(By Kylen Blom – Co-founder)

What do you do when plans fall apart for a week-long backpacking trip in the Smokey Mountains? Take advantage of the unseasonably nice weather, grab some friends, tents and food and take off for a few days in the Nordhouse Dunes.  This National Forest on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan is one of my best kept secrets. Until now. (Pictures taken with disposable camera below.)

Three of us who weren’t willing to sit home during Spring Break, drove NORTH to find our tropical getaway. Three more came to join us once their ‘real’ jobs freed them for the weekend. The six of us enjoyed a relaxing evening, swapping stories and recalling past adventures. The next morning we woke up to a day full of exploration. We hiked south for a few miles, climbing, jumping, and skipping stones. Our tropical excursion became a reality upon returning to camp and finding our skin a darkening pink. The three latecomers left that evening. We stayed behind for another night. What a night it was.

I usually sleep in the woods in the same way that a bear hibernates. Not this night. I heard things. That’s not unusual for sleeping in the woods, because there are things. But this was different. I heard an animal groaning in the distance, and something in our camp. I left the tent to investigate. The something in our camp was a raccoon, so that didn’t bother me. I could not figure out the other beast, and then I heard a howl. I figured it was a coyote and slept for a wrinkle in time.

The next morning, we took a walk north and saw the remains of last night’s activity. A large doe was strewn about where the water meets the sand. No coyote I’ve ever seen could do that. The paw prints were way to big anyway. After many hours of discussion and research, we have concluded that the attacker was a pack of wolves. We continued our walk up the beach, and were  followed by clumps of fur for the next half mile. Every time we find ourselves in Nordhouse Dunes, something spectacular happens. I’m itching for the next opportunity to experience the undeveloped coast of Lake Michigan. After all, that’s what My Great Lake is all about. And that is why Lake Michigan is My Great Lake for Spring Break 2012.

Stay sandy my friends,

Kylen

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