A few Saturdays ago, the little girls and I headed out to Sanctuary Woods nature preserve for a short hike. It’s a beautiful spot just off the edge of Lakes Macatawa and Michigan, with a few parking spots, but I’ve never seen the lot full. After parking, there’s a short loop around the lower area, with a few bridges crossing a tiny creek.
After a meandering ten-minute walk (five minutes devoted to petting passing dogs), we began our climb to the top of the dunes where the views reward our effort:
I’ve never counted the stairs on any trip to Sanctuary Woods, but trust me, there are a lot. And on this lucky Saturday, I got to carry 20 pounds of Leah up the stairs with one hand steadying my camera strap. Aly darted up the stairs and used the benches along the way to encourage (read: mock) us as we labored up. The ground becomes sandy at the summit, and giant old-growth trees provide a shade canopy in all directions as the slope falls away on both sides of the trail.
We only walked part of the loop on this occasion, as Leah (read: me) was getting tired and a touch cranky, so we started the journey back down the stairs.
Leah truly was tired, so Aly offered to help her back to the car: