The dunes are a two-hour drive from our house, so our plan was to leave at 6:00 a.m. and arrive in time to have a hearty breakfast before entering the park. Various factors conspired to result in a 7:00 a.m. rather than a 6:00 a.m. departure, but by about 9:00 we were chowing down at Luisa's Cafe & Swedish Bakery in Harvert, Michigan. Here's Evan finishing off his buttermilk pancakes. Caitlin had the Swedish pancakes with lingonberries, while my choice was baked organic oatmeal with dried cherries.
After breakfast we headed for the park and spent about 45 minutes setting up, changing clothes (in the park restrooms, of course!), and applying sunscreen. We found a shady spot under a tree (I may be from Texas but I still don't handle the sun well) and Caitlin took a quick dip in the surf (she is a carpe diem soul, that one). Then she, Evan and Trevor headed off to climb the dunes.
Unfortunately, that's when the trouble started. As distant thunder sounded, a voice came over the park loudspeaker warning of an approaching storm and encouraging people to leave the water if conditions deteriorated further. A little while later our crew returned from their hike and not long after that the loudspeaker voice was back with greater passion, asking people to leave the water and also suggesting that those on the dunes should begin their descent since most of the dead trees on the dunes got that way as the result of being struck by lightning. The good news is that most of the climbers heard and quickly responded. I wish I had had my video camera to record the mass descent!
We sat for a while longer as the temperature started to drop (aaaaahhhh), planning who would grab what if we needed to clear out quickly. As the first drops began we did just that. We had our picnic lunch in our car while scratching our heads at the Really Dumb People who thought it entertaining to climb trees, swim, play on the beach, and ride waverunners in a lightning storm. After a while it became clear that the storm was not going to subside any time soon. We headed home, consoling ourselves with stops back at Luisa's for cookies and Starbucks for coffee. Even though things did not turn out quite as planned, the day was still one spent entirely together and entirely away from Everyone Else, and for that we are thankful!