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[MI]tten made of Sand – Episode Três – Silver Lake Dunes

The next stop on our tour of Michigan’s western shore takes place at another beautiful State Park. Silver Lake State Park was repeatedly mentioned in my research materials as a visual gem and ‘not to be missed’. Silver Lake is quite unique. It has a commercial outfitter that takes tourists out into the park on a tour of the dunes in humongous dune schooners and remains one of the only places a dune buggy or OHV can operate on Western Michigan’s fragile sand dunes. The park is split up into units, with private homes and even a nice grocery/camp store in between. Silver Lake is simply, visually stunning! It lies on the inland side of grand sand dunes that parallel the shore of Lake Michigan.

Even the Park’s campground is split into two different units. Cecil and I pulled into the beach-front camp unit and because of the stellar view it commands….. a few RV’s and boat campers had settled into the best sites. We checked the loops across the road and set up camp as the sole residents. I can’t over-emphasize how the (off-season) timing affected the great way this trip turned out. The campgrounds that I stayed at during this trip would be less than tolerable during high season. They have the sites wedged together like a can of sardines. So keep that in mind if you visit in the summer. With camp set… I hopped on the bike and took the park road out to Little Sable Point Lighthouse. Little Sable is the twin brother of Big Sable Point Lighthouse (without the steel siding and keepers residence). The lighthouse is in a remote unit, at the south end of the park. After some quick photos, I headed north along the beach and forded Silver Creek on a complex and winding set of sand bars. The beach here, actually, contains a few small rocks, and some gorgeous lakefront homes. Once I re-entered the middle unit of the State Park, the beach opens up to great swaths of sand, guarded by tall dunes. I rolled past the area, where Mac Woods’s Dune Rides brings their guests out onto the beach for photo op’s and then, I proceeded on to sweet beach isolation. Just me and my Moonlander, enjoying another brisk spring afternoon spin. After a good long cruise, I heard the throaty (braaapp!) of a four stroke and figured that I had made it up to the OHV area of the park. I decided to turn about and head back the way I had come. I lingered at the lighthouse for more photos and kiosk browsing. Beach riding is a rock hunter’s dream and until this particular ride, I had only seen perfectly formed (Grand Valley) ‘singing’ sand. The local sand produces a high pitched tone in spots as big fat larry rolls down the beach. This stretch of beach had sections with beautiful smooth beach rocks that admittedly find their way into my pockets on a regular basis. One day…my sons will inherit one million beach smoothed pebbles to remember me by.

I cruised back to camp and later that evening, enjoyed a magical sunset wade in Silver Lake as regal beauty danced in the sky overhead. The next morning I paddled my kayak out toward the dunes and then later, met up with some friends down near Muskegon for a nice group ride on some really sweet new singletrack at a Scout Camp. To cap off a nearly perfect day we hit up our fave local dive in Grand Haven for a wet burrito and a couple of pitchers of PBR.

This is where my report ends and “Our Man in the Field” Puck starts his report. Liisa with two eyes and Puck, sort of, tag teamed a weekend of beach riding from Muskegon to Grand Haven, just as I returned home. We actually saw each other across the median of the interstate, like the changing of the guard (at 70 mph).

Stay tuned for Puck’s report in Episode Quatro of a [MI]tten made of Sand (or whatever he decides to call it).

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