Jung Family Vacation in Sawyer, Michigan – Day 2: Warren Dunes State Park and the Silver Beach Carousel

For our first excursion out, we decided to hit up nearby Warren Dunes State Park. Jasmine and Jahnu with their buckets in tow, ready to go.

It was a super short 5 minute drive from our place to the actual park. It may not look like much in this photo, but that dune in the background is a pretty big one.

Unloading the car…

These guys had the right idea. Given the heat and constant sun, we really could have used Bob’s Quik Shade canopy.

Jasmine, with a few dabs of sunscreen on her face.

Setting up shop near the water.

It’s hard to see, but where the buoy is in the distance? There’s a pretty huge sandbar out there, where people could stand and the water would come to your waist.

We were all hesitant to get in the water at first, as it was pretty cold. But after easing in, it started feeling really great. There were some rocky patches right near the shore, but after about 2 feet… it all turned into soft sand.

I ended up wading out pretty far with Shane, Stacey, my dad, and both Jasmine and Jahnu. I helped Jasmine out for a large part of it, and Stacey/Shane helped carry Jahnu over the deep parts. I was super proud of them both, as they braved some deep waters… and made it all the way out to the sandbar.

Jahnu, communing with the and. He would end up spending most of his day digging and collecting rocks.

Liz, hunkered down by our stuff and sitting in the shade.

The tiny pink umbrella, that marked our spot.

After we got out of the water, Shane, Stacey, Jasmine, my dad and I decided to walk over to the nearby dune.

En route, a council of seagulls. Agenda for today: the limit of seagulls per bench will be capped at five.

This photo probably gives the best view of the sheer size of the dune. Every other photo I took makes it seem like an easy hill. It was super steep, and I had to stop several times to catch my breath.

Jasmine and Shane though, had no such problem. They zipped right up, and I think Jasmine was doing laps around some trees near the top.

I was worried about my dad, but he also made it up in a jiffy. He and Shane kept calling advice back to me and my sister (we both took our sweet time starting/stopping/resting, slowly making our way up).

This is maybe halfway up the dune. Again, hoping this angle gives you a sense of the incline.

Looking back down onto the parking lot…

Finally, at the top! I’m happy to say that others who climbed up after me didn’t overtake me… but it was close.

Shane, Jasmine and Stacey, posing at the top.

My dad, snapping pics of everyone.

Shane, showing everyone how to take the easy/fast way down.

I’ll say this: the walk back was pretty rough. The sand was hot as heck, and wearing sandals… every step would scatter a small layer of sand beneath my feet. And it burned! Every few steps I’d need to stop, shake my foot, and pause. I swear the soles of my feet were probably medium-rare by the time we got back to our blankets.

Back at the water, Jasmine proceeded to cool off by getting herself buried in sand.

Stacey, looking out over the water.

Another view of the beach.

Before we left, Jasmine was promised a ride on the huge slide nearby: called “The Hippo.”

Jasmine, about to ascend the stairs.

Stacey and Jasmine, taking the long flight up.

Jasmine, speeding down…

My sister, speeding down (who seemed to be a little more afraid than Jasmine was).

After heading home for showers and lunch, we decided to travel a little farther north to a tourist-y town called St. Joseph and wandered a bit around the beach area.

In hindsight, I’m glad we didn’t end up going to the beach at St. Joseph’s. There were a lot more people, more locals, and a lot more roving bands of teenagers. By comparison, the beach at Warren Dunes seemed a lot less crowded, and a bit more tranquil.

One thing we did find in St. Joseph’s was the Silver Beach Carousel.

Inside the small museum, there were several coin-operated machines. Here, the kids meet The Great Zandini.

Funny interlude: I walked outside to find something to drink, and stopped near the concession stand where they were selling popcorn and cotton candy. The woman behind the counter was deeply into her Sudoku puzzle, and didn’t notice me. After about 45 seconds, I asked her if there was a water fountain nearby, or if I could buy a soft drink somewhere.

I could see two vending machines in a nearby hallway, but all doors leading there were blocked off. When I asked about it, the lady told me that section was already closed off. She looked around for another attendant, and motioned me over towards the guy manning the carousel. “Go ask Bob,” she suggested.

So I went over to Bob, said hello, and mentioned I had a question. He looked at me, and immediately asked: “You’re not a musician, are you?” I said no, and he told me I looked a lot like a New Age musician named Kitaro.

I mentioned to Bob that I oftentimes get mistaken for someone else, and he responded with: “Yeah, you look a lot like him.”

He was really excited to share information about Kitaro with me, and said it would have made his day if I turned out to be him. He even said that he would have run home to grab his CD’s for me to sign.

We talked for a long while, and eventually I got around to asking him about a water fountain, or someplace to buy a drink. I mentioned the two vending machines (which I could see through the doors/windows) and he told me that yes, that section was closed off already. But he pointed back to the woman at the concession stand, and said she could sell me something to drink.

So. I walked back to the woman with the Sudoku puzzle, and ask if she’s got some drinks for sale. As if surprised by this, she opens up a refrigerated area under the counter and asks what I would like. I buy a water for $1. On handing me the water, she apologizes to me as this was her first time working the afternoon shift.

It’s like looking into a mirror!

Bear, Silver Beach Carousel.

Knew this was a mythological creature, but couldn’t recall the name. Had to look it up: Hippocamp.

Giraffe, Silver Beach Carousel.

A nice feature of the carousel: lots of rocking chairs, lining the whole interior of the building. Perfect for adults to rest up, as the kids spin around.

Jahnu and Stacey, going around.

Jasmine selected the peacock, which apparently was too much for Liz.

A really cool water area, where sprays from different directions kept all the people inside cooled off. When we first arrived, most of the jets were shooting out of the ground. As we left, we happened to catch this very cool display.

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