Sunday, September 12, 2010

Old Baldy, Arcadian Beauty

I don't know about the rest of you but I am done with warm weather for the year. Truth be told I was done around mid-July. It is no fun to do things outside when you sweat through your clothing the second you cross the threshold.

However last weekend we caught a break from the heat and humidity and were able to take a relaxing hike to  Old Baldy, yet again.

Two weeks ago when we attempted the hike we were met in the parking lot by some poor tourists who had their car broken into and their personal belongings snatched, word to the wise; stash items in your trunk and make your car look unappealing to thieves.

Since we were robbed of our trip that day, and since it was Labor Day Weekend, we decided to bypass the tourists who just want to see the super nifty dunes, and take the longer trail to get the real one-two punch of single-track and dune-age that this hike bolsters/ offers.

The longer of the two trails offers a nice break from the sun with dense canopies of old growth deciduous trees and a path that climbs, drops and double-backs on itself a few times to give you a great feel for the terrain of the area, and also a great respect for the force of the glaciers that shaped this area.

Super Mario Bros. anyone?

We were nearly instantly rewarded by taking the trail less traveled by a faint rustling in the fallen leaves:

As Chelsea and I paused and scoured the ground and the trees our eyes stumbled upon this little guy on the doorstep to his tree-root mansion. He paused for a minute or two, allowing us to snap a few shots, and then entered his house for what I assume to be an afternoon nap; you know animals, all the time in the world to nap... and eat.

These two tall trees seemed to be in a seductive dance... nature is love.
The canopy of the deciduous trees provides a great shelter from the unbearable heat of the sun on the dunes.

When we reached the dune area I was intrigued by a high point to the west:

The view was remarkable, literally I remarked this to someone later...

This peak provides a panorama of the entire dune area, complete with views of the bluest water. I could feel the cool water even from this high peak. If I were an early pioneer, or in a true survival situation, searching for an area ripe with accommodations I would have been overjoyed to find a peak like this to gain any advantage possible over mother nature.

When I had my fill of the view I decided to make an abrupt exit:

Hopping from the safety of the sturdy ground around the dunegrass I pondered doing one of those barrel rolls when I hit the soft sand like Bear Grylls, but decided against it as he is kind of silly.

As we marched towards the azure lake and its cool breezes, I spotted yet another, even higher peak to the north:

Naturally I ascended it to gain a proper vantage of the area.

A good choice on my part:

It afforded me a beautiful southern view complete with rolling waves and mid-altitude clouds.

On the other side of this tuft of grass is a 35 foot drop, thank you to the tiny, strong grassroots for holding my weight as I took a peak.

The water looks much closer than it actually is. Though we have not made the trek to the bottom yet I can feel it coming. Soon we will be walking the beach from Arcadia to Frankfort, that should be a great adventure!

From the highest northern peak you gain a beautiful view of the Frankfort shoreline with a view dunes or its own. One of my favorite places in Frankfort is the Point Betsie lighthouse. I will be taking Chels there shortly on her maiden voyage to the lighthouse. 

We are truly lucky to have such an area like this, not only old baldy, but the entirety of the Lake Michigan Shoreline, and such a perfect path as M22 to guide us along the bays, dunes, peaks, beaches and little towns and villages that dot the landscape. Take some time out of your busy day/ week to explore your own little piece of Pure Michigan, I know that I sure do, keeps the body healthy and the mind sane.


(All photos of J. Edward are taken by the brilliant Chelsea Bromley check her stuff out please)

1 comment:

Ash, The Movie Geek said...

Beautiful shot...and that chipmunk is adorable:)

I can wait for full fledged Fall, but winter...not so much.