Go See Do Photography

A Lot of Travel, A Little Bit of History, and a Whole Bunch of Photos

Tag: Michigan (Page 1 of 5)

Camping Sleeping Bear: D. H. Day

I have always heard people talking about the D. H. Day campground at Sleeping Bear Dunes, but it has always been first come first served. I have heard stories of people lining up for hours just waiting for someone to leave. So, when I heard that National Park Service announced that they were going to begin accepting reservations for this popular campground, I began checking weekly to see if the website was up. After several months of delays, the website was up and I was able to secure a campsite for a weekend in August.

D.H. Day is the rustic campground at Sleeping Bear Dunes. There is no electricity and there are outhouses instead of bathrooms (just as camping should be, in my opinion). Because of when I booked, all of the loops were full, except the generator loop, meaning campers are allowed to use generators in camp during the day. Since we don’t spend a lot of time at our campsite during the day, this wasn’t a problem for us, but I did notice this seemed to be the loop with the bigger rigs.

Our site at D.H. Day

After camping at D. H. Day, I totally understand the hype. It is a gorgeous campground, right in the heart of Sleeping Bear Dunes. The sites are good sized and have a separated from each other. The campground also has a beautiful beach (top). My only complaint is that our site was very close to the outhouse (left) and it did not appear that way on the map, or I wouldn’t have booked it. If you are a camper, I highly recommend D.H. Day campground as a home base for exploring Sleeping Bear and all the Leelanau Peninsula has to offer! If you are thinking about camping at D.H. Day, I highly recommend booking in advance at recreation.gov because sites do fill up fast!

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Wordless Wednesday: Canopy Walk

Hiking Sleeping Bear: Alligator Hill

View from the lookout on the Alligator Hill Trail

This past summer, we took a weekend camping trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Located on Lake Michigan, just south of Traverse City, Sleeping Bear Dunes is one of the most beautiful places in the state! Usually, when we visit the dunes, we head for the Empire Bluff Trail, which ends in one of the best lookouts in the state. This time, we decided to try something different and hike the Alligator Hill Trail, one of the most popular trails in the park.

Although longer than the short Empire Bluff Trail, Alligator Hill was an easier hike. It was a gradual uphill for most of the 1.3 mile hike to the lookouts. By avoiding the intermediate and advanced trails and stopping at each of the lookouts, this hike is 4.1 miles round trip, but much less strenuous than climbing to the top of Empire Bluff. The view from the overlooks was nice, but it didn’t compare to the striking sand cliff at Empire Bluff.

After hiking Alligator Hill, I have some recommendations for hikers at Sleeping Bear Dunes. If you are looking for a fairly easy day hike, with some nice views, you can’t go wrong with Alligator Hill. If you’re up for something a little more strenuous with absolutely amazing views, hike Empire Bluff. I was glad we hiked the Alligator Hill trail, but the next time we’re at the dunes, we will go back to Empire Bluff instead!

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to come back next week to read more about our weekend at Sleeping Bear Dunes! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Wordless Wednesday: Autumn Reflection

Wordless Wednesday: Fall Bridge

Fall in Michigan: Midland Canopy Walk

The leaves had begun to change, it was a beautiful Saturday and I wanted to get outside. Hoping for extra color, we hopped in the car and headed north. I had heard about the Canopy Walk at Dow Gardens in Midland and was hoping that would be a great spot to do some leaf-peeping.

There were two problems with my plan. Problem number one: the colors in Midland were not as vibrant as I expected. Both vibrant colors were seen on both sides of the freeway, but once we moved onto the back roads, we saw more green than I was hoping for. Problem two: everyone else seemed to have the same idea. The canopy walk was wall to wall people. Being that it opened earlier this year, this shouldn’t have surprised me, but you just can’t get a good forest experience with all those people around.

Even though it’s advertised as a great way enjoy fall, the canopy walk is mainly in an evergreen forest. Even at peak fall colors, you won’t see a big difference on the canopy walk. My favorite part was exploring the pond area of the forest. Everyone was up on the canopy walk (left) so it wasn’t busy. There are even chairs to sit in and enjoy nature. I enjoyed playing with the floating leaves and the water’s reflection (top).

Overall, we enjoyed Dow Gardens. At peak colors (probably this week) it will be breathtaking. I would love to come back and explore the gardens in the spring or early summer when the flowers are in bloom. I would like to come back with my flora loving family. If you would like to avoid crowds, the middle of the week is probably best.

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Flashback Friday: Tahquamenon in the Rain

Wordless Wednesday: Beaver Island Lighthouse

A Day on Beaver Island

Evening on the Beaver Island Ferry

Beaver Island, the largest island on Lake Michigan, is known as America’s Emerald Isle. While bigger than Mackinac, Beaver Island is a much smaller community. With many inland lakes, nature is a big draw on Beaver Island.

For our day on Beaver Island, we decided to take one of the guided tours offered by the ferry company. We chose the 3 hour tour that took us around the whole island. I was glad we opted for the longer tour because it gave us a better feel for the island if we ever came back for a longer stay. Of course, we also learned a lot of the island’s history.

In the mid-1800’s, Mormon leader James Jesse Strang formed a colony on Beaver Island. Over 8 years, Mormon population on the island grew and Strang crowned himself king and was the only American king in history. In 1856 Strang was assassinated on the island and the remaining Mormons were forced to leave. “The Mormons cleared and cultivated the ground, built roads and houses, and changed the Island from a wilderness to a moderate outpost of civilization. But fate conspired to keep them from reaping the benefits of their toil” (beaverisland.net). Our tour guide explained to us that if you see apple trees and lilac trees while driving around the island, you know that spot was settled by the Mormons.

Historic Beaver Harbor Lighthouse

After the Mormon exile, people began emigrating to the island from Ireland to fish. By the 1880s, Beaver Island became the largest supplier of fresh water fish in the world. Unfortunately, due to overfishing, by the 1890s, the harvest was cut in half and Beaver Island lost their monopoly. In the 1900s, logging was the largest industry on the island and a railroad was built to transport the lumber to the bay where ships could pick it up and transport it to Chicago and Detroit.

If you have extra time in the Charlevoix area, I recommend taking the ferry over to Beaver Island. Its a very low key, relaxed community with a focus on nature. I think I would like to return some time when we have more time to enjoy it!

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Wordless Wednesday: Birch Texture

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