Warren Dunes is a state park in Michigan about 40 minutes from Eric's sister's house. It was our destination on Wednesday morning and was a highlight of the week. We started out hiking over the dunes to the lake and were greeted with views like this as we crested the summit: The lake (Lake Michigan) is as vast as an ocean to the eye, and was a gorgeous blue reflecting back the sky that really was this color. Sadly, that is a line of thick smog on the horizon, so we were denied a view of the Chicago skyline, but we were just across the lake from there.
We went down the dune, which really is quite massive as you can see with Evan to provide a little scale, walked the beach, searched for heart-shaped rocks and enjoyed the sound of the waves and the clear air.
After hiking back up to the very top, the kids discovered the real fun of a big dune-coming down. They found the perfect spot near the picnic area and just had a blast-jumping, running and climbing back up to do it all again. The sand is dry and fine, so when you run down or jump down, you go up to your knees in sand. It doesn't hurt at all, and it feels a bit like you would imagine it would feel on the moon. All your steps are in a sort of bouncy slow motion. Anyway, there was some pretty serious smiling going on.
After we dragged them away from the dunes, we met up with Eric's mom for an afternoon of shopping with birthday and Christmas money at the local outlet mall extravaganza called Lighthouse Place in Michigan City, Indiana. I found some Yankee Candle bargains and a few kitcheny things as I made the rounds with Eric's mom. It was probably a good thing that she wasn't interested in the clothes and shoe stores. I'm full up anyway and didn't need a thing so it really is just as well. After shopping, we went back to Cheryl's house, our wonderful base of operations for the week, had dinner and a cozy backyard fire with firewood provided by our handy boy scouts. The sun set over a contented group enjoying marshmallows, good conversation and a very nice last evening in Indiana.