We have been visiting the Sleeping Bear Dunes for many years, beginning when our children were small and they tried to climb the big dune so they could walk across it’s top to where they could see the water of Lake Michigan. I remember hearing one daughter yelling in panic to me. She was almost half way up and couldn’t proceed because she was afraid she was going to fall of. I had to climb up to hold her tight as we slid down the very big sandy hill.
It is now a National Shoreline and it is possible to drive to the top and walk along a boardwalk to view down the long, steep face of the dunes to the water below. People can go down this hill, but there are warning about the 2 1/2 hour walk back up and the cost that climbers would incur if they needed to be rescued. I can’t comprehend how many grains of sand are making up these massive dunes. These are high dunes!
I was amazed when I processed these photos they triggered my height anxiety. I know I was safe when I took the photos but when I look at them I feel the fear my daughter felt – I experience the fear of falling down the hill.
I love boardwalks for two reasons. First, they allow me to get deeper into nature’s beauty without the danger of falling due to uneven ground, tree roots, rocks, etc. Second, I love how they are made of pieces of lumber that form straight lines, but still their structure has lots of dips and zags and turns with surprises.
The Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary has a 2.25-mile boardwalk that meanders through pine flatwood, wet prairie, around a marsh, and finally into the largest old-growth bald cypress forest in North America. Can you follow these straight lines? Something like walking the straight center line while being falling-down-drunk.
I love this type of boardwalk (above and below) that is a great alternative to walking on soft, shifting sands. From this perspective you can tell which alternative I actually chose.
I love the pattern of straight lines that crisscross the “straight line” of the boardwalk path.
Central Florida is noted for its many springs bubbling up from the underground limestone aquafer. Many people, all of them young, were choosing to walk up the shallow river in the 72 degree (constant) water. They saw the wonders of the spring water up close but I chose the boardwalk even though it seemed a bit unstable, triggering my height anxiety occasionally. The straight boards shoring it up didn’t seem to increase my confidence in its safety, but my desire to explore the beauty of this unique landscape pushed me forward.
Thanks, Cee, for presenting this challenge of “Straight Lines” that gave me a chance to meander through my maze of files (in my brain and computer) looking for examples of boardwalks.
We just returned from a few days on the Leelanau Peninsula, a piece of land between Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay that would be the pinkie of the Michigan mitten. One day was spent at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore where we walked the boardwalk out to a lookout over the dune cliff and Lake Michigan. We have been visiting this area for 50 years so it is full of memories, especially of watching our children climb the dunes and play along the shore. Back then there were no boardwalks or concerns about protecting this fragile ecosystem.