Adventures in Michigan

The beach of South Haven, Michigan.

Sometimes you just have to get away. The past couple of weeks have been brutal in Chicago. The temperature has been oh so high, making motivation for productivity oh so low. So, the other day, my classmate Boo and I decided over breakfast to have a day trip adventure. We narrowed down the possible locations, choosing to drive up the coast of Lake Michigan to South Haven, Michigan. In the two years I’ve lived in Chicago, I have, shamefully, not done too much exploring of the Midwest. But let me tell you, what I discovered on our adventuring day was that the Midwest rules.

We hit the road at about eleven, arriving in South Haven (and at the beach!!) around two in the afternoon. Now, I love Chicago beaches. I even love the super crowded touristy downtown ones. But the beach in South Haven might have Chicago beat. With sloping grass coasts turning into white sand, lighthouses, and fun local eateries, South Haven proved to be a charming and lovely escape from the urban landscape. After taking a dip in the cold water of the lake and laying in the sun for a (few) hours, we decided to make the trek back to Chicago, making stops along the way at a couple of the state parks that litter the coast of the lake.

Anti-biting fly gear.

We had no idea what we were doing and pulled into the glorious park that is Grand Mere. After driving down a series of barely labeled dirt roads, we finally found the entrance to the park and chose (at random) one of the several hiking trails branching off of the lot. We thought that we would just have to walk east, in the general direction of Lake Michigan, and that without a doubt we would hit water. It makes sense, right? About an hour and a half in, the paths had turned from rock to sand and we were being heavily attacked by biting flies! Biting flies. I have never encountered a creature so awful. Draping towels around our heads and shoulders we pulled out the trusty iPhone and checked our location. We weren’t anywhere. We had managed to hike ourselves into the middle of a giant green blob miles away from the lake/civilization. Needless to say we power walked it back to the car, swatting flies and cursing our adventure day naivete.

Indiana dunes.

We weren’t defeated, though, and continued on our journey. Our last stop was at the Indiana Sand Dunes. It was sunset, and we sat on the beach watching Boo’s dog Kite jump around in the water. It always surprises me how lovely Lake Michigan is and how close we are in Chicago to such an awesome natural landscape. As summer flies by and these days when adventuring is possible become fewer and fewer, I’m gonna do my best to appreciate the city and region that are quickly becoming two of my favorites.

Hope all of your summers are going well too! Take a trip to Michigan, swim, eat onion rings, get lost in the woods, don’t get bitten by flies.