a decision to make, drive five hours North into Michigan to visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore or stick around Ohio until our next show. The only catch is that the visit to Sleeping Bear is going to be rushed and it will require a lot of extra driving. But the alternative seems a lot less cool. It was a no-brainer to us. We were in the fresh air among the rolling hills and vibrant green trees of Northern Michigan before days end. The color of Lake Michigan is shocking. If I hadn’t driven there, if I hadn’t known where I was at, I would have sworn I was in the tropics. The picturesque sandy beaches and turquoise waters evoke an island paradise. Everyone has always told us how beautiful Michigan is, it was great to witness it ourselves.
In the park a newly built bike path meanders through the woods past the historic homesteads, farms and along idyllic beaches. We take the opportunity to rent bicycles and experience the landscape on two wheels. The second day we ride our bikes South and chain them to a rack beneath the famous Dune Climb. We happen to be there on a weekend morning, so us along with 300 other screaming kids and families stagger up the slouching mountain of sand. At what we think is the top, more dunes present themselves in what seems like an endless chain of false summits. When we do crest the top of the final dune expecting a post card view of Lake Michigan, only more dunes obstructed our vista. At our backpacking clinics I always advise to thoroughly do your trip planning research. If I had done mine by simply reading the info board at the bottom of the dune I would have known it was a two mile slog over multiple dunes to the lake shore. Serves me right!