Friday, September 07, 2012

My Summer Vacation: Beach Days

The main reason I wanted to go to Michigan later in the summer than we usually do (we usually go earlier in July) was because we would be all but guaranteed a warm Lake Michigan. Since we spend so much time on the beach it obviously is nice to have the lake be as warm as possible.

You know what they say about the best laid plans, don't you? Well, the universe laughed in my face. When we got to Michigan their insanely hot days made way for freezing cold days (well, barely cresting 70* most days) and their warm lake water did some random switcheroo and became positively hypothermia inducing. 

It is fun to bury yourself in the sand. 
We ended up with three beach days: one was after dinner, in the rain. That night the waves were big, great for boogie boarding, but terrible for mama's nerves and keeping an eye on little girls. We didn't stay long and there was no castle-building or lounging on chairs. There was also no picture-taking.

Iris and her drip castle. 

Seagull visits the castle.
The next day the water was incredibly calm and clear . . . and about 55*. The beach was lovely and just warm enough to hang out and sun oneself. Oneself being me in this scenario. The water so, so cold. Colder than the Puget Sound, even, which is pretty darn cold. I decided that I just had to dunk my head under at least once, so I did, and it shocked me so deeply I couldn't breathe for a second. 

Brave children.
The third beach day we gave up on Lake Michigan and headed for Duck Lake. Duck Lake is one of my very favorite parts of Michigan. It's a beautiful lake just a few hundred feet off of Lake Michigan and the two lakes have a very shallow channel that connects them. 

Looking towards Lake Michigan from under the bridge that goes over the Duck Lake channel.
Photo from

We have been to the Duck Lake channel three times in the past five years and every time the channel has been completely different. Last year it was pretty deep (like maybe three or four feet) and was a fairly straight shot out to Lake Michigan. And it wasn't super warm. This year it wound like a snake out to Lake Michigan and was extremely shallow. So shallow Eloise couldn't even float in it on her big floaty. At least it was warm!

If you turned 180* from the spot the photo above this was taken
you would be looking at this view towards Duck Lake from under the bridge
that goes over the Duck Lake channel.
Photo from
Duck Lake was much warmer than Lake Michigan, as well. It was probably our best beach day out of the three days. I camped out on a chair with an umbrella, snacks, drinks and magazines and kept half an eye on the girls. 

Notice how deep this part of the channel was.

Iris dug a big hole. Kids like digging holes in the sand. 
Obviously kids can't be left completely unsupervised around water, it was nice to be able to let them run around and splash in the water without having to stand right over them. The first time we were ever at this channel Iris had just turned three and Eloise was not yet one and still wasn't walking. Things have changed a little!
Silly Eloise.

Our camp with Lake Michigan in the background.

The big hole. 

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