Photographer's Note

Stop # 9 on the circle tour of the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lake Shore is the Lake Michigan Overlook. Perched 137 meters above the lake you can get a sense of the great expanse of this third largest of the Great Lakes. From this point, the narrowest part of Lake Michigan, it is 87 km to the opposite shore in Wisconsin. (South of here it is 150 km across the lake) And from here it is a steep drop down to the lake below.

The lake before you is the result of ice age glacial action when a giant lobe of ice spread down into North America. As well as sand you can find rocks and stones here as this is a glacial hill. More recently the bluff has been receding at about 30 centimeters per year as waves wear away at the base of the bluff. It is believed that at one time the hill actually extended in a peninsula some 3 km into Lake Michigan. Eventually, as the shore came closer, the plants that had lived here retreated and a sand dune was formed.

There was this little concrete slab at the top that said "Keep Off" right at the edge of the dune filled with the sandals and shoes of people who did not read the nearby sign that says

Important Notice

The National Park Service has begun efforts to restore damaged dunes at this location. Please help us by staying on the boardwalk.

Climbing on the steep rocky bluff is hazardous and serious injuries are common.

For your safety and to protect natural features, please do not climb at this location.

The Dune Climb is recommended as a safer location for climbing.

And now these are all that remain of the people who did not listen. ; )

In reality the first 30 meters or so are quite manageable, steep but manageable. But after that it drops off very suddenly. Trying to get down to the lake would probably result in rolling down. And you would likely not be able to make the return climb. The people these shoes belonged played it smart and only went as far as the drop off.

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Additional Photos by Paul Mastrogiacomo (pamastro) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2680 W: 165 N: 2694] (7290)
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