Off Grid.

I took the day off from work. Yesterday I gave Earl a rough idea of what I had in mind for the day off, but I didn’t really know any specifics. I didn’t want to plan the day down to the smallest of detail. And I know that while I love going for drives on the prairie, I didn’t want to go out on the prairie on this day off.

My goal was simple: get away from the city, get off the grid, and get away from the news.

Earl packed us two picnics, one for lunch and one for dinner. We set out for a drive to the east. I decided we should explore a couple of state parks along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Within two hours of departure, we were at Warren Dunes State Park near Bridgman, Michigan. I had my feet in the chilly waters of Lake Michigan. There was no cell service.

It was awesome.

My familiarity with sand dunes along the Great Lakes is confined to those near where I grew up, specifically at Southwick State Park near Henderson, New York. The sand dunes at Warren Dunes dwarf those where I grew up by quite a bit.

While Earl enjoyed some time on the beach, I went hiking and climbed the biggest dune. I circled around the back and sort of spiraled my way up.

The sand was not as hard packed as what we have along Lake Ontario back at Southwicks, but that made it slightly easier to climb. I spent some time in the shade of the trees on the dunes. Since my childhood home was about seven miles inland from Lake Ontario, we had plenty of sand and the same kind of trees around the house, though the sand was under the farmed top soil. These trees felt quite familiar.

There were others on top of the dunes. Many climbed straight up the front.

It was wonderful to be closer to nature. We had a nice lunch in the wooded picnic area and then spent some time on the beach enjoying the sound of the waves.

We then decided to continue our journey northward and drove along the Lake Michigan shore, finally ending up at Van Buren State Park. This park was more wooded but with plenty of dunes. The main path to the beach was closed. There was a posted detour through the woods, which took us up and over a dune. We decided not to climb down to the lake, as we’d have to climb back up to get back home.

There was plenty of sand and trees along the path.

We decided to eat an early picnic dinner before making the drive home. Earl went all out with the picnics. A table cloth, placemats, and even an after dinner mint.

It’s important for all of us to step away from technology and remember how beautiful Mother Nature can be. I feel like I’ve hit a ‘reset’ button. The rest of the work week will be a snap.

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