Sunny days on beaches, climbing giant sand dunes, camping the north woods, kayaking on a winding river, that was an end-of-summer adventure for a group of Scouts from Boy Scout Troop 33 in DeKalb.
Their adventure started by camping at Silver Lake State Park and swimming at its beach. Giant sand dunes rose from across the lake making for an amazing sight worthy to explore.
The next morning an adventurous dune ride took them climbing onto giant dune summits and down steep sweeps of sand and even riding along the Lake Michigan shoreline. The ride was as exciting as it was educational, introducing them to a world of windblown sand slowly moving and supporting a very unique ecosystem.
The historic Little Sable Point Lighthouse, built in 1874, stands 115 feet and is one of the tallest working lighthouses on the Great Lakes. Below the lighthouse, an expansive sand beach provided a great swimming experience in Lake Michigan.
Farther north, Scouts enjoyed another swim at beautiful Empire Beach, tucked between two dune areas – Empire Bluffs to the south and Sleeping Bear Dunes to the north. The beach fronts two waters, Lake Michigan to the west, and South Bar Lake to the east. The Scouts swam in both lakes and watched a magnificent sunset before the beach became ablaze with campfires and eventually a colorful fireworks display filled the night sky.
A hardwood forest canopy provided great camping in Empire Township. Long fun-filled days were brought to rest in a quiet woodland.
Their tour continued northward.
On Lake Michigan, west of Traverse City, lies Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which was voted this summer by “Good Morning America” as the most beautiful place in America.
Scouts enjoyed a scenic tour of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, highlighted by steep climbs to the top of sand dunes for a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.
They made short visits to the historic lakeside towns of Empire, Glen Haven and Glen Arbor.
Kayaking on the Crystal River became an exciting conclusion to their adventure-filled days. Each Scout paddled his own kayak on a narrow twisting river that wound its way through maple and beech forests. Shallow spots and fallen trees had to be negotiated with skill. Two portage areas required kayaks to be carried overland a short distance to a new launch site. One exciting point on the river included shooting through a giant conduit under a roadway on fast-moving water. Kayaking was a fun way for them to test their skills and explore an unspoiled area of wilderness.
After days of adventure, enjoying great beaches, giant sand dunes, camping and kayaking, the Scouts ended their last great adventure of summer 2011. First Lutheran Church in DeKalb has sponsored Boy Scout Troop 33 since 1925.