Sunday, August 02, 2009

Fast, er, Speedy Women

[If the line spacing is a little funky, I apologize. I tried to fix it . . . many times]
The tent's packed away, the volleyball's back in the garage, the air mattresses are all deflated. Our clothes, sandy and wrinkled, await the wash. Only the memories are fresh. We did miss the dogs. My nephew mentioned particularly missing his old sleeping buddy who kept him warm.

Camping sure doesn't get easier when you're fifty-something. We added an extra night to our usual two-night stay at the Silver Lake State Park near Lake Michigan this year. More time for the joints to heal between activities. Even the walk to the bathrooms seemed awfully far for some reason.

I declared that I wanted at least one break from the usual routine that we've been practicing for the past dozens years or better. Something new, something other than the dune scooter, go-carts, miniature golf, beach volleyball, swimming and card games at the picnic table.
How about walking the dunes at night by flashlight? C'mon, it'd be fun, I said. One by one, my family and extended family took a pass. They would rather stay behind and toast marshmallows instead. Da cream puffs. Finally, my wife agreed to cross the one-mile stretch of dunes to watch the sunset on Lake Michigan, then return in the fading light, only because she worried that I would get lost or worse.
At the last minute, she got a repreive when my nephew Billy agreed to go instead. So the two of us struck our across the seemingly endless expanse of sand that began at the Silver Lake State Park pedestrian entrance to the dunes. Along the way we passed a couple of college age girls kicking a volleyball around.

We continued on, our feet sinking sometimes ankle deep, worried thqat we might step into one of those sinkholes a park ranger warned us about earlier, where you can find yourself suddenly buried up to your chest and in need of a rescue. But my enthusiasm to see a Lake Michigan sunset carried me on. We also noticed the girls had begun following us at a distance.
Then Billy and I hit the dead dunes area, where trees and grasses had moved in to reclaim the sandy shoreline, preventing the restless sands there from moving farther inland. There was a maze of paths this way, that way, but eventually we navigated to a ridge overlooking the big lake--a simply gorgeous view with the sun hanging low in the sky.
A few minutes later I noticed those girls appeared on a hill behind us. Somehow among the labyrinth of paths through the forest, they had come upon the one that led to where we were. Were they stalkers or something? They passed us with a quick, "Hello", then ran down the hill to the beach, shedding shirts and shorts to go swimming in Lake Michigan.
Wow. Such energy, such spunk! The water temperature at mid-afternoon in Lake Michigan only rose to about 70 degrees. That may be comfortable to some polar bears but I prefer my swimming hole to be more tropical.
After enjoying the sunset, we hustled back, hoping to make it through the forest before the flashlight really became necessary. We did find a short cut but I felt bad for the two girls we left swimming by themselves with nobody else within sight or earshot.
Retracing our steps quickly, it was still light enough to see under the purple skies, the sand being almost luminiscent in contrast. We had made it about halfway back to the park entrance when I heard voices atop a dune behind us. Those girls were back. How'd they find their way back so quickly?
By the time we reached the car, they were ahead of us. I had to repeat the story of the quickfooted women a couple times at the camp afterwards, though the others didn't find the tale as fascinating as I did. Hea, when you're my age, any time women are following you for more than 30 steps it's an event.

Somewhat on a related note, the next day Wendy and I drove down to another beach along Lake Michigan to see a para-skier zipping across the rough waves along the shoreline. "Boy, he's good," I said, as the skier looped out towards the horizon through the murky, choppy waters before steering back to shore, landing his boogie board gently on the beach. Then I discovered that 'he' was a 'she.'

That exercise seemed to take a lot of arm strength to steer through the heavy winds and surf. Suffice it to say that after this latest trip, I have a lot more respect for the strength and endurance of the fairer sex. The pictures I'm posting show the sunset over Lake Michigan (embiggen the picture to see the aforementioned young lady swimmers), Billy walking the dunes with me, the paraskier on Lake Michigan and on the shore helping another para-skier get ready to go.


Blogger TechnoBabe said...

It takes a big man to voice his new-found level of respect for women and their strength. It sounds like you and your family enjoyed your camping weekend filled with exercise.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Lynilu said...

A great vacation, it sounds like. Sorry you missed the dogs, something I understand very well.

As for camping, I confirmed something I seriously suspected when I went camping with my daughter and SIL .... I'm too damn old for sleeping on the ground, even on an air mattress. From now on, I need a cot, or better yet, a camper with a real (sorta) bed!

6:19 PM  
OpenID caroldee said...

Pictures are wonderful DAVE.. the whole post sent me back in time to when I visited dunes last. I admire your spunk to dig in and walk those dunes. The last time I did that my calves hurt the next day. UGhhh anyway. glad the rain stayed away and you all had a great time. :)

7:02 AM  
Blogger Carine said...

I agree w/ caroldee-gorgeous pictures Dave, almost makes me want to try camping. Okay, probably not, but a day spent enjoying this lake at the least.

And technobabe-I too love it when a man enjoys a woman's strength as well as their beauty.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

TECHNOBABE--Believe me, my legs are sore today. My grandmother used to say, "Travel is something you do when you're young." I realize why she said that now.

LYNILU--We're thinking of getting a camper. Literally rolling out of bed onto the dirt is not the way to start the day.

CAROLDEE--We really did luck out on the rain. It rained some the last day we were there, but not enough to get any necessities wet.

CARINE--Twenty-something campers, at least tent campers, seemed to outnumber us oldsters by about ten to one, I'd say. With good reason too.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Dawn Schiller said...

Hi there,

Thank you for wishing me a Happy Special Birthday. You visited my blog from my mom, Maria at SilverFox whispers.

You have a nice site and what a beautiful place you are sharing with us on your blog.

Again, thank you.

Dawn Schiller

11:20 PM  
Anonymous maria said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time and I enjoyed reading about your adventure. I too am amazed at the young women of today. They are so physically fit. I can't believe they got back to camp before you. Oh My, my fifties plus friend.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention what the girls were wearing. You didn't fail to mention that several times back at the campsite.


6:46 AM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Dave, sounds like a wonderful trip...I love walking on the beach when the sun is going down... I would have thought that Wendy would enjoyed a romantic moment with you.

TF and I went to Florida for two days a couple of weekends ago...We visited his parents but had some quite time to ourselves... Our hotel was on the beach and our room faced the water...... It was awesome.

8:00 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

DAWN--Thanks for your kind comments. And congrats again to you.

MARIE--I have a co-worker who does yoga, aerobics, plays indoor soccer and rides her bike miles to work and back each day. And she is raising three young children.

LINDSAY--I don't think my blog audience would be that interested in what the young ladies wore to go swimming. Different audience, different story details.

LUCY--Whenever my wife and I visit the ocean, I must get a room facing the ocean. I just love the sound of surf.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Betty said...

I expected a tale of sandy disaster! You are far braver than I - I would have been stopped by the warning of sinkholes. I attended Interlochen as a kid, so I know about those Michigan sunsets. Why is it that sunsets are so spectacular in Michigan? I've never understood this.


10:23 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

BETTY--I think the sunsets are prettier in Michigan because there is more blue. Blue lakes, blue skies, etc. So go blue, I guess.

9:10 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home